Lawsuit alleged NIJ employee was passed over for promotions despite exemplary qualifications and service
A Washington, D.C. federal-court jury awarded a longtime U.S. Department of Justice employee $445,000 in her gender discrimination lawsuit against the government, the law firm Outten & Golden LLP announced today.
After a five-day trial, the jury sided with Debra Stoe , who worked for the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), a DOJ agency, for 20 years. Stoe alleged she repeatedly was passed over for promotions in favor of less qualified and less accomplished men.
Stoe’s professional achievements included development of standards and testing required to ensure that law enforcement equipment and technology such as bulletproof vests is safe and effective.
In evidence presented at trial, Stoe’s supervisors recognized that she “revolutionized” the standards and testing program, and that she was “singularly responsible” for “moving it into the modern era.” Stoe was credited with saving the government “millions” of dollars and saving “countless lives” of law enforcement officers.
Outten & Golden Partner Susan E. Huhta said, “This case involved blatant gender discrimination by the federal government. We are grateful the jury rejected the government’s specious defense. The verdict is a complete vindication of an exemplary employee.”
Outten & Golden Partner Cassandra W. Lenning said, “The trial made clear the impact of Ms. Stoe’s work. On the final day of the trial, a former supervisor of Ms. Stoe’s thanked her from the stand and credited her with saving his police officer son’s life. His son was hit by a speeding car, and the bulletproof vest he was wearing saved his life.”
Debra Stoe said, “My career meant the world to me. The work I did was important. I hoped the DOJ hiring system would be fair, but the evidence showed it was not. I felt strongly that we had to take a stand against how the DOJ too often disregards women. The importance of the #MeToo movement really hits home when you see people like me whose hard work, superior qualifications, and experience were so casually and consistently overlooked. We showed that people and the DOJ hiring system were manipulated by the discriminator. I’m grateful for the jury’s findings.”
Huhta added, ” Debra Stoe’s courage should serve as an inspiration to all women in the workplace. This verdict sends a message to all employers that discrimination in the workplace will not be tolerated, especially in the federal government.”
The case is “Stoe v. Garland,” Case 1:16-cv-01618-JDB in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.
CONTACTS: Susan E. Huhta and Cassandra W. Lenning, Outten & Golden, 516.261.6080 or @email.
About Outten & Golden LLP
Outten & Golden LLP focuses on advising and representing individuals in employment, partnership, and related workplace matters both domestically and internationally. The firm counsels individuals on employment and severance agreements; handles complex compensation and benefits issues (including bonuses, equity agreements, and partnership interests); and advises professionals (including doctors and lawyers) on contractual issues. It also represents employees with a wide variety of claims, including discrimination and harassment based on sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, race, disability, national origin, religion, and age, as well as retaliation, whistleblower, and contract claims. The firm handles class actions involving a wide range of employment issues, including economic exploitation, gender- and race-based discrimination, wage-and-hour violations, violations of the WARN Act, and other systemic workers’ rights issues.
Outten & Golden has nine practice groups: Executives & Professionals, Financial Services, Sexual Harassment & Sex Discrimination, Family Responsibilities & Disability Discrimination, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & Queer (LGBTQ) Workplace Rights, Discrimination & Retaliation, Whistleblower Retaliation, Class & Collective Actions, and WARN Act.
Outten & Golden has offices in New York , San Francisco , and Washington, D.C.
SOURCE Outten & Golden LLP