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Our Clients Ask Us: Employee Complaints

Q: Why is it important to always follow up with an employee’s complaint of harassment, discrimination or retaliation?


It is important that your company have a zero tolerance policy for all complaints by employees of harassment, discrimination and retaliation. A recent verdict out of North Carolina provides a warning as to what can happen if your company fails to employ such a policy.


A North Carolina jury recently ordered Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. to pay $450,000 in compensatory damages to a woman who filed a suit against the company for wrongful termination.

Lashanda Shaw was hired by Goodyear as an area manager in September 2007. During her employment, Ms. Shaw filed several complaints of harassment with both Goodyear and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She claimed that Goodyear took no action to resolve her complaints of harassment from a supervisor and that she was in fact fired as a means of retaliation. Ms. Shaw also alleged that Goodyear had retaliated against other employees, who appeared as witnesses in the case.


The jury awarded the amount after a five-week trial where the jurors found that the company was negligent in inflicting severe and disabling emotional distress upon Ms. Shaw. However, the jury found that Goodyear did not intentionally discriminate against Ms. Shaw because of her race or sex and that the company would have fired her in the absence of these complaints.


Ms. Shaw had sought more than $1.5 million, but the jurors voted not to award her punitive damages.


Goodyear stated it would ask the judge in the case to throw out the verdict and consider an appeal.

More on Business Law

The Attorneys at Ott & Associates Co., LPA, frequently write and publish legal articles in order to educate clients on continuously changing laws in each practice area.


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