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PNC Bank Must Pay for Customer’s Harassment

Damara Scott worked as a wealth manager for PNC Bank in New Jersey. She was awarded $2.4 million in compensatory damages after a jury found that the bank had failed to protect her from a customer.
Patrick Pignatello was a customer of the bank and allegedly known by the bank to be a serial harasser of women, particularly African-American women. In 2013, Scott was leaving the bank when Pignatello was waiting at the door. When she asked if he was coming inside, he responded, “No, I’m following you.” As she went towards her car, he said, “I offer full services and I’m willing to please.” Pignatello then grinded into her buttocks. Pignatello was charged with sexual assault; he passed away before his case went to trial. Scott alleged that PNC Bank knew about Pignatello’s behavior which included groping and harassing black women and customers in the branch. He allegedly put his hands around the body of a female mortgage representative and rested his head on her breasts; one employee told him that he was “too close” to her, and he asked female employees, “Are you going to service me today?” She asserted that he had been banned from the branch for temporary periods but his accounts were never closed because he was a good customer.
At the trial, PNC Bank claimed that video footage outside the bank showed that the sexual assault of Scott did not occur. Following the verdict, PNC asserted that it did not condone harassment, that it was disappointed by the verdict, and that it intended to appeal based on errors by the court.