Whistleblower Employee fired after filing reports of supervisors' sexual misconduct
Los Angeles, CA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 06/14/2019 --Keith Griffin of Girardi Keese and Ebby Bakhtiar of Livingston obtained a $15.39 million verdict against Jack in the Box on June 11, 2019 after a 39 day jury trial(case#BC593619 filed in the superior court of California County of Los Angeles). Attorneys Griffin and Bakhtiar represented Blanca Ramirez, who worked for Jack in the Box as a supervisor for 12 years. Ms. Ramirez was fired after making two reports of sexual misconduct against her restaurant's supervisory and management staff. Ms. Ramirez first blew the whistle on the restaurant manager's highly inappropriate sexual misconduct in the workplace, including the sending of profanity-laced text messages and partially nude photographs to a seventeen-year-old female employee. Ms. Ramirez's report resulted in little discipline to the manager, who was simply transferred to a different restaurant.
Five months later, Ms. Ramirez reported a twenty-two-year old male supervisor who had been engaging in what she perceived to be sexual misconduct in the workplace with multiple sixteen-year old cashiers who reported to him. Within a week of this complaint, the district manager fired Ms. Ramirez for "parking" a car that was delaying the drive-thru line. She was immediately replaced by someone 21 years younger.
Evidence at trial established that there was no policy against parking cars, which was shown to be a widespread, accepted practice. The evidence additionally demonstrated that the assistant manager knew of the practice, condoned it and that all of the employees at the restaurant engaged in it when necessary. Nevertheless, Ms. Ramirez was the only employee who was fired for doing it, despite having a pristine performance record, with no warnings or write ups of any kind.
The jury found that Ms. Ramirez's termination was retaliatory and motivated by discriminatory intent based upon her complaints, disabilities and age. The jury also found for Ms. Ramirez on her harassment claim and determined that she was neither engaged in the interactive process nor accommodated for her known disabilities.
The jury awarded $5.39 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages due to Jack in the Box's despicable conduct.
About Girardi | Keese Lawyers and Livingston - Bakhtiar
Girardi | Keese is a Los Angeles-based law firm with extensive experience in catastrophic injury cases, aviation accidents and employment litigation. Girardi | Keese has fought thousands of "David vs. Goliath" cases since 1965, recovering more than $10 billion for injured and defrauded clients. To learn more about Girardi | Keese, please visit http://www.girardikeese.com. Livingston - Bakhtiar is a boutique plaintiff litigation firm located in Los Angeles and is focused primarily on employment litigation arising out of violations of the California Fair Employment & Housing Act. The principal of the firm, Ebby S. Bakhtiar, is a meticulous, aggressive and experienced trial attorney dedicated to helping workers who have been the victim of employer-based discrimination and other civil rights violations.