In the course of the more than $25 million lawsuit proceedings against Nike, the jury heard two very different versions of events. Douglas Ossanna is a former Nike electrician, fired in early 2013. He claims that Nike fired him in retaliation after he reported unsafe working conditions for electricians at the approximately 600-acre campus in Washington County. Nike denies the allegations. Nike’s version of events has Ossanna being fired for playing a pickup basketball game on a court in the Bo Jackson Building when the facility was designated as off limits.
The more than $25 million lawsuit consists of $572,000 in economic damages, $1.5 million in non-economic damages and as much as $25 million in punitive damages. During the closing arguments, attorneys for the plaintiff argued simplicity. They claim a simple and clear-cut case of retaliation in the workplace. It was argued that Ossanna had made concerns clear regarding unsafe working conditions to at least six different Nike managers over a period of a few years. Ossanna claims none of his unsafe working conditions reports were ever investigated or resolved by Nike.
On top of being fired, Ossanna’s representation make it clear that he suffered harsh working conditions including excessive amounts of overtime in response to his reporting of problems with workplace safety.
Nike indicated that they did not retaliate against the electrician and that as a supervisor, he had access to every building on the Washington County campus. Nike’s attorney, argued during her closing argument that the decision to terminate Ossanna’s employment was consistent with other recent terminations in the company including a Nike employee was terminated for lying in order to receive a $20 gift card.
If you or someone you know is a victim of retaliation in the workplace, contact the employment law experts at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik to find out how you get legal reparations for the damage to your career, your finances and your life.