Posted On: May 9, 2009 by Peter M. LaSorsa

Jury Rejects Sexual Harassment Claim By Illinois Worker

A federal jury in Chicago rejected a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Carlos Estes against Teyonda Wertz, chief of staff of the state Human Services Department. The Illinois Department of Human Services was also named in the lawsuit. Attorneys portrayed Estes as a hero, a rare man with the guts to claim his female boss sexually harassed him. Estes reported the sexual harassment and was fired three weeks later. He calls that retaliation. But the state blamed it on repeated misuse of a government car.

"Sexual harassment does happen to men and it's important for men to speak out, no matter how difficult it is," said attorney Dana Kurtz.

Bill Anderson, attorney for the Illinois Department of Human Services, said, "This case is about a woman who had a scandalous and scurrilous accusation made against her and had to live with it for five years." Estes charged that Wertz insisted the two share a room at a Springfield hotel during a 2003 business trip, that Wertz changed into silk pajamas and then demanded sex from Estes. He refused. However, Estes admits he stayed in the room, and slept on the sofa. The jury did not buy Estes argument and rejected his claims.

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