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Posted On: January 13, 2009 by Peter M. LaSorsa

Illinois Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Filed by School Principal

A sexual harassment lawsuit by former Robert Frost School Principal Deborah Nuzzi was dismissed by a federal judge in Illinois but Nuzzi plans to file an appeal that would keep her sexual harassment lawsuit against Bourbonnais Elementary School District 53 alive. Nuzzi claims school board member Rob Rodewald sexually harassed her and, after she complained of the sexual harassment, the school district retaliated against her.

Illinois U.S. District Court Judge Michael P. McCuskey said the sexual harassment allegations nearly violated court rules, "border on the sanctionable" and declared the retaliation claim "entirely without merit." The lawsuit alleges Rodewald touched Nuzzi on the shoulder on one occasion, then followed her into a hallway to ask "Deb, how are we doing, you and me? Are we OK?

The lawsuit also alleges a violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in that the school district paid Nuzzi a lower salary than they paid her male counterparts. Nuzzi contends she was damaged in that she suffered humilation, stress, embarassment and lost wages among other forms of compensatory damages.

Nuzzi also claims retaliation for reporting the discrimination and for filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). Under federal law (Title VII), retaliation occurs when an employee is fired or has his/her terms and conditions of work changed as a result of making a formal complaint of discrimination. Title VII also protects those individuals who testify, assist or participate in an investigation of illegal activity or those who oppose unlawful employment practices.

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