Following a civil discrimination trial in Pennsylvania last month, a jury determined that Okna Windows Corp. should pay former employee Jana Ratzenbeck $10,000 in punitive damages—damages she says stem from violations of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 1991, as well as the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act. Meanwhile, in a memorandum to the court filed earlier this month by Ratzenbeck’s attorneys, the plaintiff is seeking more than $142,000 in additional compensation. In a document filed Tuesday, the company suggests it doesn’t owe Ratzenbeck compensatory damages or lost wages. A hearing on the damages associated with the case was scheduled for Wednesday, May 29, but results have yet to be made public.

According to a complaint filed October 2017 by the plaintiff’s counsel, Ratzenbeck alleges she underwent demotion and termination based on her sex and pregnancy, and/or those actions “were retaliatory based on her need for maternity leave and/or complaints of sex/pregnancy discrimination.” Court documents indicate that Ratzenbeck was employed by Okna beginning in October 2012, where she served as a customer service representative. In her petition to the court, Ratzenbeck says she notified her employer of her pregnancy and requested maternity leave after the birth of her child, at which time the company’s owner informed her that she would instead be rehired when she was ready to return to work, she alleges. When she returned to work on a part-time basis, around May 2015, she says her job duties were limited. Subsequently, when her child was released from the hospital following a premature birth, she says she was terminated again.

According to court documents, Ratzenbeck says that when she finally returned to work on a full-time basis, her work station had been given to another employee, after which she was sent home early on multiple occasions, because “[Okna] did not want to pay her,” the plaintiff’s complaint alleges, eventually being demoted to the position of receptionist. Shortly after filing a complaint with a manager, Ratzenbeck claims she was unlawfully terminated.

In an official response filed by Okna’s attorney, the company denies those allegations, suggesting that Ratzenbeck’s termination was due to her refusal to report to work, further claiming that she worked inconsistent hours while tending to her child’s medical issues, preventing her from being reassigned to her role as a full-time customer services representative. Ratzenbeck, the defense suggests, was told she could return to her prior position, if she would commit to full-time hours.

Following a three-day trial in April 2019, the jury unanimously agreed that Ratzenbeck’s demotion and/or termination was due to sex/pregnancy discrimination, awarding her $10,000 in punitive damages.

According to court documents, after a prior request for “$82,683 in back pay, $5,133.20 in prejudgment interest, $368,718 in front pay and an additional sum of money to account for her increased tax burden,” in her latest memorandum to the judge, Ratzenbeck now requests more than $137,700 in attorney’s fees and approximately $4,300 in incurred costs.

Officials from Okna had not responded to a request for comment by the publication of this article.

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