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Jenny Palmer is a litigator in Stoel Rives’ Boise office. With a focus on employment law, Jenny regularly defends employers against claims of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, failure to accommodate, and wrongful termination. She also maintains a general commercial litigation practice, helping clients navigate various business disputes, including breach of contract and fraud claims.

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Environmental, Social, and Governance (“ESG”) principles are becoming increasingly prominent tools for managing risk and creating value in the corporate world. ESG-focused decision making can define business priorities that support a company’s financial goals and long-term enterprise sustainability. ESG-focused leaders can help companies identify business risks and opportunities, then implement and maintain responsive, responsible, and measurable forward-looking business practices.

While the “E” and “G” in ESG have received much attention, the “S” factor is also significant for leading sustainable organizations. And employees, current and future, are important elements of the social aspect.

Identifying the business risks and opportunities within the social aspect of ESG includes looking at a company’s treatment of its employees (for example, education, advancement, compensation), its diversity, equity, and inclusion policies and practices, and its discrimination and harassment policies and practices. Businesses that rely on recruiting and retention of a human workforce face the risks of securing a strong team, maintaining it, and creating a pipeline of suitable workers. These same businesses can create opportunities to mitigate those risks with practices and policies that support a healthy workplace and prepare a pipeline of future employees. Continue Reading Employment Law in an ESG World: The Activision Blizzard Story

An advisory jury’s substantial front pay award to a plaintiff in a retaliation case was drastically reduced by the judge.

Last fall, a jury sat for a five-day trial in federal court in Boise, Idaho. The plaintiff had brought claims of sex discrimination, harassment, and retaliation against her former employer. She brought these claims under both federal law, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), and state law, the Idaho Human Rights Act (“IHRA”). By the time the case went to trial, two questions remained for the jury: Did the plaintiff prove her retaliation claim under state and federal law? If so, what were her damages? 

After deliberation, the jury found that (1) the plaintiff had shown retaliation, and (2) her damages were a stunning $300,000 in back pay plus $1.35 million in front pay, for a total of $1.65 million in damages (plus prejudgment interest and possible attorney fees and costs award).[1]

But that’s not where the case ended. Just recently, the judge decreased the front pay award by over a million dollars, from $1.35 million to $130,333.Continue Reading $1.65 Million “Advisory” Jury Award in Idaho Employment Case