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Jury Awards Female Scientist $3 Million for Sex Discrimination

Carol Knox worked as a senior research scientist and project leader for 23 years at PPG Industries, Inc. before being fired. At the time of her termination, she was the only female working in her project group.
According to Ms. Knox, her work history was solid until Truman Wilt became her supervisor three years before she was let go. Mr. Wilt told Ms. Knox that he “was uncomfortable around women” and that “women were better suited in business” rather than the scientific side. Mr. Wilt’s bias against women was reflected in his disparate treatment of her; he assigned her to administrative projects while placing her male co-workers in more technical work. She did complain about some of the behavior to Human Resources, Still, Mr. Wilt encouraged her to take a different position at the company and was angry when she refused. PPG claimed her termination was related to an investigation into an extramarital affair between another male manager and his female subordinate. Ms. Knox’ responses during the investigation into the relationship were said to have been inconsistent and she was not considered fully cooperative.
The jury believed Ms. Knox and awarded her $993, 495 in front pay, $478,585 in back pay, and $1.5 million in emotional distress damages. PPG released a statement indicating that it is considering whether to appeal the verdict.