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California Jury Awards $15 Million Verdict Against Jack in the Box

Blanca Ramirez worked for Jack in the Box from 2001 to 2013 as a supervisor. She alleged that she was injured on the job on two occasions in her last year which impacted her ability to perform some of her job duties. Ramirez stated that she was denied workers’ compensation and the company refused to accommodate her. Upon seeing her difficulties in movement, her manager purportedly called her “grandma.” Ramirez asserted that she was fired after she made two complaints about sexual harassment in the restaurant. One complaint pertained to a manager involved with two subordinates and the other was a 22-year-old supervisor engaging in “serious misconduct” with two 16-year-old subordinates.
Jack in the Box denied all of Ramirez’ allegations, claiming her initial injury did not take place on the job and that she never requested accommodations for the second injury. Furthermore, the company asserted that she was fired for cause, the manipulation of a system designed to measure the speed of service in the drive-thru. Jack in the Box did produce video during the trial to support its defense.
The jury found that Ramirez’s age was a “substantial motivating reason” in the company’s decision to terminate her. It also found she had been fired due to her disabilities and complaints about sexual harassment. She was awarded $5.4 million in lost wages and emotional distress and $10 million in compensatory damages. Jack in the Box has expressed its intention to appeal the decision.