Robert De Niro's company ordered to pay $1.2m to former assistant after losing civil case

Robert De Niro's production company has been ordered to pay his former assistant Graham Chase Robinson US$1.26m after a civil court case over a workplace dispute.

It had been claimed De Niro had abused and discriminated against his longtime personal assistant and that Robinson misused funds from the actor's company, Canal Productions, and stole office property including millions of frequent-flier miles.

The case wrapped up on Thursday (US time), and while a jury found the actor was not personally liable, his company Canal Productions was found liable for gender discrimination and retaliation.

"We are delighted that the jury saw what we saw and returned a verdict in Chase Robinson's favour against Robert De Niro’s company, Canal Productions," a statement from Robinson's legal team said.

"Not only did Ms. Robinson win her case against Canal, but the jury completely vindicated Ms. Robinson by finding De Niro's claims against her to be without merit."

Canal Productions filed a US$6m lawsuit against Robinson in 2019, alleging she excessively binge-watched Netflix shows while working, charged personal meals and groceries to the company account and used "her employer's fund for her personal gain".

Robinson filed a US$12m counter-lawsuit alleging De Niro and Canal Productions had violated New York City Human Rights Law, had directed sexist comments at her, and paid her less than a male employee.

Last week, De Niro became emotional during the testimony, shouting: "Shame on you Chase Robinson" and demanding: "Give me a break with this stuff!" over claims Robinson made about an incident where she said she had been forced to scratch De Niro's back because it was itching.

Robinson quit working for the Goodfellas actor in 2019 after an 11-year business relationship.