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 Women Wins Record $95m For Sexual Harassment

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PostSubject: Women Wins Record $95m For Sexual Harassment   Tue Jun 14, 2011 3:17 am

A 25-year-old woman has been awarded a record $95m (£58m) following a work sexual harassment case in Fairview Heights near St Louis, Illinois



A judge said that Ashley Alford, who worked in a branch of rental furniture chain Aaron's Inc., should receive $80m in punitive damages and $15m in compensatory damages.

However, it has been reported that there is a cap on compensation payments in the US state, meaning that the payout Miss Alford is handed will not exceed $43.

She was sexually assaulted by a male supervisor in October 2006 - the court heard how he hit her head with his genitals

According to news agency Reuters she claimed that her boss, store manager Richard Moore, then threw her on a coach, pinned her down and performed a sexual act.

After being hired at the age of 20 in 2005 by the nationwide chain of rent-to-own furniture stores Miss Alford left the company in 2006 and sued Aaron's in 2008.

"In the beginning, all I wanted was help," she told American news channel Fox. She continued: "He would just not stop.

"No matter who I told they just brushed it off as if nothing was happening. I just wanted everybody to know what they were doing, what they were trying to cover up."

After three days of deliberations in Illinois a jury found Moore - who did not return to work after the incidents - guilty.

However, Aaron's said in a statement from vice-president Chad Strickland that they will appeal the decision.

He said: "Aaron's is extremely disappointed with the jury's verdict and believes that the award does not accurately reflect the evidence that was presented in this case."

The statement said that the ruling was an example of a "classic runaway jury" and that $50m of the award exceeds a cap.

"Because of that," the statement continued, "we are confident that the damages will be greatly reduced. We intend to appeal the verdict and seek a fairer and more equitable outcome."

Miss Alford's lawyer, David Ratner, said that he believed the award of $95m is a record amount in an individual sexual harassment case.

Legal limits could reduce the amount to $43m..



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