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).
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.