Our Successes

Class Action Clients’ Motion for Class Certification Granted

September 30, 2015

Our law firm recently had a major success that allows us to continue representing hundreds of employees against their former and current employer. We were granted the motion for class certification for a group of employees employed at a staffing firm who were denied wages for all hours worked, including overtime wages, from February 2009 through December 2013.

Defendant has been purposefully and willfully utilizing an electronic timekeeping system in such a manner to systemically round the class members’ work hours in order to avoid paying them their entitled wages under Illinois law. The rounding up of the beginning of the shift and rounding down of the end of the shift resulted in significant savings for Defendant while reducing payment owed to employees.

A class certification is the most important step in a class suit. If the motion for class certification is not granted, the case is dismissed. However, if the motion is certified, the case can move on to pre-trial procedures.


Racial Harassment Client Wins Appeal in Federal Court

July 24, 2013, Lambert v. Peri Formworks Systems, Inc.

Our law firm won a major court victory for our client in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Our client filed a racial and sexual harassment lawsuit against his employer after being subjected to sexually and racially offensive comments from co-workers and supervisors.

The Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment and argued that our client’s case should be dismissed because the employer’s sexual harassment policy instructed employees to report harassment to either the CEO or the human resources manager, and our client reported it to his immediate supervisor instead. The Defendant claimed that because our client did not follow their policy, his claims should be barred. The Defendant also argued that the harassment our client experienced was not severe enough to be considered racial harassment because the comments were not physically threatening and because the supervisor who made the comments said that he called everyone a “donkey” and “gorilla,” not just one group of people. The District Court agreed with the Defendant and granted their motion; however, Attorney Scott Fanning appealed the decision.

On appeal, the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the District Court’s decision in our client’s favor. The Court of Appeals said the District Court made a mistake because even though our client’s supervisor was not listed in the employee handbook, the Court said it was not unreasonable for our client to expect his supervisor to refer his complaint to someone in the company who could address the problem. The Court also said that the District Court was wrong in determining that the harassment was not severe enough because even though the harasser claimed that he called everyone a “donkey,” a jury might not believe his explanation. The successful appeal means that the District Court’s decision is reversed and our client will be able to continue his lawsuit and prepare for trial. [Read the entire decision]

Sexual Harassment Client Wins $102,641 in Emotional Distress Damages in Addition to Attorney’s Fees and Expenses

 Illinois Human Rights Commission (January 2012)

Our client filed a charge and complaint of sexual harassment against a Financial Corporation. She claimed that she was subjected to sexual harassment at the hands of the president and owner of her employer. Our client claims that the harasser used his position, isolation, alcohol, force and intimidation to trap her in a chair and attempt to forcefully kiss her several times against her will. She also claims that he licked her face and neck while holding her down as she pleaded to let her go. She further claims that he threatened her by saying he can do what he wants and no one would find out because he is bigger than her. Throughout her employment, he commented on women's breasts and legs, discussed sexual intercourse, and used terms such as "cu--," "b----," and "wh---" on a daily basis in our client's presence. Due to the inappropriate and intimidating conduct, our client did not return to her job.

The presiding Honorable Judge found evidence that 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. The judge further ruled that the harassment resulted in mental anguish for our client. In awarding her $95,000 in mental anguish damages, the judge cited evidence that she felt scared, ashamed, embarrassed, and worthless and had nightmares for a few months after the incident. The judge also ruled that Respondent must pay our client her attorney's fees and expenses, amounting to $7,641.

Sexual Harassment Client Defeats Summary Judgment Motion By County Sheriff’s Department

United States District Court, Northern Illinois District, Eastern Div. (January 2012)

Our client filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against a County Sheriff and some male correctional officers alleging a pattern of sexual harassment and intimidation of female correctional officers. She claims that she was subjected to sexual advances, conduct amounting to hazing, requests for sexual favors, comments derogatory to women and pornographic screen savers depicting a males private part as well as pictures of naked women in the workplace. She further claimed that officers maintain a so called "Book of Shame" containing inmate booking photos, arrested correctional officers, with offensive and derogatory captions such as "I give good blow jobs" written on them. She also claims that she was on the receiving end of endless sexual jokes, innuendos and derogatory nicknames such as "swamp donkey" "swamp bucket" and others. This pervasive conduct created a hostile and intimidating working environment for her and other female employees. When, she complained, the Sheriff's office failed to take effective corrective action against her tormentors.

After the close of discovery and depositions, all of the Defendants moved for summary against on all f her claims, arguing that her case is insufficient to warrant a jury trial. Attorney Scott Fanning from our office submitted a response disputing Defendants's assertions and outlined significant quantities of evidence of a pattern of sexual harassment, intimidation and derogatory treatment of our client as well as other female officers, some of whom had previously filed lawsuits of sexual harassment. After reviewing the voluminous submissions from both sides, the Honorable Judge denied Defendants' motion in part and sustained Plaintiff's case against the Sheriff and another Officer. In doing so, the Court stated that Plaintiff had provided sufficient evidence whether "the atmosphere at the ADF was permeated with incessant unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other physical conduct of a sexual nature. A reasonable jury could conclude, viewing a totality of the circumstances, that the conduct under scrutiny was pervasive and corrosive enough to meet the standard of liability". With this ruling sustaining the case, the Court has now ordered that the parties exchange information regarding expert witnesses in preparation for a jury trial. A jury trial date is expected to be set later this year.

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.
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