Thursday, April 07, 2011

Throughout this saga, Whirlpool has consistently done the wrong thing:

Tennessee Worker’s Harassment Award Against Whirlpool Affirmed April 5, 2011

A federal judge has affirmed a million-dollar judgment against Whirlpool Corp. in a sex and race harassment lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the agency said.

Judge John T. Nixon denied Whirlpool Corp.’s motion to alter or amend the judgment of the court, entered on Dec.21, 2009, that Whirlpool pay $1,073,261 in damages to the discrimination victim.

“This woman was victimized by serious, ongoing abuse, and was severely and permanently damaged as a result,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Faye Williams. “A sizable amount of damages was called for, and we are pleased that the judge agreed.”

The EEOC’s lawsuit had charged that Benton Harbor, Mich.-based Whirlpool violated federal law when it tolerated the harassment of Carlotta Freeman, a black employee at a Whirlpool plant in LaVergne, Tenn., by a white male co-worker because of her race and sex. The abuse lasted for two months, the EEOC said, until the co-worker physically assaulted Freeman and inflicted serious permanent injuries.

The EEOC suit was filed suit in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee. Following a bench trial, Judge Nixon awarded Freeman $773,261 in back pay and front pay, and $300,000 compensatory damages for non-pecuniary injuries.

Whirlpool Corp. questioned the award for front and back pay because the plant where Freeman worked had closed. But Judge Nixon declined to reconsider the damages, noting that the court had “ wide discretion to make whole the victim of unlawful discrimination.” Read more: