A jury has awarded $1 million in damages after finding an Oregon woman was discriminated against by an employee of a company. Idaho-based gas station operator “I don’t serve black people,” I told her.
The Multnomah County jury’s ruling against Portland resident Rose Wakefield, 63, included $550,000 in punitive damages.
Wakefield’s attorney, Gregory Caffoury, stopped by Jackson’s Food Store in Beaverton, Oregon for gas on March 12, 2020, when the attendant, Nigel Powers, ignored her and sent another person instead. said he saw him pumping gas for his driver.
Kafoury said when she tried to get help, he said, “I’ll call you when I feel like it.”
Attendants are required to pump fuel for motorists at gas stations in densely populated areas of Oregon, such as Portland and the nearby suburb of Beaverton.
Surveillance video showed Wakefield entering and calling for help. Another employee followed her outside to pump her gas. Kafoury said that as she was leaving, Wakefield asked her Powers why she refused to help her and said, “I’m not serving black people.”
“I was like, ‘What world do I live in?’ ‘” Wakefield told his KGW-TV. “This can’t go down like that. It was a terrible, terrible confrontation between me and this guy.”
Over the next week, Wakefield complained twice to her manager, but her calls were mostly ignored.
Powers was fired a month later after company records showed he was accused of talking on a cell phone several times, Caffoury said.
“MS. Wakefield was originally going to let this go,” Caffoury said. “She told her friends that it was too disturbing and she didn’t want to deal with it. I have to.”
A Jackson’s Food Stores statement Thursday said the Meridian, Idaho convenience store chain has a zero-tolerance policy of racism or other forms of discrimination, saying, “Because our knowledge does not match the verdict, I respectfully disagree with the jury’s decision.”
“After careful consideration of all facts and evidence, including video surveillance, we are reassured by the knowledge that actual service-related concerns reported by customers have been investigated and promptly addressed, and therefore we are taking this matter to court.” I have decided to go ahead,” the statement said. .rac
The company did not provide details, but Caffoury said Powers was never questioned by the company about the racist comments and was only disciplined for not serving customers in the order they arrived. said.
Attempts to contact Powers were unsuccessful.
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