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Jury to Weigh Bias Award Against Wal-Mart

September 25, 1998|Associated Press

The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that a jury should consider punitive damages against Wal-Mart Stores for refusing to hire a pregnant job applicant. Bentonville, Ark.-based Wal-Mart could be liable for up to $300,000 in damages, the limit for federal job discrimination cases that do not involve race. A jury had awarded Jamey Stern of Arizona about $1,500 for lost pay and interest, said Robert J. Gregory, lawyer for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which sued on Stern's behalf. The jury wasn't allowed to consider punitive damages. Stern testified that she was first told she qualified for several open jobs at a Wal-Mart store in Green Valley, Ariz. Three days later, however, an assistant manager told her she would not be hired because of her pregnancy. Attorneys for Wal-Mart had no immediate comment.

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