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NYDN: St. Louis woman awarded $95 million after former boss allegedly masturbated on her


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St. Louis woman awarded $95 million after former boss allegedly masturbated on her

A St. Louis woman who said she was hit on the head with her boss' genitals was awarded what her attorneys believe is the largest payout ever in an American sexual harassment lawsuit.

Ashley Alford was awarded $95 million in compensation from The Aaron's Inc., a large rent-to-own furniture chain after she said the store failed to act after a manager allegedly assaulted her twice in one day, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"This company has always denied responsibility and continues to deny its responsibility to its workers," Judy Cates, who originally filed Alford's suit, told the newspaper.

She told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the award was likely to be capped because of federal law and will be closer to $40 million, plus attorney fees.

Alford claimed that the store's then-manager, Richard Moore, gave her inappropriate nicknames and touched her inappropriately when she first began working there in 2005. Nearly a year after she was hired, she claimed, he came up to her in the stock room and whacked her on the head with his penis. Then, later that day, he lifted her shirt and masturbated over her as he held her down, she said.

He did not return to work after those incidents.

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Alford claimed that the store's then-manager, Richard Moore, gave her inappropriate nicknames and touched her inappropriately when she first began working there in 2005. Nearly a year after she was hired, she claimed, he came up to her in the stock room and whacked her on the head with his penis. Then, later that day, he lifted her shirt and masturbated over her as he held her down, she said.

So the offending manager's name was "Dick Moore"? That's a red flag right there.

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If true' date=' that's horrible. Not $95 million horrible, but horrible nonetheless.[/quote']

I disagree...

Read this part

"Then, later that day, he lifted her shirt and masturbated over her as he held her down, she said.

He did not return to work after those incidents.

Months before the final incident, Alford said she called the employee harassment hotline, but an investigator never got back to her."

So she CALLED to report it, they did nothing, ignored it, then he HELD HER DOWN, LIFTED HER SHIRT, and Masturbated on her.....

That's sexual assault, not harrassment. I'm wondering where the criminal charge is.

It said they made 118million in profit last year on $980 million in Revenue. So if I made 100k last year, and was able to put $10,000 in savings, and I allowed a sexual assault to happen, would a $8,000 fine be to much?

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I disagree...

Read this part

"Then, later that day, he lifted her shirt and masturbated over her as he held her down, she said.

He did not return to work after those incidents.

Months before the final incident, Alford said she called the employee harassment hotline, but an investigator never got back to her."

So she CALLED to report it, they did nothing, ignored it, then he HELD HER DOWN, LIFTED HER SHIRT, and Masturbated on her.....

That's sexual assault, not harrassment. I'm wondering where the criminal charge is.

It said they made 118million in profit last year on $980 million in Revenue. So if I made 100k last year, and was able to put $10,000 in savings, and I allowed a sexual assault to happen, would a $8,000 fine be to much?

The company will not even pay this it will probably be insurance and they will most likely appeal

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Some of you may laugh about this, the comments at the end of the newspaper article are pretty horrible to read through, I'm guessing because they had a picture of the plaintiff, a very pretty young lady.

Believe it or not, people have the right to come to work and not be harassed. This case is an extreme example, but I posted recently about a friend of mine whose coworker constantly approached her with comments about her body, and touched her hair all the time. The last time he did this, she said something to the effect that his behavior was a lawsuit waiting to happen and said this in front of her superior. Needless to say, the problem was solved. But my friend is around 50 years old and has lots of experience in the workplace.

This is a young woman, probably not too long in the workforce (events occured in 2005 so it took 6 years to get the case before a jury) so my supposition is that she was a teen when she started working, which is when the abuse started. She followed procedure and called the company's hotline to report incidents BEFORE he masturbated on her.

I think it's telling that Mr. Moore did not return to work following that incident. So the company stalled the case for 6 years; they had the most money to wait out the suit (girl with limited financial resources) but the right law firm apparently was retained by the plaintiff to get the case to court.

I thought the best comment on the news article was this: "Let's see if I have this right. The owner of a store who rents a $200.00 television set for $20.00 a week to some poor person is upset because he thinks he is getting ripped off. Wow. You can't make this stuff up."

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The company will not even pay this it will probably be insurance and they will most likely appeal

Well - I doubt their insurance pay 95million...in addition - Insurance for companies work just like insurance for people. Their rates will SKY ROCKET

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Well - I doubt their insurance pay 95million...in addition - Insurance for companies work just like insurance for people. Their rates will SKY ROCKET

From the article, it won't be $95 million:

She told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the award was likely to be capped because of federal law and will be closer to $40 million, plus attorney fees.
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LSF, I have to disagree about "a very pretty young lady".

Put the blame where it belongs. This guy is an idiot and a pitiful person to do something like this.

I don't think it is funny, and I am no saint, I am a flirt indeed. But that kind of behavior is disgusting and unacceptable in the workplace. What people do behind closed doors with their partners is their own damn business. What you do as a manager or employee as far as flirting has to be tempered.

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Some of you may laugh about this, the comments at the end of the newspaper article are pretty horrible to read through,

I don't know that anyone's laughing this off. This guy is a trainwreck and really needs to be in custody before he does something even worse, but the jury award is crazy.

Of course, the lawyers will push as hard as possible since they'll take the lion's share of it.

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The incident is sexual assault. Where are the criminal charges?

I don't know what the right punishment for the company is but if they ignored harassment claims I have no sympathy whether the fine is $1million or $100million.

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How is a company so poorly run that they have multiple sexual assaults reported and they do nothing? It's 2011 and even small mom and pop business know you can't ignore sexual harassment claims. The award is way too high but frankly Aaron's can blame themselves for that. It's not hard to record a claim investigate it and take some small meaningful action.... and it wouldn't have cost nearly 95 million. Doing so would have completely avoided this lawsuit.

I hope that they are looking for the stuffed shirt that mishandled this and firing him and his boss.

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I don't think it is funny, and I am no saint, I am a flirt indeed. But that kind of behavior is disgusting and unacceptable in the workplace. What people do behind closed doors with their partners is their own damn business. What you do as a manager or employee as far as flirting has to be tempered.

Being a flirt is a long way from doing what this guy did. Not even comparable.

And I totally agree re: your comments regarding the workplace.

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LSF, I have to disagree about "a very pretty young lady".

Put the blame where it belongs. This guy is an idiot and a pitiful person to do something like this.

I don't think it is funny, and I am no saint, I am a flirt indeed. But that kind of behavior is disgusting and unacceptable in the workplace. What people do behind closed doors with their partners is their own damn business. What you do as a manager or employee as far as flirting has to be tempered.

I was reading the actual news article and commenting on the comments at the end of THAT article, not the posts here. If you read those posts, I was observing that the comments were attacking the girl. The one I quoted in my post was the only one that actually was a positive comment on the article.

I agree with the rest of your post but would add that if a company is notified that they have a problem (sexual harassment) they shouldn't wait to do something until the harassment rises to the level of sexual assault, which some have rightly called the penis and masturbatory act.

I think Aaron's thought that they could financially wait out the plaintiff in the lawsuit. I'd like to see the number of depositions etc. that Aaron's ordered up to drag things out and cost tons of money. That's why most working people never sue, they can't afford the legal process which situation companies with financial resources often exploit knowing the suit will probably eventually be dropped for lack of money. Apparently this young woman found a legal firm that knew what kind of case they had in their hands and put the firm's financial resources behind the suit and awaited the payout. I'd guess that there was a pretty big party after the verdict, no matter the final award. They are getting at least 30% depending on their agreement with the plaintiff.

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Their business model is to prey on low-income earners with poor credit by selling furniture and electronics for inflated prices.

They then ask their store managers to act as repo-men when payments are missed. Ask yourself what class of individual this industry attracts. Then tell me you're surprised by this story.

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Nearly a year after she was hired, she claimed, he came up to her in the stock room and whacked her on the head with his penis. Then, later that day, he lifted her shirt and masturbated over her as he held her down, she said.

So I guess this guy is officially a whack job?

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