On Friday, July 27, after a 3 week trial in Manhattan, a jury awarded $1.25 million in damages to Enrichetta Ravina, a former professor at Columbia University Business School, who claimed that she was denied tenure and forced to resign in retaliation for complaining that a senior professor, Geert Bekaert, had sexually harassed her. Professor Bekaert will owe her $500,000 in punitive damages, and Columbia will owe $750,000 in punitive damages.
Ravina first prevailed Thursday on her retaliation claims against Bekaert and against Columbia based on his conduct. The jury also held Thursday that Bekaert, but not Columbia, could be held liable for punitive damages. Jurors rejected Ravina’s gender discrimination claims against both. The money verdicts then came in on Friday.
Interestingly, the jury found that there was no sexual harassment or gender discrimination. The verdict was on the retaliation claims. The jury also did not give the plaintiff the back pay and front pay she had sought. They awarded only punitive damages, against both defendants.