Retaliatory discharge verdict is upheld, despite alleged non-retaliatory justification for firing
Clayton Jenkins complained to his employer, Trinity Health Corporation, after his same-sex supervisor made inappropriate comments and offensive touching actions toward him. Jenkins claimed that after learning of his complaint, the supervisor threatened to make Jenkins' life miserable and ultimately succeeded in securing Jenkins' termination. Jenkins filed suit alleging a retaliatory discharge and the jury awarded him a modest verdict including $25,000.00 in damages.
Trinity appealed the verdict but the Court of Appeals concluded it should be upheld. Even though the actions of Jenkins' supervisor could not qualify as quid pro quo sexual harrassment (because the Court concluded none of the offensive remarks or touchings were "specifically in exchange for sexual favors," there was adequate evidence to support Jenkins' claim of a retaliatory discharge, because "the retaliation was a significant factor in the termination."