Client Reinstated to Job After Winning $263,000 Retaliation Verdict

A Florida jury returned a $263,000 verdict for Jill Blackman after finding her former employer retaliated against her. Pictured immediately after the verdict, from L to R: paralegal Elizabeth Lacombe, client Jill Blackman, Jim Garrity, and paralegal Wanda Cone.

A judge has now ordered our client’s former employer to reinstate her to her previous high-level job, after a jury in April 2021 found she was wrongfully terminated and awarded her $263,000 in damages.

After a lengthy post-trial hearing between the judge and lawyers for the parties, Judge John C. Cooper ordered the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR) to return our client, Jill Blackman, to her former position as Bureau Chief of Operations. In that role she enforced regulations relating to horse racing, dog racing, parimutuel wagering, and gambling across Florida. The judge said that if the position is not currently available – if someone else currently occupies her former post – the agency must find comparable positions with comparable pay, responsibilities, and prestige, and offer them to her.

In other words, there’s no way out for DBPR. A jury found that the agency illegally retaliated against our client by terminating her after she complained of unfair pay practices against women. Once the jury ruled in her favor, Jim Garrity set about the task of restoring her to the position she held and loved for many years. The judge agreed with Garrity and ordered the agency to rehire her immediately.

The judge is also entering an order forbidding DBPR from retaliating against her once she returns to work.

This case is a textbook example of the relief that can be awarded a wrongfully-terminated employee. Juries have the power to award monetary damages, and judges have the power to do even more, including forcing employers who engage in illegal acts to restore their former employees’ career.

Questions about your rights? Feel free to call us, for a free, confidential consultation at (800) 663-7999.

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