A worldwide manufacturer of major home appliances has agreed to drop its appeal of a race and sexual harassment judgment for over one million dollars and resolve the case with an ex-employee and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The settlement comes almost six years after the EEOC first filed suit.
The lawsuit had charged that Whirlpool Corporation violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act when it did nothing to stop a white male co-worker from harassing an African-American female employee because of her race and sex. The abuse lasted for two months and escalated when the co-worker physically assaulted the black employee, inflicting serious permanent injuries.
During the trial, the court heard evidence that the employee repeatedly reported offensive verbal conduct and gestures by the coworker to Whirlpool management before she was assaulted, without any corrective action by the company. The trial also established that the employee suffered permanent mental injuries that will prevent her from working again as a result of the assault.
At the conclusion of the trial, the judge awarded the employee a total of $1,073,261 in back pay, front pay, and compensatory damages. Whirlpool appealed, but later withdrew its appeal and agreed to settle the case for $1 million and court costs.
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