Man Awarded $18 Million in Sexual Harassment Case Against Calif. Grocery Chain
LOS ANGELES, October 27, 2006 -- A jury has ordered The Vons Companies Inc. to pay more than $18 million in damages to a former employee who claimed the supermarket chain fired him after he filed a report accusing a female supervisor of sexual harassment.
The Simi Valley jury awarded more than $16 million in punitive damages to James Stevens on Friday, two days after ordering Vons to pay the one-time inventory clerk $1.7 million for economic loss and emotional distress, said attorney Gloria Allred, who represented Stevens.
Stevens, a Ventura County resident who worked for Vons for 25 years, was fired in May 2004. He sued the company that November.
During a monthlong trial, Stevens testified the supervisor subjected him to various forms of harassment. In addition to making sexual remarks, Stevens told jurors the supervisor at one point simulated sex with a feather duster.
"I hope my victory will inspire others to come forward if they are being mistreated at work knowing that the law protects them," Stevens, 48, said in a statement.
Vons intends to appeal, said its spokeswoman, Sandra Calderon.
"We do not think that the evidence supported any of Mr. Stevens' claims and believe the damage award was excessive," Calderon said.
Vons, a unit of Safeway Inc., has 325 stores in Southern Califonia and Nevada, according to its Web site.
- Man high on meth terrorizes Covina family
- IE pastor accused of paying boys for sex acts
- Santa Monica building fire leaves 5 people hurt
- Male remains found in Gorman - investigators
- Some CA cities seek water independence
- SEALS take oil tanker from Libyan rebels 6 min ago
- Malaysia asks countries for data to find jet
- abcnews: Delta plane loses part of wing mid-air
- Oprah to sell Harpo Studios for $32 million
- Photos: Billboard's 25 highest-paid musicians