“Even if I had all the money in the world, I would want to work. It gives you self-worth, a purpose in life.” Those were the words spoken by a minimum-wage card dealer after a Sonoma County jury awarded her more than $2 million in a wrongful termination law suit.
The jury determined that the former card dealer had been terminated in retaliation for reporting the sexual harassment she experienced while working the 101 Casino in Petaluma, California. She was awarded $516,000 in compensatory damages for past and future harassment and retaliation. $1.5 million in punitive damages were added to the award after determining that the company brought in approximately $5 million revenue in the past year and had a net worth of around $3 million.
The former card dealer worked at the casino for a few months before her supervisor began making sexual comments and innuendos. “When I first started, I looked forward to going to work every day… Everything seemed to be looking up and going forward in my life – until the sexual harassment started,” the 43-year old mother stated.
The former card dealer had suffered the harassment for months before and after she reported the behavior to the human resources department. The club's general manager even put his arm around her lower waist when she tried to alert him about the supervisor's behavior. Not only did her complaints go unanswered, but the supervisor also began disciplining her for insignificant or fictitious issues. She said that the negative work environment had caused loss of appetite and sleep and the stress had a harmful impact on her home life as well. When the stress became too much and she sought legal advice, the company found out and subsequently terminated her employment.
This case was not the first time that the company was accused of harassment. The human resources chief, to whom the card dealer had brought her complaints, settled her own suit against the company. Four other female employees were witness at the card dealer's trial gave testimony that they had been sexually harassed as well.
Employment Lawyer los Angeles – Peter K Levine
Source: The Press Democrat “$2 million harassment verdict against Petaluma card room” Lori A. Carter 8/4/10