Jury Awards $3 M to United Airlines Employee who Complained of Discrimination
A federal court jury in Denver awarded $3 million to a former United Airlines employee after finding the company retaliated against her for complaining about discrimination.
The jury deliberated about seven hours before reaching a verdict.
Jennifer McInerney, 37, of Centennial lost her job as a United ramp-services supervisor in March 2006 after 12 years with the company. She has a disabled 3-year-old son.
McInerney asked for alternative jobs in May 2005 because she anticipated complications with her pregnancy. She said the request was denied and her son was born 11 weeks premature.
McInerney took family medical leave, vacation time and sick leave until she had used up all her time off. She then asked for unpaid leave, but didn't get it.
She was instructed to return to work in March 2006. When she didn't, she was fired.
McInerney alleged in her lawsuit that United often approved requests for unpaid leave from male ramp supervisors.
United maintained it had a shortage of ramp supervisors and couldn't continue to hold open McInerney's job when she requested more time off.
Jurors decided McInerney was retaliated against for her complaints about gender discrimination, but they didn't find that she was discriminated against because she is a woman.
"I wanted to send a huge message to United to never ever do this again," she said.
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