A pharmacist fired by Walmart after reporting safety problems
was awarded $31m in damages by a jury Friday.
The jury awarded most of the money Thursday based on gender discrimination claims, but also found Wal-Mart's conduct was retaliation for her complaints about safety issues and/or privacy violations.
McPadden, 51, said she was confident she would prevail even before the jury announced its verdicts after about three hours of deliberations.
"I honestly feel the jurors listened intently," she told The Associated Press. "I really feel they wanted to send a message that the little guy has a voice, that Wal-Mart did something wrong."
The Consumerist reports on exactly how you get fired at Walmart.
In the two years leading up to her dismissal — which Walmart blamed on the pharmacist losing her key to the pharmacy — the plaintiff said that 13 different pharmacy employees either "quit, transferred, or were fired," and that Walmart either left these positions vacant or replaced these workers with "new inexperienced employees."
"This constant turnover, understaffing, and inexperienced staff created a serious threat to the safety of patients and resulted in regulatory violations regarding the safe practice of pharmacy," reads the complaint.
In 2011, believing that "too many mistakes were occurring" in the pharmacy and that the lack of properly trained staff presented a public health risk, the plaintiff contacted the Chief Compliance Investigator of the New Hampshire Board of Pharmacy.