$500,000 Jury Award in Sex Discrimination Case

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

An Atlanta jury has awarded $500,000 against a Westerville, Ohio-based warehouse and distribution company for failing to promote a female to a supervisory position.   

According to the EEOC's suit (Case No. 1:10-CV-03132), filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Exel, Inc. violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by refusing to promote Contrice Travis to an inventory supervisor position in 2008.    

At the four-day trial, the EEOC presented evidence that male employees were routinely promoted after verbally requesting consideration for open positions, while Travis, who the EEOC said was indisputably recognized as the most knowledgeable in inventory control, was denied the inventory supervisor position recently vacated by her supervisor. Travis's former supervisor testified that when he recommended Travis for the position, the general manager informed him that he would never put a woman in that position. 

The jury also heard evidence of the company's duplicity towards Travis -- for example, that while Travis was told the inventory supervisor position would not be filled, the male selected for the position was told by a management and human resources official that the position would be filled, but that he would be selected only if he kept it a secret. The selectee, Michel Pooler, testified that Travis was later required to train him because he had no inventory experience whatsoever.

The jury awarded Travis $25,000 in compensatory damages and $475,000 in punitive damages for Exel's conduct in this matter. The court will also award back pay to Travis.

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