Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Press and Employment Law Litigation


As a relatively young lawyer I was involved in a lengthy trial in Laredo, Texas involving a junior college and one of its faculty members. At the time Laredo had two daily newspapers, the Laredo Express Times and the Laredo News.

Being a small town, where litigation was second only to politics as a spectator sport, the trial was subject to front page and lengthy press coverage by both papers. As I would go back to the hotel and read the papers' stories of the previous day's happenings one could hardly tell they were covering the same trial, and in fact, neither of them was very close to what actually happened in the court room.

I couldn't help but remember that experience as I noticed the very different headlines appearing about a recent Phoenix case brought by the EEOC against Go Daddy, one of the leading domain registration companies. Here's a google news search as of Wednesday morning:
  1. Go Daddy Made to Pay Former Employee — Web Host Industry Review - 26 minutes agoDecember 20, 2006 -- (WEB HOST INDUSTRY REVIEW) -- A federal court ruled on Friday that Web host Go Daddy Software (godaddy.com) should pay damages to an ...
  2. Jury Agrees Web Host GoDaddy Did Not Discriminate — Tophosts, Canada - Dec 19, 2006December 19, 2006 – A US District Court jury of eight women returned its verdict in just four hours today, finding GoDaddy.com® did not discriminate against ...
  3. Go Daddy ordered to pay ex-employee $390,000 — KOLD-TV, AZ - Dec 19, 2006PHOENIX Go Daddy Group has been ordered by a federal court jury to pay 390-thousand dollars damages to a former employee. Jurors ...
  4. Go Daddy ordered to pay former employee — East Valley Tribune, AZ - Dec 19, 2006By Tony Natale, AP. A federal court jury of eight women agreed with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that an employee ...
  5. Federal Jury Agrees Unanimously - GoDaddy.com Did Not Discriminate — PR Newswire (press release), NY - Dec 18, 2006SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Dec. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- A US District Court jury of eight women returned its verdict in just four hours Friday ...
  6. Muslim wins $390,000 in Go Daddy bias case — Arizona Republic, AZ - Dec 18, 2006Go Daddy Group Inc. wrongfully terminated a Muslim employee from Morocco for complaining of discrimination and must pay the man ...
  7. Go Daddy ordered to pay ex-employee $390,000 — AZ Central.com, AZ - Dec 18, 2006SCOTTSDALE - Go Daddy Group Inc. wrongfully terminated a Muslim employee from Morocco for complaining of discrimination and must ...
  8. Jury finds GoDaddy did not discriminate — Phoenix Business Journal, AZ - Dec 18, 2006A US District Court jury found that GoDaddy.com did not discriminate when it denied a management position to Youssef Bouamama, a Muslim Moroccan who speaks ...
  9. Jury awards $390K to Muslim fired by Scottsdale company —Tucson Citizen, AZ - 9 hours agoAP. PHOENIX - Go Daddy Group Inc. wrongfully terminated a Muslim employee from Morocco when he complained of discrimination and must ...
  10. Go Daddy ordered to pay ex-employee $390,000 —KVOA.com, AZ - Dec 19, 2006PHOENIX Go Daddy Group has been ordered by a federal court jury to pay 390-thousand dollars damages to a former employee. Jurors ...
  11. Federal Jury Agrees Unanimously - GoDaddy.com Did Not Discriminate — Domain informer, IL - Dec 19, 2006A US District Court jury of eight women returned its verdict in just four hours Friday, finding GoDaddy.com® did not discriminate against a former employee. ...
  12. Go Daddy ordered to pay ex-employee $390,000 — KVOA.com, AZ - Dec 19, 2006PHOENIX -- Go Daddy Group Inc. wrongfully terminated a Muslim employee from Morocco when he complained of discrimination and must ...
  13. Jury finds GoDaddy did not discriminate — Milwaukee Business Journal, WI - Dec 18, 2006A US District Court jury found that GoDaddy.com did not discriminate when it denied a management position to Youssef Bouamama, a Muslim Moroccan who speaks ...
  14. Jury finds GoDaddy did not discriminate — Charlotte Business Journal, NC - Dec 18, 2006A US District Court jury found that GoDaddy.com did not discriminate when it denied a management position to Youssef Bouamama, a Muslim Moroccan who speaks ...
  15. Go Daddy ordered to pay ex-employee $390,000 — Arizona Republic, AZ - Dec 18, 2006SCOTTSDALE - Go Daddy Group Inc. wrongfully terminated a Muslim employee from Morocco for complaining of discrimination and must ...
  16. Jury finds GoDaddy did not discriminate — Bizjournals.com, NC - Dec 18, 2006A US District Court jury found that GoDaddy.com did not discriminate when it denied a management position to Youssef Bouamama, a Muslim Moroccan who speaks ...
Just from the headlines it would appear that the EEOC won 10 times and Go Daddy won 6. And the truth is -- all the headlines are technically correct.

But to really understand, it helps to know that the EEOC alleged that the employee was both discriminated against and then retaliated against when he complained about discrimination. As not infrequently happens, the jury rejected the discrimination claim, but found retaliation. A result so frequent it explains of why many employment lawyers call "retaliation" the most dangerous cause of action.

And of course, if truth be told, one has to give some credit to Go Daddy's spin in their press release:

Federal Jury Agrees Unanimously - GoDaddy.com Did Not Discriminate

Godaddy.com Pleased with Court Victories - Plans News Conference

EEOC's press release to come.


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