The EEOC has issued a press release announcing a big victory for sexual harassment cases. These cases are often dismissed. For instance, according to EEOC 2011 statistics, the EEOC received 11,364 sexual harassment complaints. Of these, 53% were found to have no reasonable cause. This is an increase from 2010, where the percentage was of 50.1%. Since 1997, the percentage of cases dismissed has been in an upwards trend.
In the EEOC case against New Breed Logistics (Civil Action No. 2:10-cv-02696-STA-tmp), the jury awarded $177,094 in back pay, $486,000 in compensatory damages, and $850,000 in punitive damages.
Following the 7-day trial, the jury found that the warehouse supervisor subjected 3 temporary workers to unwelcome sexual touching and lewd, obscene and vulgar sexual remarks at the company’s Avaya Memphis area warehouse facility. Further, the jury found that a supervisor fired the three temp workers because they complained about the harassment.
via Jury Awards More Than $1.5 Million in EEOC Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Suit against New Breed Logistics | U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – JDSupra.
The ABA Journal reported on an interesting case; where the attorney was unable to get all of its full contingency fees. The reason? Because the client replaced the attorney with himself prior to the $1 million settlement.
New York’s Appellate Division, First Department, ruled in an unsigned opinion that the settlement wasn’t yet final when lawyer Jeffrey Aronsky handled the case because the settlement offer hadn’t been formally communicated to the defendant, Rivlab Transportation. However, the court held that Aronsky will be allowed to place a lien on Gyabaah’s recovery and receive a pro rata fee based on his contributed work, Reuters reports.
Reuters notes that in a dissent, Justice Richard Andrias considered the settlement binding because a general release was signed and defense counsel confirmed in writing that the $1 million settlement offer was accepted.
via Lawyer Replaced by Client Can’t Collect Full Contingency on $1M Settlement, Court Rules – News – ABA Journal.
The NLRB in Latino Express, Inc., 359 NLRB No. 94 (July 31, 2012) (scroll down to decision) decided not to decide two issues raised by the Acting General Counsel and instead invited “all interested parties” to file briefs on two issues regarding awarding backpay to discriminatees:
Should the Board routinely require a respondent to:
(1) submit the appropriate documentation to the Social Security Administration so that when backpay is paid, it will be allocated to the appropriate calendar quarters; and/or
(2) reimburse a discriminatee for any excess Federal and State income taxes the discriminatee may owe in receiving a lump-sum backpay award covering more than 1 year.
Briefs are due by October 1, 2012.
Workplace Prof Blog: NLRB Seeks Briefing on Backpay Calculation Rules.
From Workplace Prof Blog:
In its recent Mezonos Maven Bakery case, the NLRB was faced with a variation on the Hoffman Plastics problem (see here for the Board’s press release). Unlike Hoffman, however, in Mezonos, the employer was found to have been aware of the employees’ undocumented status before hiring. In a unanimous decision (with Member Becker recused), the Board concluded that Hoffman controls and precludes an award of backpay. However, Chairwoman Liebman and Member Pearce issued a concurring opinion, in which they lamented the policy implications of Mezonos and Hoffman. They also noted that, under different circumstances, alternative monetary remedies could be appropriate, such as requiring employers in these situations to pay an equivalent backpay award into a fund–which could, for example, give money to employees awarded backpay that has been uncollected–but not to the undocumented workers.