After an eight-week trial where plaintiffs’ lawyers presented evidence that Edison’s South Bay office had a fraternity-like culture in which racial and sexual harassment was widespread, the jury awarded Alfredo Martinez punitive damages of $300 million from Edison International and $100 million from SoCal Edison (SCE). Justin Page was awarded $30 million in punitive damages from Edison International and $10 million from SCE. Add to that $24.6 million in compensatory damages. The $22.37 million in compensatory damages for Martinez is believed to be one of the largest of its kind for a Fair Employment and Housing Act case in California history.
Their complaint was filed back in August 2017, a few months after Martinez was pushed out of his supervisor job by “constructive termination”, which is a claim accusing the employer of creating or permitting intolerable working conditions in order to force out a worker after reporting widespread sexual harassment and racist language, reported the Los Angeles Times. Martinez said he witnessed sexual and racial harassment and abuse during the 16 years that he worked at Edison. One such complaint is stated in his lawsuit: Two female workers approached him in March 2017, complaining of sexual harassment. They told Martinez because he was "just about the only supervisor" who could be trusted and who hadn’t taken part in the harassment.
Martinez was “constructively terminated” in April 2017. The jury heard how six retaliatory complaints against him came about 30 days after reporting the harassment. According to his lawsuit, Edison conducted a sham investigation and used the complaints to push him out of his job.
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As for Edison, they are hopeful the verdict will be overturned. SCE spokeswoman Diane Castro told the LA Times that “The jury decision is not consistent with the facts and the law and does not reflect who we are or what we stand for, and we intend to challenge the decision and seek a new trial.”