The manager of an upstate NY grocery whose sexual harassment of underaged female employees was so egregious that an appeals court prohibited him from entering the grocery’s premises has just had a punitive damages award of $477,349 against him and the store upheld.
On October 22, 2012, we reported the stunning appeals court decision, which held that “this is not an ordinary case” and chastised the trial court for not itself issuing the injunction against the manager. Apparently, the owner of the small Oswego grocery store hired a store manager with whom she quickly became romantically involved. The manager repeatedly verbally and physically sexually harassed many of the young women working in the grocery, some of whom were only 16 years of age. Read our earlier blog for the gory details – the judge called the testimony of the victims "to put it mildly, devastating in terms of painting [the manager] as a middle-aged sexual bully."
A jury awarded the ten women plaintiffs $1.2 million in punitive damages, which was ultimately reduced, and the decision this week upheld the new amount.
Originally, we noted that the take away from the appeals decision was that “this case stands for the proposition that under Title VII a court has broad powers to fashion an appropriate remedy, and that in the appropriate case not exercising its broad power may be an abuse of discretion.” We can now add an addendum that if harassing behavior is so egregious, punitive damages can be very severe.