Court Upholds Jury Verdict (Liability and $100k Damages) in Sexual Orientation Discrimination Case Against UPS

In Roberts v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., No. 13-CV-6161, 2015 WL 4509994 (E.D.N.Y. July 27, 2015), the Eastern District of New York denied defendant United Parcel Service’s post-trial motions and upheld the jury’s $100,000 verdict for plaintiff on her sexual orientation discrimination/hostile work environment and retaliation claims under the NYC Human Rights Law.

From Judge Weinstein’s decision:

As the nation’s understanding and acceptance of sexual orientation evolve, so does the law’s definition of appropriate behavior in the workplace. A jury, comprised of a cross-section of our heterogeneous community, is best placed to determine what is appropriate at the moment. …

The jury found improper under the law repeated advice from plaintiff’s supervisor that her sexual orientation as a lesbian was evil and needed to be changed in accordance with religious dictates.

Appeal to the bible, or theology generally, cannot justify management’s condoning the harassing of a lesbian in the workplace. Defendant’s central administration failed to protect plaintiff from such abuse.

An award of compensatory and punitive damages was supported by the record.

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