The court in Peasley v. Regis Corporation recently resulted in the jury presenting an $80,000 award in punitive damages to the plaintiff, Valerie Peasley, who worked as a hairstylist under the employment of the Regis Corporation.
According to Peasley, she had informed her manager at the salon that several coworkers were both using and selling drugs in the workplace, and had also been stealing from the business and other local stores. Shortly after she reported these incidents, which are considered protected whistleblower disclosures in the Maine Whistleblower Protection Act, she was fired.
Peasley decided to file a retaliation lawsuit, which she eventually won. Regis Corporation tried to get the ruling changed, arguing that Peasley had been unable to provide any evidence showing the company terminated her out of retaliation. The judge in the case, however, said Peasley provided sufficient evidence by showing one of the company’s executives who played a part in the decision to terminate her had shown a “reckless disregard” for her rights as an employee.
This case is just one recent example of how judges and juries all over the country are beefing up the amount of money they provide to whistleblowers in compensatory and punitive damages. There are more incentives than ever for whistleblowers to come forward and more protections in place than ever to make sure they do not have to become victims of retaliation.
If you could use sound legal guidance on these issues, consult experienced Dallas Attorney Steve Kardell at Whistleblower Law for Managers today.