Illinois Church Ordered To Pay $63,045 In Sexual Harassment Case
Cheryl Lockard is awarded $63,045 in her sexual harassment and retaliation case against the Rev. Keith Jones and the First Baptist Church of Canton Illinois. The Illinois Human Rights Commission declined further review of a matter in which administrative law judge Michael Robinson ruled in favor of Lockard and issued the award. Lockard is a former employee of the church and claims she was sexually harassed by Jones and once she reported the sexual harassment the church engaged in retaliation and fired her.
The church appealled the decision by Judge Robinson with the Illinois Human Rights Commission and the Commission upheld Judge Robinson's order. Along with paying Lockard $63,045 the Church and Jones must also pay her attorney fees, issue a neutral job reference letter and clear her work record. It is unusual to file an appeal with the Illinois Human Rights Commission because of the cost involved (in legal fees) and the narrow avenue for having the Judge's ruling overturned.
Before a case ever gets in front of an Administrative Law Judge, a person must first file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR"). The IDHR then has one year to conduct an investigation into the complaint and either issue a substantial evidence determination or recommendation for dismissal for lack of substantial evidence. A party may file for trial in front of the Adminstrative Law Judge after getting a substantial evidence ruling or if the IDHR doesn't finish its' investigation within a year.