Woman Wins High Six-Figure Discrimination/Retaliation Claim Against Xerox
A Xerox employee, who has held onto a job at Xerox for almost five years while a race discrimination and retaliation lawsuit was pending, has finally been awarded $804,214 in compensatory damages in Essex County, N.J.
Hope Bailey-Rhodeman, an African-American female, claimed she had suffered retaliation when she had made an internal complaint of race and gender discrimination. Since she filed the claim, she was demoted to a sales position, but at the time of her complaint, she was a sales manager for Xerox and had a successful career spanning nearly 20 years. She had been promoted to sales manager, leading a team of 10 sales representatives who specialized in selling equipment and services to customer in state and local government.
Bailey-Rhodeman was consistently the highest ranked sales manager in her section, and was frequently one of the most highly ranked sales managers for the country. But all this changed in the summer of 2006, when Bailey-Rhodeman made an internal complaint to Xerox, complaining that other managers were bullying her because she was an African-American female.
Her immediate supervisor learned of the complaint, and told Bailey-Rhodeman that he was angry at her for making him look bad, telling her "now you did it." He then launched a retaliatory investigation of Bailey-Rhodeman.
Without being interviewed, or even being told the specifics of the accusations against her, Bailey-Rhodeman was suspended, being accused of committing an unspecified "policy violation." Three weeks later she was told she was being fired, but Xerox offered to pay her 12 weeks severance, if she would agree to quit. She refused, and threatened to sue the company.
In response, Bailey-Rhodeman was told that she was being removed from her sales manager job, but could accept instead a reassignment to a sales position where she would be stripped of all supervisory responsibilities. Otherwise, she would be fired. The reassignment was a demotion, which would result in a significant loss in pay. Nonetheless, without any job prospects, Bailey-Rhodeman took the reassignment, but continued to challenge the demotion.
After being demoted to the sales position, Bailey-Rhodeman lost approximately $100,000 per year in sales commissions. Her territory was split between two white males.
At trial, Bailey-Rhodeman challenged her demotion as being in retaliation for her complaints of discrimination. The jury found in Bailey-Rhodeman's favor on her retaliation claim, and awarded Bailey-Rhodeman $488,088 in lost past income, and $316,126 in lost future income.
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