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Lois E. Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Co.

Bus 793 Case Presentation
by

Ashley Thoma

on 11 December 2012

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Transcript of Lois E. Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Co.

Factual Background and Procedure History •1975: Lois E. Jenson began working at Eveleth Taconite Co. and endured sexual harassment, as well as a hostile work environment from male co-workers

•1984: The trigger point was when a salaried co-worker stalked her, broke into her home and threatened her son. Since the union refused to help her, Lois mailed a complaint to the Minnesota Department of Human Rights (tires slashed)

•1987: The State requested that $6,000 in punitive damages and $5,000 for mental anguish be paid to Jenson; however, the company refused

•1988: Lois E. Jenson and Patricia S. Kosmach v. Eveleth Taconite Co. was filed in the U.S. District Court in Minneapolis asking that the suit be certified as class action

•1991: The class action was granted and became the first ever class action for sexual harassment

•1992: Lois stops working at the mine and is diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Case Summary Lois E. Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Co. was the first class-action sexual harassment lawsuit in the United States.

The case was filed by sixteen women, lasted over 10 years and resulted in the plaintiffs receiving a total of $3.5 million due to the company’s inability to prevent and discontinue a hostile work environment. Legal Analysis •Initial class action granted under Fed. R. Civ. P. 23, alleging gender discrimination in violation of both Title VII of Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.S. § 2000e, and the Minnesota Human Rights Act, Minn. Stat. § 363.01-.15.

•The court’s decision was revered because the Special Master did not apply proper principles of causation to the employees’ claims of emotional harm, which limited employee’s damages.

•Other major issues occurred at this stage: Expert Testimony, Constructive Discharge Claims, Punitive Damages, Statute of Limitation, Survival of Claim and Conclusion. •1998: Fifteen women settled with Eveleth Mines for a total of $3.5 million on the eve of going to trial.

•What this case did was now put greater pressure on companies to take sexual harassment in the workplace seriously by educating their employees, implementing a sexual harassment policy and create a means for reporting and acting on any sexual harassment claims.

•This case improved working conditions for all men and women moving forward. North Country Accounts the events occurring in the workplace and up until 1992. Lois E. Jenson v. Eveleth Taconite Co. Conclusion 1st class action sexual harrassment lawsuit in the U.S. Factual Background and Procedure History (cont) •1992: The liability trial begins before a U.S. District Judge

•1993: 6 months later, the judge ruled that the company should have prevented the misconduct, maintained a hostile work environment and was ordered to educate all employees about sexual harassment. McNulty was named Special Master to oversee a trail that would determine the amount of money owed to the women in damages

•1994: McNulty permits the company’s lawyers to request medical records of all the women dating from birth. The women endured long dispositions of their personal lives for the next six months.

•1994: One of the plaintiff dies from Lou Gehrig’s disease

•1996: McNulty released a 416 pages report about intense discovery calling the women “histrionic”, makes public very personal details of their private lives and awards them an average of $10,000 each

•1997: The Eight Circuit Court of Appeals appealed and reversed this judgment due to numerous errors made by the Special Master and ordered a new jury trial on damages
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