A recent jury in the Western District found Southwest Research Institute, one of the largest employers in San Antonio, guilty of retaliating against a female worker who complained about discrimination. The jury awarded her $410,000. I previously wrote about that jury result here. The jury awarded $335,624 in lost pay and $260,000 in compensatory (i.e., emotional suffering types) damages. The amount of lost pay was then reduced by $185,000 because, said the jury, Ms. Johnson did not adequately look for and maintain employment. The plaintiff then requested interest on these amounts, lost pay in the future, and to seek a rescission of issues regarding the plaintiff’s security clearance.
In response, the Western District awarded $74,000 in interest. It found that reinstatement was not feasible. So, it awarded $45,000 in lost future pay. It also ordered SWRI to send a letter to the government agency that processes security clearances. The letter, said the court, must withdraw its earlier report about Ms. Johnson’s termination, and instead, state that SWRI fired Ms. Johnson because she complained about sex discrimination. With the caps on compensatory damages, the total award to Ms. Johnson then totaled $300,000 in compensatory damages, $55,828 in interest on the back pay, and $45,000 in lost future pay. See Texas Public Radio report here.
Remarkably, the employer opposed the request to withdraw or countermand in some way its previous negative report regarding Ms. Johnson’s security clearance.
Courts often refuse to award lost future pay. This court evidently thought the discrimination endured by Ms. Johnson was egregious. Still to come is the plaintiff lawyer’s application for an award of attorney fees. The amount owed will only increase.