Grocery Chain Hit with $30 million Verdict

April 9, 2002 ( - A California jury has awarded $30 million to six female supermarket workers who claim they were sexually harassed with charges that a male manager manhandled them and threw telephones and a 30-pound mailbag at them.

Jurors in San Diego gave each plaintiff $5 million plus $91,000 for emotional distress – one of the largest harassment verdicts in US legal history, according to a report in The Recorder.

The plaintiffs charged that executives at the Compton, California-based Ralph’s Grocery Co. never investigated what the plaintiffs said were their routine complaints about harassment, which went on for over a decade.

The workers claimed the only action from the company was to transfer the complaining workers to other stores in the chain.

Lawyers for Ralph’s, who didn’t comment in The Recorder report, have indicated they will appeal.

The latest verdict was actually the second in the case. A 1988 jury awarded $3.3 million in punitive damages and $550,000 in compensatory damages, but the judge later threw the verdict out after finding out that one of the jurors was a shareholder of Ralph’s parent company, The Kroger Co.