Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP recovered over $400,000 in fees and costs on behalf of client Northrop Grumman Corporation in an arbitration with an employee who claimed she was retaliated against for filing a lawsuit against the company. The first lawsuit, which alleged sexual harassment, was dismissed on a motion for summary judgment; an appeal was denied by the California Court of Appeal.
In this arbitration, the employee, Anne Houle, alleged that Northrop retaliated in several ways against her for filing her lawsuit in 2009, including giving her lowered performance evaluations, temporarily halting some benefits, reducing her security clearance, and excluding her from overtime opportunities.
The arbitrator found that Houle could not support her claims of retaliation, and that the evidence she did provide indicated that Northrop was especially accommodating of a litigious employee and acted quickly to resolve any mistakes or conflicts.
“Our client worked hard to address the employee’s needs and concerns,” said Louise Ann Fernandez, lead counsel and Chair of the Firm’s Labor & Employment Group. “She was treated fairly during and after her earlier lawsuit, and the results of the arbitration prove her claims were baseless.”
An award of defense fees in a discrimination lawsuit is extremely rare. However, Northrop was able to meet the high standard required by proving that the claims were frivolous and without merit. Northrop was awarded $325,000 in fees and $76,000 in costs. JMBM’s team also included associate Barbara Arnold, and Brett Greving.
About JMBM’s Labor & Employment Group
JMBM’s Labor & Employment Group provides general advice and counseling in all labor and employment areas, working with clients to avoid workplace problems and handling hundreds of jury trials, administrative trials and appeals before courts and administrative agencies nationwide. For more information, visit www.jmbm.com.