Appeals court: No second chance to appeal lower court’s decision on retaliation damages

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Firing,Human Resources

An employee who won a discrimination case after he filed an appeal has lost his second appeal. He had claimed it wasn’t enough that a lower court had ordered almost one million dollars in back pay. He said he should have been promoted, too.

Recent case: Donald Gryder claimed he had been fired from his federal job with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in retaliation for filing an EEOC complaint. A jury agreed, but the judge presiding over the case said Gryder would have been terminated even if he hadn’t filed the underlying EEOC complaint.

Gryder appealed and the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated his retaliation verdict, plus ordered the lower court judge to come up with an appropriate relief order. The lower court then directed the DOT to reinstate Gryder and pay him $923,656 in lost wages.

Gryder thought he was due more and appealed again.

This time, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals said Gryder wasn’t entitled to anything more. Gryder argued that he was still missing sick and personal leave time and should have received more money to make up for the big tax hit he took when he received the back pay in a lump sum. Plus, he wanted a promotion.

The appeals court said the trial judge could have considered those issues, but legitimately chose not to. Therefore, it concluded, Gryder had been fairly compensated for having been terminated. (Gryder v. Dennin, et al., No. 10-14845, 11th Cir., 2011)

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