ROCKVILLE, Md. (Mar. 13, 2015) — A Maryland jury awarded $830,000 to Vincent Balderrama, a former Marine Corps pilot of Mexican ancestry who was terminated from his sales job at defense giant Lockheed Martin Corp. after contesting a performance review he saw as discriminatory.
Mr. Balderrama’s supervisor had rated him among the bottom 10 percent of Lockheed Martin employees for 2012, even though he closed Lockheed’s only sale of helicopters to a foreign client during that year — an achievement that was touted in Lockheed’s annual report.
The Employment Law Group® law firm represented Mr. Balderrama in the case. At trial, jurors heard of a series of actions taken against Mr. Balderrama that were not taken against non-Hispanic peers with worse sales records, culminating in his termination as part of November 2013 layoffs by Lockheed, which is based in Bethesda, Md.
A recurring theme in the trial was the non-responsiveness of Lockheed’s human resources department, to which Mr. Balderrama had repeatedly appealed for help.
“This verdict is a complete vindication for Vince,” said Adam Augustine Carter, a principal of The Employment Law Group and Mr. Balderrama’s lead attorney. “And it is a massive indictment of Lockheed’s flawed HR system, which failed him utterly. One of Lockheed’s slogans is ‘We’re Engineering a Better Tomorrow.’ If that’s the case, their own HR department would be a very good place to start.”
The jury’s award to Mr. Balderrama, a resident of Annapolis, Md., was compensation for the economic damage caused by Lockheed’s unlawful retaliation. If litigation costs also are awarded — which will be decided separately — it restores to Mr. Balderrama everything he lost, Mr. Carter said.
“I am glad that the jury determined that I was in the right, and gave me justice,” said Mr. Balderrama, who worked out of Lockheed’s facility in Crystal City, Va. “I would encourage anyone who has been harmed by their employers to speak out, and get them to do the right thing. I want to thank Adam, Scott Oswald, James Crosland, and everyone at The Employment Law Group for believing in me and in the strength of my case.”
The case is Balderrama v. Lockheed Martin Corp., Civil Action No. 390843V, in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County, Maryland.