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Ashley Alford sued rent-to-own furniture store Aaron's Inc. with sexual harassment. An Illinois jury has now awarded her with $95 million in damages.
Her attorneys believe that this is one of the largest jury verdicts ever in a sexual harassment lawsuit, reports the New York Daily News.
Alford was a former employee at Aaron's, Inc. in St. Louis. She suffered some strange - and likely humiliating - sexual harassment from her former manager, Richard Moore, according to the New York Daily News.
Alford started working at the store in 2005. Moore touched her inappropriately, and about a year after she began working he came up to her when she was sitting down in the back stock room. He then hit her head with his genitals. The same day, he held her down and lifted up her shirt, masturbating over her as he held her down, reports the New York Daily News.
The other male employees at the Aaron's store also harassed her when she began work there, according to Alford's suit. Moore had also nicknamed Alford "Trixie" and had told her that she was "cute" and groped her breasts before the final incident, reports Reuters.
Alford called the company's sexual harassment hotline and had left a message, but never received a response, according to Reuters.
It took the jury 3 days to return with the verdict and the damages amount, reports Reuters. However, some of the award will be capped under federal law, so Alford's attorney expects that the actual award will be lowered to maybe $40 million, plus attorney's fees.
A strange set of facts - and Aaron's was likely found liable because they did not do enough to protect their employee from a known case of sexual harassment.
Ashley Alford's Aaron's Inc. sexual harassment lawsuit will be appealed by Aaron's attorneys, reports The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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