A federal jury in Texas awarded $25.1 million to a former food and beverage manager who filed a lawsuit against her employer, alleging she was underpaid due to her gender.
Sarah Lindsley worked at Omni Hotel and Resorts for nearly 16 years. She said she was paid less than male colleagues who performed the same work and shouldered the same responsibilities.
Was she underpaid in violation of federal laws?
After repeatedly complaining to HR without getting any results, Sarah Lindsley filed a complaint with the EEOC and then went on sue her former employer, alleging violations of Title VII and the Equal Pay Act.
She asserted that her lower pay was the result of “the ‘boy’s club’ culture that permeated Omni’s Food & Beverage Division.”
The long legal battle continued for nearly eight years. Earlier this month, a jury of five men and three women sided with Lindsley.
The jury awarded $100,000 in compensatory damages for “Past pain and suffering, inconvenience, mental anguish, and loss of enjoyment of life.”
It also awarded $25 million in punitive damages.
“With a company of that size, you have to send a correspondingly large number as a message so that they’ll, you know, they’ll get the hint,” Lindsley’s attorney said in an interview.
Info: Jury verdict in Lindsley v. TRT Holdings Inc., 3/9/23.