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Dade County Jury Awards $1.5 Million to Sexual Harassment Plaintiff

By Stephanie L. Adler-Paindiris
  • January 12, 2005

A Florida District Court of Appeals recently reinstated a verdict of $1,516,000 as damages for sexual harassment based on a hostile work environment and retaliatory discharge.

An employee hired as a pastry chef by a resort and spa claimed she was subjected to a hostile work environment by a co-worker. After complaining on several occasions, she was terminated for not working a shift and leaving work without permission. A jury in Dade County believed her allegations and awarded her more than $1.5 million as compensatory damages on her claims of sexual harassment and retaliatory discharge.

At the employer's request for relief from the verdict, the Circuit Court entered a judgment notwithstanding the verdict on all of the claims. The court also provided in the alternative for a new trial and a reduction of the award to $75,000 if an appellate court disagreed with the court's judgment.

In reversing the lower court judge's decision to throw out the jury award, the appellate court found ample evidence presented by the employee to support the jury's verdict and the damage award. [Russell v. KSL Hotel Corp. d/b/a Doral Golf Resort & Spa, 2004 Fla. App. LEXIS 13893 (3d DCA 2004).]

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