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Sexual Harassment Client Wins $50,000 for Emotional Distress After A Hearing Lasting 3 days

(Illinois Human Rights Commission  November  2011)

Our client filed a charge and complaint of discrimination and sexual harassment against the respondent in this case who employed her for several years.  She claimed that she was harassed by her managing agent who was employed in a supervisory capacity. She testified to at least 16 separate instances of sexual harassment by her managing agent during her employment.  Such conduct included asking if she wanted to see his private part and then pulling it out for her to see; stating that her tit---s looked good; asking if she was ready to sleep with him; and engaging in various conversations about viagra and penis pumps.  He also rubbed her shoulders from behind her and asked if he could kiss her, claiming that he has soft lips. After objecting to this conduct to no avail, our client along with other coworkers, complained to upper management about the harassing conduct. The managing agent was terminated shortly thereafter.

After a hearing and testimony that lasted approximately 3 days from several witnesses, the presiding Honorable Administrative Law Judge found evidence established that our client was sexually harassed.  The judge found the testimony of our client to be credible and the respondent was liable for the harassment because the  harasser was in a supervisory role when he perpetrated those acts.  The judge further ruled that the harassment resulted in mental anguish for our client.  In awarding her $50,000 in mental anguish damages, the judge cited evidence that she missed work, did not sleep well, stopped eating and felt just depressed.  Furthermore, the harassment caused her to feel tired, hurt and ignored, justifying an award of compensatory damages. The judge has since permitted our client to submit her lawyers fees and costs to the Commission to determine how much of those fees and expenses that respondent will pay.

Client Terminated for Supporting A Co-Worker’s Case Wins Summary Judgment Motion

United States District Court, Northern Illinois District, Eastern Division (March 2011)

Our client filed a lawsuit of sexual harassment and retaliation against her former employer in federal district court in Chicago. She had been fired after reporting sexual harassment by a male coworker pulled an object resembling a male's private part from his crotch area and dragged it across her left cheek and lips. She complained to several members of management who did nothing. During one of her complaints, the supervisor laughed, walked away and did nothing. Within about three days after her complaints, she was accused of having been rude to her sexual harasser's cousin. The coworker who harassed her then obtained statements from other employees who claimed that they observed her being rude to her harasser's cousin. The harasser then presented the statements and discussed the issue with his boss who directed him to fire our client. She was then terminated for having been rude to the cousin of the coworker that sexually harassed her.

The employer filed a motion for summary judgment, asking the court to dismiss our client's case. The employer claimed that the actions by the alleged harasser were not sufficiently significant to constitute sexual harassment. They also argued that our client was properly terminated for creating a hostile work environment for her harasser's cousin. We filed our response asking that the judge sustain the case. We argued that rubbing a fake male private part across a female employee's face is sufficiently significant to amount to sexual harassment under the law. We also argued that the real reason for her termination was her many complaints about sexual harassment. Furthermore, the individual who harassed her was the key figure in obtaining witness statements and presenting them to manager who directed that our client be terminated. His motive for trying to get our client fired, we claimed, was due to the fact that our client complained about his harassing conduct.

The presiding Honorable Judge rejected the employer's arguments, agreed with us and denied the employer's motion in its entirely, awarding our client a victory and a jury trial in her case. A jury trial is set to occur in federal court on December 2011.

Sex Harassment Retaliation Client Fired for Supporting Coworker Defeats Summary Judgment

United States District Court, Illinois Northern District Eastern Division (March 2011)

Our client filed a retaliation lawsuit against her former employer in federal court. She had been fired by her employer after testifying in a lawsuit by another female worker. That employee claimed that she was sexual harassed and retaliated on the job. Our client was named as a witness in that lawsuit and was required to testify because she had also been sexually harassed by the same supervisor.

At her deposition, she testified that she too was sexually harassed by the same supervisor. Within three days of her testimony, she was fired. She then sued for retaliation, claiming that she was terminated because of her testimony. After discovery, the employer filed a motion for summary judgment asking the court to dismiss her case. The employer claimed that she was fired for bringing a provocative birthday party invitation into the workplace. Attorney Scott Fanning prepared and filed our law firm's response to that motion. We argued that the employer lied about the reason for the firing because her supervisor had already decided to fire her before even seeing the invitation. We argued that the true reason for her firing was because of testimony that she was also sexually harassed.

The supervisor that fired her had testified that he learned of the birthday party invitation on July 31, 2008 and immediately met with her to fire her. However, both of them worked the second shift on that day. We presented evidence to the court that showed that our client's termination papers had been faxed on the 31st at 11:29am - before the second shift started. Defendant had apparently not looked at the date and time stamp on their own faxed papers before settling on their story about her firing. Based on this evidence, she could not have been fired for the invitation because her termination papers were faxed even before the supervisor saw the invitation that he claimed led to the firing.

In handing a decisive victory to our client on this motion, the Judge concluded that our client "has provided sufficient evidence that [Defendant] is lying about why he fired her." Defendant's arguments were rejected and its motion denied in its entirety.

Sexual Harassment Assault Client Wins Summary Judgment and Legal Fees

United States District Court Illinois Northern District, Eastern Division December 2010

December 2010-The firm received an order from the Honorable Judge granting our client victory on summary judgment on her assault and battery claims in federal district court. Our client sued an employer in the restaurant industry and others in the U.S. District Court for assault and sexual harassment. During his deposition, the corporate general manager, who is also a Defendant, admitted that he kissed our client and made certain other sexual comments directed at her. He claimed however, that the kiss and sexually charged comments were made in a benign context. Based on these admissions, our law firm brought a motion for summary judgment, arguing that judgment should be entered against the defendant for the assault and battery. We argued that the judge should rule on it without a trial because Defendant's liability was clear cut on the assault and battery claims. The Honorable Judge agreed.

In his order, he ruled that the corporate general manager's admitted conduct amounts to assault and battery against our client. The Court then went on to enter judgment on against the Defendant, entitling our client to damages at a later hearing. The court also awarded her legal fees for defendant's counsel's failure to respond to requests to admit in a timely manner. The sexual harassment case will be set for trial at a later date.

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