A deaf former employee of Costco in Pompano Beach, Fla., Does not receive the $ 775,000 she won from a federal court jury in her discrimination and wrongful dismissal case.
Christine D’Onofrio’s celebration of the verdict and the ruling in June 2018 was short-lived. Shortly afterwards, a judge overturned the verdict, and then a pellets court refused to reinstate it. On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court announced a decision that refused to reconsider.
In her trial, a jury was in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Agrees with D’Onofrio’s assertion that Costco failed to provide her with a reasonable adjustment as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Supervisors denied Deerfield Beach, Fla., The resident’s requests to have an interpreter or have communication written down for her, she had argued. Instead, she was given a videophone that worked well in meetings but served little purpose while doing her regular work.
Leaders began complaining that D’Onofrio was shouting too loudly into the videophone and could not control the sound of her voice, her suit said. After she was written up for being too tall, D’Onofrio sent a letter to Costco’s CEO complaining about the treatment.
Shortly after, she was suspended for a week, and eight days after hearing about the suspension in October 2013, she was fired.
D’Onofrio had worked for Costco for 24 years at the company’s locations in Davie and Pompano Beach. She said she had not had trouble communicating with leaders over the years until someone arrived mumbling, making it impossible for her to read his lips.
While the jury upheld D’Onofrio’s argument that Costco did not provide a reasonable adjustment, it rejected her claim that Costco dismissed her because of her disability and in retaliation for her complaints.
Still, it awarded her $ 750,000 for mental anguish and $ 25,000 in punitive damages.
Seven months later, U.S. District Judge William Zloch overturned the verdict and found that “no reasonable jury could have found in favor of (the) plaintiff.” Zloch found that D’Onofrio rejected videophone and online interpretation services provided by Costco.
D’Onofrio claimed that Zloch decided that the telephone and online services were not sufficient to overcome communication problems that arose during the woman’s final year at Costco. The supervisor, who mumbled, had missed on-site training for communication with deaf workers and repeatedly disciplined D’Onofrio for displaying behaviors – loud-speaking and strong gesturing – typical of how deaf people communicate, she argued.
But Costco claimed that it went beyond its legal responsibility to provide interpretation services and equipment to D’Onofrio, and provided training sessions to help its employees communicate with her.
In January 2019, the 11th Circuit Court ruled in a 2-1 decision that Costco provided D’Onofrio with reasonable accommodation and refused to overturn Zloch’s decision.
D’Onofrio’s petition to the Supreme Court asked it to consider whether the Pellet Court failed to draw up the correct standard for review and whether its judgment was legally sufficient below the correct standard.
D’Onofrio’s attorney, Miami Beach-based William J. Butler, said he had no insight into the Supreme Court’s decision not to consider peeling.
“There’s not much to say,” Butler said. “It’s just a denial of a duty for the court to take the case. Lawyers generally do not know the cause. We could think about it forever and never find out the cause. ”