APPEALS court upholds decision against Wal-Mart

Saturday, August 4th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ A federal appeals court on Friday upheld a jury verdict holding Wal-Mart Stores Inc. liable for the sexual harassment of a former cashier at its Atoka store.

The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the company did not do enough to stop a supervisor from harassing Sandra Kennedy.

Kennedy had been awarded $43,750 in damages and $20,000 for costs and attorney's fees at last year's trial in U.S. District Court in Muskogee.

Wal-Mart claimed there was not sufficient evidence in its appeal. The court disagreed in an eight-page decision written by Judge Robert H. Henry of Oklahoma.

The evidence ``is clearly sufficient to support an inference that Wal-Mart failed to take reasonable care to prevent and correct (Collin Cooper's) sexual harassment,'' the court concluded.

Cooper's unwanted bodily contact with Kennedy allegedly occurred repeatedly in 1997 and 1998 despite her complaints to managers.

Wal-Mart contended that Kennedy was late in lodging her complaint and that the company responded promptly.

The company maintained that she complained only twice, but the judges cited evidence that she complained repeatedly.

Cooper was later fired.