In June of 2011 a Missouri Woman won what is being called the biggest sexual harassment settlement in history. Former Aaron’s Inc. employee Ashley Alford was awarded 95 million in damages after her sexual harassment case was heard in U.S. district court.
Although a federal cap on damages reduced Alford’s settlement, she was still able to walk away with about $41.6 million. The award included $15 million in compensatory damages and $80 million in punitive damages. The total came to what one lawyer believed to be most likely “the absolute largest sexual harassment verdict in the country for an individual plaintiff.
Ashley Alford, who was in her mid 20s at the time of the trial, made her case after allegedly being harassed for several months by her store supervisor, Richard Moore, before he eventually held her down at the office and engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct in late October of 2006. Alford stated that she had high hopes for stability and advancement within the company when she was hired but shortly after Alford was hired on Halloween of 2005, Moore allegedly began making sexual and lewd jokes around her and began trying to grope her while constantly referring to her by nicknames such as “Trixie” and “Trix.” Alford also alleged fellow former Aaron’s employees of telling her to “watch her back,” after she finally started to bring action against them.
Aaron’s Inc., which is based in Atlanta, has about 1,800 stores in 48 states, more than 10,000 employees and made a net profit of about $118 million in 2010. The company was found liable for “negligent supervision,” “sexual harassment,” and “intentional infliction of emotional distress.”
According to Maryland Family Law Attorney Sandra Guzman-Salvado, even today, sexual harassment still occurs in corporate environments throughout the country.
If you feel that you have been a victim of sexual harassment, it’s important for you to talk to a Pearce Law lawyer right away.