Jury Sides With Fired Home Depot Employee In Wrongful Termination Lawsuit

Posted by David Siegel on Nov 25, 2018 11:39:56 PM

Home depot

CVN screenshot of plaintiff attorney Maryann Gallagher delivering her closing argument

Los Angeles, CA - A California state court jury awarded $175,500 to a former Home Depot employee on Wednesday, finding that the retail giant failed to provide reasonable accommodations for her disability from breast cancer surgery and varicose veins, and did not protect her from retaliation after she reported improper sales practices in the store.

The verdict in favor of plaintiff Patricia Tillotson is far less than the more than $3.3 million that her attorney sought. Jurors awarded Tillotson $75,500 in past economic damages and $100,000 in future economic damages, but declined to award any damages for past or future emotional distress.

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Tillotson sued Home Depot in 2015 after being fired for supposedly providing a customer improper markdowns, but she maintained the termination was actually because of her age, disability and for acting as a whistleblower. At the time of her firing Tillotson, then 58, was the oldest employee in her department. 

Home Depot argued Tillotson’s entire department was fired after an investigation found they provided unauthorized markdowns to customers, and that her medical conditions and supposed whistleblower complaints had nothing to do with the decision.

While the jury found that Tillotson’s age and disability were not the motivating reasons to discharge her, they did determine that Home Depot’s failure to participate in a good faith effort to accommodate Tillotson’s difficulty with lifting objects and the need to work in a position where she didn’t have to stand for extended periods of time caused her harm.

The full trial, which began November 9, was webcast and recorded gavel-to-gavel by Courtroom View Network.

Tillotson was represented by Maryann Gallagher, of the Law Offices of Maryann P. Gallagher.

Home Depot was represented by Charles Thompson and Cara Barrick of Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart PC.

The 10-day trial took place before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Terry Green.

Gavel-to-gavel video of the full trial is available to CVN subscribers as part of CVN’s online trial archive, which includes hundreds of other civil jury trials in a range of practice areas from throughout California and the rest of the country.

The case is captioned Patricia Tillotson v. The Home Depot, case number BC601497.

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Topics: California