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Neither Side Will Appeal Jury Verdict

December 31, 1987

DETROIT (AP) _ The Detroit Free Press and seven female employees who sued the newspaper for alleged sexual harassment have agreed that neither side will appeal a federal jury decision that gave five of the women monetary awards.

The settlement raises to $185,000 from $159,000 the amount awarded last month in Ann Arbor by a jury that found five of the women were sexually harassed and intimidated on the job in the newspaper’s composing room, said Betty Bazemore, one of the plaintiffs.

Bazemore said the additional money is to cover attorney fees and court costs.

The women’s attorneys had asked the jury for judgments totaling $1.25 million, with additional awards ranging from $125,000 to $225,000.

All seven plaintiffs will share in the award despite the jury’s finding that two of the women were not sexually harassed, Bazemore said.

James Spaniolo, Free Press vice president of human resources, said the newspaper did not think the three years of litigation, including a three-week trial, or an appeal of the verdict would make any difference.

″We acknowledge that the women who filed this suit felt deeply aggrieved over how they were treated by certain co-workers and that they felt management was unresponsive to their complaints,″ Spaniolo said.

During the trial, the women claimed they hired an attorney to represent them only after years of harassment in the composing room were not adequately responded to by management.

In court, the company said some of the women’s complaints were not brought to the management’s attention. The company said it responded to complaints it received.

The composing room is where each day’s pages are made up and prepared for the presses.

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