Whirlpool Withdraws Appeal, Settles Race and Sexual Harassment Lawsuit for $1 Million

June 14, 2012
Settlement ends six years of litigation on charges filed by the EEOC.

Home appliance manufacturer Whirlpool Corp. (IW 500/59) ended six years of litigation by dropping its appeal of a race and sexual harassment judgment and agreeing to pay $1 million and court costs.

The settlement rises from a suit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which in 2006 charged the manufacturer with violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The violation occurred, the federal agency said, when the company did nothing to stop a white male worker at the LaVergne, Tenn., Whirlpool plant from harassing an African-American female employee because of her race and sex.

The abuse ultimately escalated to physical abuse of the female, according to the EEOC, and caused serious, permanent injuries.

At the conclusion of a four-day bench trial, the employee was awarded more than $1 million in back pay, front pay and compensatory damages. Whirlpool sought to amend or alter the judgment, which the court denied.

In late April 2012, the manufacturer appealed the judgment to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, then withdrew it on June 11 and agreed to settle the case for $1 million and court costs.

The LaVergne Whirlpool plant has since closed.

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