A jury in the U.S. District Court of Greeneville, TN granted Andrea Herring of Chattanooga, TN a sum of $2 million in a sexual harassment case she filed against East Lawn Funeral Home in Kingsport, TN. SCI Tennessee Funeral Service denied all allegations in the lawsuit and insisted that the staff at East Lawn Funeral Home had not harassed any current or previous employees.
Herring spent four years working at East Lawn Funeral Home as a family counselor. She claimed to be the sexually harassed by her co-worker, Tim Stinnett, during her time there. She filed a complaint with her supervisors but to her dismay, continued to endure uncomfortable work conditions. Herring even went as far as filing her complaint to the district manager and the human resources department, but the harassment only continued. She claimed that she started to receive the cold shoulder from her co-workers and there were comments made on her performance reports that were inaccurate and false.
In the lawsuit, Herring explicitly described the conduct she has endured from Stinnett. She claimed that he showed her nude pictures on his phone, often made sexual jokes in her presence, and when she would bend over, Stinnett would stand behind her and rub his shoe on her buttocks.
Unable to tolerate his behavior any longer, Herring filed a formal complaint to the EEOC in October 2013. This led to her being terminated from her position. She finally filed her lawsuit in August 2015.
The trial ran for three days, at the end of January 2018. The jury ruled in her favor and granted her $1,750,000 in punitive damages, $200,000 in compensatory damages, and $100,000 in lost wages. It totaled up to $2,050,000 that SCI will have to pay.
Herring and her attorneys see this suit as a win that moves in stride with the #metoo movement that has taken the nation by storm. They hope that this verdict sets a good precedent for the notion that no one should ever have to endure any sexually offensive conduct wherever they are, but most importantly, at work.
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