SHERMAN (CBSDFW.COM) – A jury has awarded a Plano man and former Kroger employee more than $450,000 in a federal harassment lawsuit. Jurors agreed Karl Tipple was wrongfully fired after reporting more than a year of harassment for his mental disabilities.
Tipple, 25, had worked for Kroger grocery stores for nearly five years and was employed as an assistant bakery manager before being transferred to a new location in November 2010. Tipple’s lawyers told the jury that he was demoted by his new store manager almost immediately to a part-time position. The manager also yelled profanities at Tipple while he was working and at times called him a “retarded idiot” and said he was “too stupid to live,” according to testimony heard in court. Tipple endured the harassment for almost a year before he was fired.
The jury awarded Tipple $450,000 in damages, $250,000 of which were punitive damages. He will also have an opportunity to receive his attorney’s fees as part of the verdict. His lawyer said Tipple “wants to make sure no other disabled Kroger employees are forced to ensure this type of abuse in the future.” Tipple suffers from several learning disabilities and graduated from special education classes at Plano West High School.
Tipple’s lawyers claimed that he reported the abuse to Kroger’s higher management, which refused to investigate his claims and wrongly fired him.
CBS 11 has reached out to Kroger for a comment and has not heard back at this time.