(CN) – The Missouri Court of Appeals ordered TNT Logistics North America to pay $3.75 million in punitive damages for turning a blind eye while a supervisor sexually harassed a female employee by, among other things, swatting her butt with a belt and telling her to “get your fat ass out of here.”
The jury voted 11-1 to award Kendra Lynn $50,000 in actual damages on her sexual harassment claim and awarded her $6.75 million in punitive damages, which a trial court reduced to $450,000.
Both parties appealed, with Lynn challenging the reduction and TNT claiming the award should be slashed even more.
The appellate court said the $450,000 reduction “does not take into account the reprehensible behavior of the wrongdoer.”
Lynn said her supervisor, Michael Gill, repeatedly made sexually charged comments, including telling her that she wouldn’t get her paycheck until she “bounced (her) ass,” and that she had a “phat (sic) ass and big titties.”
When Lynn complained, the company did nothing.
The court determined that $450,000 in punitive damages was too low for a company with four operations in Kansas City and more than 100,000 employees nationwide.
“TNT did nothing to alleviate or correct the situation created by its supervisor’s conduct, even when its own people reported the comments and conduct in graphic detail,” Judge Lowenstein explained.