Commission Increased AJ’s Compensatory Damage Award to $100,000.
The AJ found that Complainant’s supervisor subjected her to sexual harassment, including instances of unwanted touching, inappropriate comments, and requests for dates and sex. As relief, the AJ, among other things, awarded Complainant $80,000 in nonpecuniary compensatory damages. The Commission increased the award to $100,000 on appeal, noting that amount was more consistent with amounts awarded in similar cases. The record showed that Complainant was diagnosed with PTSD and Severe Depression as a result of her supervisor’s sexual harassment over a three-year period. Complainant underwent treatment for these conditions including medication and counseling. Complainant testified that she suffered humiliation, anger, panic attacks, withdrawal, weight fluctuation, migraines, erratic sleeping patterns, and frequent crying spells. The Commission concurred with the AJ that the weight of the evidence adequately tied the harm directly to the harassment. The Commission affirmed the AJ’s award of $2,877 in past pecuniary damages, and $2,500 in future pecuniary damages. Nancey D. v. Dep’t of Justice, EEOC Appeal 2019005600 (Sept. 14, 2020).
This is a DOJ/Bureau of Prisons sexual harassment case. We are highlighting it here to point out that a 7-year saga awarded a $100,000 in compensation amounts to $39 a day in damages.
That’s $91.32 day for each day in the 3-year period the individual was subjected to harassment by her supervisor.
This case was originally filed on June 21, 2013, when Complainant filed a formal EEO complaint claiming that she was repeatedly harassed on the bases of her race (African-American), sex (female), and in reprisal for prior protected EEO activity when she was subjected to sexual comments, gestures, and emails, as well as rumors of a sexual nature.
On August 7, 2019, the Agency issued a final order fully adopting the AJ’s decision and award of remedies.
On appeal, Complainant, through counsel, requests an increase in the damage awards. Specifically, Complainant requests $34,854.36 in past pecuniary damages (covering past prescriptions and counseling) and $16,000 in future pecuniary damages (covering future counseling sessions). Complainant reasons that her award for past pecuniary and future pecuniary damages should have included the full price for the medical expenses and not limited to the co-payments for the medical expenses. Regarding her request for an increase in non-pecuniary damages, Complainant reasons that the AJ’s $80,000 award should be increased to $100,000 to conform with the Commission’s prior damages decisions at the present-day value. Alternatively, Complainant argues that her nonpecuniary damages award should be increased to $190,000 to compensate for sexual harassment she endured from 1998 to 2010 during the period that she and AW were co-workers. Therefore, Complainant argues that the AJ incorrectly limited her sexual harassment claims to the period that AW was her supervisor and did not account for AW’s sexually-charged conduct that occurred twelve years before 2010.