JUNE 8, 2022 – Following a four-week virtual trial, a jury in King County, Wash., has returned a unanimous verdict in favor of Alaska Airlines in a case alleging race and sex discrimination.
Plaintiff Jeffrey Burton was a 13-year veteran of the company who supervised customer service agents at Sea-Tac airport. He was fired in November 2017 following a month-long investigation into multiple complaints of verbal sexual harassment by numerous agents he oversaw.
Eighteen months later, he sued Alaska Airlines and two directors that he alleged were involved in the decision to terminate. He claimed retaliation, wrongful discharge, and race and sex discrimination, and sought more than $4.7 million in damages for lost wages and emotional distress.
The defense team brought a motion for summary judgment, which King County Superior Court Judge Mafe Rajul granted in June 2020 with respect to the claim for retaliation and to all claims brought against one of the personally named directors. At trial, the court granted judgment as a matter of law on plaintiff's wrongful termination claim. Finally, Alaska and the remaining personally named defendant received a complete 12-0 defense verdict after two hours of jury deliberation.
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