The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

PRESS RELEASE
9-14-09

NINTH CIRCUIT UPHOLDS JURY VERDICT OF $241,708 AWARDING PUNITIVE DAMAGES IN EEOC CASE AGAINST ‘GO DADDY’

EEOC Sued Software Company for Retaliation Against Muslim Worker

PHOENIX -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has upheld a 2006 unanimous federal court jury verdict finding Go Daddy Software, Inc. had retaliated against Youssef Bouamama when it fired him for complaining about discriminatory comments against him. The EEOC sued Go Daddy on Bouamama’s behalf.

In a 2-1 decision, the Ninth Circuit rejected Go Daddy’s challenge to the jury’s finding that the company had engaged in unlawful retaliation. The jury found that Go Daddy terminated Bouamama, a Muslim of Moroccan national origin who speaks Arabic, for complaining about religious and national origin discrimination. The jury verdict included punitive damages in the amount of $250,000, compensatory damages for emotional distress of $5,000, and an advisory verdict of $135,000 for lost wages. U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell subsequently reduced the punitive and compensatory damages award to $200,000 to conform to the statutory caps under the Civil Rights Act of 1991 and the back pay amount to $36,552 and awarded prejudgment interest in the amount of $5,156. The total amount is $241,708. Judge Campbell also found Go Daddy had violated federal record keeping requirements when it failed to retain employment applications relevant to the case.

In its complaint under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (CIV 04-2062-PHX-DGC filed Sept. 30, 2004), the EEOC charged that Go Daddy Software, Inc., also known as GODADDY.com, denied a management position to Bouamama for discriminatory reasons. The EEOC said Go Daddy then fired him because of his Moroccan national origin and Muslim religion, and in retaliation for his opposing this unlawful conduct. Bouamama was fired in April 2003. The EEOC also charged that Go Daddy failed to keep personnel records as required by federal law.

The EEOC’s proceedings in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit were handled by James Tucker, an appellate attorney in the Office of General Counsel, Appellate Services Division, at agency headquarters in Washington.

“We are pleased that the Ninth Circuit has affirmed the jury’s finding of retaliation,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Mary Jo O’Neill of the Phoenix District Office, which initially investigated and litigated the case. “Go Daddy has had its day in court. After more than six years, it is time now for Go Daddy to accept the wisdom of the eight women on the jury and allow Mr. Bouamama and his family to move on with their lives.”

EEOC Supervisory Trial Attorney David Lopez, who tried the case, along with agency attorney Lucila Rosas, said, “The jury, acting as the conscience of this community, properly found that Go Daddy engaged in conduct warranting its award of punitive damages. It is important to understand that these damages are designed to deter this employer from again violating federal civil rights laws prohibiting retaliation for opposing discriminatory practices.”

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination. Further information about the EEOC is available on its web site at www.eeoc.gov.


This page was last modified on September 14, 2009.

Home Return to Home Page