Concord $400k given in sex discrimination case

A jury in federal court awarded $400,000 to a Londonderry woman on Monday, finding that the drywall installation company where she worked allowed a hostile working environment and discriminated against her as a woman.

Nicole L’Etoile, of Londonderry, had sued New England Finish Systems, Inc. of Salem, in 2006, charging the company with gender discrimination in violation of federal law.

L’Etoile worked as a drywall finisher for the company from January 2002 through April 2004, her lawyers, Heather Burns and Beth Deragon, of Concord, announced Monday. Her suit charged that supervisors and co-workers repeatedly belittled her, and made hostile comments about her gender.

After a nine-day trial, a jury in U.S. District Court awarded L’Etoile $200,000 in compensation and another $200,000 in punitive damages, court records show. The jury did not find that the company was discriminating when L’Etoile was laid off, however, and declined to award damages for lost wages, according to court records.