California residents may have heard a recent report about a former Walmart employee who sued the company for wrongful termination and was awarded approximately $31 million. The lawsuit took place in a federal court in New Hampshire.
According to the report, the woman had been working as a pharmacist for Walmart for more than 13 years when she was fired in November 2012. She said that she was officially fired because she misplaced a key to the pharmacy. However, in her lawsuit, she alleges that the real reason she was fired was due to the fact she is a woman and that she had criticized the company’s safety conditions. She further claimed that a male coworker had also misplaced a key to the pharmacy, but was not fired.
A Walmart representative responded by stating the company is against discrimination in any form, and that it respectfully disagrees with the court’s judgment. Furthermore, the representative stated that Walmart will pursue a post-trial relief to have the verdict set aside or to get the award reduced. Walmart objected to the decision to award $15 million under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in part due to the lack of supporting facts.
The attorney who was representing the plaintiff in the case said the court’s decision was just and fair. The federal jury awarded the former Walmart employee $750,000 in back pay, $15 million in compensation for unlawful discrimination based on gender and $15 million in punitive damages.
It is against the law for an employer to terminate an employee for speaking out about the company’s lack of safety or anything the company may be doing that is wrong. Individuals facing similar circumstances at the workplace may wish to consult a lawyer to see what legal remedies are available to them.
Source: Modern Medicine Network, “Walmart ordered to pay pharmacist $31 million for wrongful termination”, Mark Lowery, Jan. 29, 2016