$1.46 Million Canadian Workplace Bullying Award

A jury awarded a former Walmart assistant manager $1.46 million for mistreatment she suffered at the hands of a Windsor store manager three years ago. Meredith Boucher, 42, successfully argued that she was subject to profane and insulting mental abuse from May to November 2009 from Jason Pinnock, 32, then the manager of the east-side Walmart store, including being called “a (expletive) idiot” and being made to count skids in front of others to prove she could count. “We’re delighted for Ms. Boucher,” her lawyer Myron Shulgan said after the verdict was announced. “She championed the cause for workers and indicated that corporations will be made to respond to improper treatment of employees.” Shulgan argued his client was subject to sexual harassment and discrimination, intentional infliction of mental suffering, and — at the hands of an assistant manager who punched her in the arm two days in a row and was subsequently fired — assault. The jury of three men and three women, who decided that Boucher was constructively dismissed — in other words, forced out through abusive treatment — awarded her: from Walmart, $200,000 for intentional infliction of mental suffering, $1 million for punitive damages, and $10,000 for assault; and from Pinnock, $100,000 for intentional infliction of mental suffering, and $150,000 for punitive damages. She received nothing for alleged sexual harassment and discrimination. “I’m happy. I feel like I have been validated,” Boucher said. Boucher shed some tears of relief and joy following what she called a “horrendous” experience that cost her her health and a job. She has been out of work since leaving Walmart in November 2009 but said she’s feeling better and invigorated to restart the career that originally had her fast-tracked for promotion until Pinnock turned against her. Her suit against the largest retailer in the world did not come without risk. If she had lost, the unemployed married mother of one grown daughter may have had to pay Walmart’s court costs, which easily could have reached the tens of thousands. “I value truth and integrity,” she said, noting that she felt obliged to stand up against bullying at the workplace. “It was just about making sure people knew that this happened and something needed to be done about it. “I lost my career. I lost a lot of friends over it because I didn't feel that I should speak with them since I didn't want to put them in jeopardy.”