Forest River Inc. President and CEO Pete Liegl says “stunning new information” has surfaced since his company lost a sexual harassment law suit in federal court last November, according to the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune.
Forest River is appealing a jury’s verdict and the award of $320,000 in damages to former employee Dawn Beard.
In its appeal, Forest River is asking the court to either set aside the judgment, reduce the amount of damages awarded or order a new trial.
The new information was not included in the appeal motions and Liegl declined to elaborate to the newspaper except to say “new, substantial information has come out since the trial, information I think will reveal that the verdict was terribly wrong.”
The information came from “some other people in the community who were very personally aware of the allegations and from some of our employees,” Liegl told the Tribune.
Beard claimed she was sexually harassed by a line foreman while she worked for the Goshen, Ind.-based Forest River during 1999. She quit during July 1999 but returned a week later to ask for her job back. After meeting with Liegl, she was given a job, for less pay, at a different plant.
Beard quit again after 60 days.
Liegl admits he acted contrary to Forest River policy when he agreed to re-hire Beard. “I guess that’s what you get for being a nice guy,” he told the Tribune. “It made it look like we were trying to cover up something.”
Beard was not given back her initial higher-paying job because it had been filled, Liegl added.
Beard’s case was filed in U.S. District Court in South Bend after the Indiana Equal Employment Opportunity Commission decided there was “no reasonable cause” to pursue the matter.