Aaron's Must Pay $95 Million In Sexual Harassment Lawsuit
An Illinois woman was awarded $95 million in a sexual harassment lawsuit involving an Aaron's Inc. rent-to-own store in a St. Louis suburb. Aarons will have to do a lot of renting to owning to cover that large award. According to court documents the jury ruled in favor of the women and found Aarons liable for sexual harassment, negligent supervision and intentional infliction of emotional distress on a 20-year-old employee at its store in Fairview Heights, Ill.
According to details in the lawsuit the store manager touched the female and gave her pet names that were degrading and sexual in nature. The manager also tried to have sex with the woman and the women complained to the stores hotline. The store did nothing to stop any further harassment. In fact after complainint the manager forced the woman to the ground, lifted her shirt and masterbated all over her.
"We feel strongly that this verdict is the result of a decision made by a classic runaway jury, and because of that we are confident that the damages will be greatly reduced," said Chad Strickland, vice president of associate resources for the Atlanta-based retailer.
Jurors in the U.S. District Court of Southern Illinois assessed $80 million of punitive damages and $13.5 million of compensatory damages against Aaron's, as well as $1.5 million of compensatory damages against the supervisor. Punitive damages are awarded in an attempt to send a message to the company to stop this type of bevahior.