Walmart appeals $1.2-million employee lawsuit award

Walmart Canada says a jury verdict that awarded a former employee more than $1 million is "shockingly unreasonable."

The company is asking the Court of Appeal for Ontario to dismiss the claims made by Meredith Boucher - who used to work at a store in Windsor, Ont., - or at least lower the amount Walmart has to pay her. Boucher sued Walmart and her former manager, Jason Pinnock, for intentional infliction of mental suffering and constructive dismissal, meaning she was asked to work in intolerable conditions.

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The trial heard that Pin-nock was mentally abusive toward her and would criticize her in front of other staff, such as when he made her count a row of skids to prove she could count to 10 and that Walmart didn't take action against him.

The jury ordered Walmart to pay her $1 million in punitive damages and $200,000 in aggravated damages, as well as awarding her $250,000 from Pinnock. Both Pinnock and Walmart are appealing, with Walmart suggesting the jury wasn't properly instructed and that a better informed jury wouldn't have come up with those amounts.

Walmart called the damage awards "wholly disproportionate and/or shockingly unreasonable."

"The findings of the jury were a substantial wrong and/or a miscarriage of justice," Walmart said in its notice of appeal.

Boucher's lawyer, Myron Shulgan, said the jury's findings should be upheld.

"This jury spoke as the voice and conscience of the community to express its view of Walmart's conduct," he said from Windsor.

"We're disappointed that Walmart's chosen to dedicate its resources to pursue an appeal of this decision rather than making use of those resources to improve the environment and condition in which their employees are employed."

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