A federal jury in New Hampshire has ordered Walmart to pay $31.22 million to a pharmacist who said she was fired after complaining about safety conditions and because of her gender.
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Walmart spokesperson Randy Hargrove told Drug Topics that the company would seek post-trial relief in the form of either reducing the award or having the verdict set aside.
“We respectfully disagree with the decision,” Hargrove said. “We do not tolerate any type of discrimination.”
One issue is the $15 million awarded under Title 7, which Walmart contends was not supported by the facts and by law is capped at $300,000.
Pharmacist Maureen McPadden was fired by Walmart in November 2012 after working for the retailer for more than 13 years. In her lawsuit, she claimed that the official reason given for her firing was that she lost a pharmacy key.
McPadden contended she was fired from Walmart after she complained that customers at the Seabrook, New Hampshire store where she worked were getting improperly filled prescriptions because of inadequate staff training.
Although she was officially fired for losing a pharmacy key, McPadden said one of her male colleagues who also lost a pharmacy key was not.
Lauren Irwin, McPadden’s lawyer, told Reuters that the verdict was “a fair and just verdict.”
McPadden’s award included $15 million in punitive damages, $15 million in compensation for unlawful discrimination based on gender, and $750,000 in back pay.