Posted On: September 30, 2011

Subtle Evidence In Sexual Harassment Cases

Many times there isn't a smoking gun as far as evidence is concerned in a sexual harassment case. The supervisor who is harassing you may not leave an email or text message as evidence. Instead the sexual comments may be said in a private setting without witnesses. So how is one suppose to prove a sexual harassment case in such circumstances? The answer is through subtle evidence of the harassment. For example, if you are a secretary and the boss invites you to a "business" trip so he can sexually harass you that may be utilized as evidence. If you have no real reason to be on the trip, it infers another motive in the supervisors request to have you accompany him on the trip.

Perhaps you have phone records showing the supervisor is calling you after hours at home or late at night. Even though the phone records won't show what was said on the phone, they are a subtle indication that something is amiss. Why does the supervisor have to call you late at night? Is he calling other male workers that late? This type of activity by the supervisor can show sexual harassment and the creation of a hostile work environment. Don't give up hope regarding your case if you have been sexually harassed. A good attorney can find ways to help prove your case.

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Posted On: September 29, 2011

Smile Brands Pays $175,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Smile Brands of Texas, L.P., pays $175,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit which was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), on behalf of Deanna Chaney and Jan Pawelek. According to published accounts both females were subjected to a sexually hostile work environment. The sexual harassment included unwanted sexual comments and sexual touching. The women told the dentist to stop this conduct but it fell on deaf ears. The women then went to management to complain about the sexual harassment but nothing was done to stop it.

Some of the more disturbing aspects of the sexual harassment included the dentist telling unsolicited sexual stories, touching the women's breasts and he even attempted to kiss them. This type of behavior is well over the top and I am glad that the EEOC held them accountable. The money the company paid to settle this case it could have put to more productive use like training people properly.

"This was an outrageous case of sexual harassment in which an educated dental professional was enabled to abuse his power and subject his female employees to ongoing, unwanted, sexually vulgar comments and touches," said EEOC Attorney Devika Seth.

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Posted On: September 28, 2011

Aqua Tri Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $462,000

Aqua Tri settles a sexual harassment lawsuit for $462,500. The lawsuit also alleged retaliation and constructive discharge. The lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a class of hispanic workers. According to published accounts, supervisors subjected at least eight Hispanic female employees to a sexually hostile work environment which included inappropriate touching, pressuring them for dates and sex. This kind of behavior is not acceptable and will cost a company a great deal of money each time.

The female workers reported the sexual harassment to management but nothing was done to stop it. Some of the females were even told if they had sex with the supervisors they could be promoted. Several employees were either laid off or discharged following an Aqua Tri internal investigation in 2009 due to their perceived support of the victims’ claims. It is illegal to take a negative job action against any employee who participates in a discrimination investigation.

“We commend Aqua Tri for implementing aggressive injunctive relief measures to ensure this will not happen again,” said EEOC attorney Anna Park.

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Posted On: September 27, 2011

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit Involving The Doctors Company Settles For $230,000

The Doctors Company ("TDC"), settles sexual harassment lawsuit for $230,000. The sexual harassment lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of a young administrative assistant named Kimber Thompson. Thompson was sexually harassed by her direct supervisor on a daily basis. According to published accounts the sexual harassment included inappropriate comments about her appearance, inappropriate text messages and e-mails.

In a real ironic twist the company provided anti-sexual harassment training and once realizing that she had rights, Thompson then reported this conduct to management. She even brought along a co-worker as a witness to the sexual harassment which included physical touching. As is typical these days with many companies the company began to hyper-scrutinize the work of the two women and subsequently fired both of them. In Illinois this is considered retaliation and is actionable.

EEOC Attorney William R. Tamayo said, “We hope that this case serves as a reminder to employers to address complaints of harassment and take measures to prevent retaliation."

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Posted On: September 26, 2011

Psychology Behind Sexual Harassment

Sexual Harassment has become a major social concern over the last decade. Sexual harassment is never justified and creates a stressful, uncooperative hostile work environment that is not conductive to a profitable, successful business. Why does sexual harassment take place? Where does sexual harassment occur the most? What are the mental side-effects of sexual harassment, how can victims cope and finally, what can be done to stop sexual harassment in its tracks?

Forensic psychology states that sexual harassment occurs in settings where the harasser requires a renewed sense of power and obtains that power through sexual intimidation, persecution, unwanted advances and unsolicited physical contact. Sexual harassment is the behavior of an abuser and sexual predator. Those who are harassed deserve protection and compensation for their emotional stress, loss of work hours, and mental anguish. Sadly, our work environments are the most likely setting for sexual harassment. This form of harassment takes all shapes and does not discriminate on the basis of sex. While it most likely occurs to the female population, men have and can be victims of sexual harassment.

The harasser can take many forms as well: it could be a supervisor, a fellow employe, or even someone outside of the work environment that has temporary contact with the business. Sexual harassment is any kind of unwanted sexual contact. The exchanges do not have to be physical in nature, but can include jokes, sexual conversations, propositions, emails, letters, and/or gestures. Sexual harassment is a severe form of both sexual and psychological bullying. Sadly, educating individuals about sexual harassment, their rights and what exactly constitutes as sexual harassment within the workplace has been laid aside and forgotten. It is the legal duty for employers and companies to inform their employees of their rights within the workplace and the ability to work in an environment liberated of sexual harassment.

The effects of sexual harassment are profound and affect everyone: the abuser, the victim and the business as a whole. The overall affects vary depending on the people involved, and the extent and duration of the abuse. In all occurrences of sexual harassment, however, the changes are life altering. Sexual harassment can carry the same social and personal side effects as rape and/or sexual assault. Another effect that can often be more taxing than the abuse itself is the aftermath of the harassment. Once attention has been drawn to the harassment, work segregation, backlash, bullying, teasing and even termination of employment can occur. The most common effects of sexual harassment include:

• Loss of job
• Loss of income
• Reduction in job performance
• An increase in missing work
• A serious loss of trust
• Stress in relationships outside of the environment where the harassment is occuring
• Being publicly sexualized
• Losing workplace recommendations
• Depression
• Anxiety
• Weight gain or loss
• Nightmares
• Feelings of shame and guilt
• Fatigue
• Loss of self-esteem
• Increased stress leading to higher blood pressure and other medical ailments
• Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

This article was written by Allison Gamble who has been a curious student of psychology since high school. She brings her understanding of the mind to work in the weird world of Internet marketing

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Posted On: September 25, 2011

Sexual Harassment Investigations

Here is a scenario that is all to familiar. An employee reports sexual harassment to management or to human resources and as a result starts to get treated in a hostile manner. What will generally happen is management will let the complaint leak out to the other employees and the employee who reported the sexual harassment will now start to experience a hostile work environment from the other employees. Of course in order to do a proper investigation it may be necessary to give details including the reporting employees name. But in many cases a discreet investigation can take place protecting the identity of the employee who is reporting the sexual harassment.

Another issue that comes up with people who report sexual harassment in the workplace is the person doing the harassing may be friends with other managers or employees. In this instance the other employees or managers start to treat the person reporting sexual harassment in a negative way because they view this as an attack on their friend. When this type of activity occurs it is very important to file a complaint with either the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). I prefer to file with the IDHR because they cross-file with the EEOC so you can get two for one. Additionally, the IDHR is mandated by law to complete their investigation within one-year and the EEOC is not. So for my money, the IDHR is the way to go.

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Posted On: September 24, 2011

Maxim Healthcare Services, Inc. Pays $160,000 To Settle Discrimination Lawsuit

Maxim Healthcare Services, Inc., will pay $160,000 to settle a American's With Disabilities Act ("ADA") lawsuit. The lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") alleged that Maxim failed to provide reasonable accommodations and ultimately discharged Anne Whitledge, director of clinical services, because she had brain cancer. Talk about a cold hearted company. Can you imagine how bad it is to be told you have brain cancer and then have the other shoe drop and have your company fire you. Cold hearted bastards. Ms. Whitledge died before the lawsuit settled so they money will go to her estate. I am so glad the EEOC held the company accountable on this one. The EEOC is vigilant about making sure this type of activity does not take place.

In addition to paying the money Maxim had to undergo discrimination training for employees and send a letter of condolences to the children of Anne Whitledge. I hope people remember this company and what they did. The company should be embarrassed treating an employee this way. It is illegal to treat an employee different because of a disability. This case is one of the more extreme examples of horrible treatment by a company. This type of employment discrimination will cost the company money and bad publicity every time.

“This was a heartbreaking case,” said EEOC Attorney John Hendrickson “Anne Whitledge battled cancer and lost the job she loved because of it."

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Posted On: September 23, 2011

Text Messages and Sexual Harassment

A question that I get often is what should I do with my text messages that are sexual in nature? Many times a supervisor or other worker will start texting with an employee. Sometimes the text messages start innocent but then turn sexual in nature and end up forming the basis of a sexual harassment lawsuit. The text messages as evidence are very important and damning. They show the number called from and the number called and the content of the message speaks for itself. The sexual text messages also create a hostile work environment for you.

So the big question is how do you get the text message off the phone. There are a few easy ways. First you could forward the text as an email and then print it off. Depending on the model phone you could hook the phone up to your computer and download it. You could pull the storage chip out of the phone and insert into a computer and download the messages. You could also forward the message to another phone that has the capabilities listed above. Even text messages that have been deleted may be able to get retrieved using special software. The important thing is to save the text messages because they will become your best evidence in a sexual harassment lawsuit.

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Posted On: September 22, 2011

Request A File From The EEOC In A Sexual Harassment Case

Under the law in Illinois, a party to a lawsuit may request their file from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). In order to get the fle the request must be made in writing and mailed or faxed to the EEOC's Chicago office. The address of the Chicago office is 500 West Madison St, Suite 2000, Chicago IL 60661. The fax number for the EEOC is 312-869-8220. Remember the investigator's file is extremely important and will contain some great information regarding your claim. It is very important that you don't miss this opportunity to get extra information regarding your sexual harassment lawsuit.

There are a few caveats to getting the file. First if you are the Respondent, you only get access to the file after a lawsuit has been filed in Federal court. Second, if you are the Complainant, you can get the file before filing the lawsuit (within 90 days of getting the right to sue letter) or after you file the lawsuit (as long as you include the first page of your federal complaint). This information on only applies to sexual harassment lawsuits but any type of employment discrimination lawsuit that is filed with the EEOC. One last note, you have to pay the copying cost for the file. The file will be copied by Aloha Document Services, located at 60 East Van Buren, Suite 1502, Chicago IL 60606--their number is 312-542-1300.

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Posted On: September 21, 2011

Lowe's Settles Religious Discrimination Lawsuit For $120,000

Lowe’s Home Centers, Inc. pays $120,000 to settle a religious discrimination and retaliation lawsuit. The discrimination lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") after Lowes refused to reasonably accommodate the sincerely held religious belief of an employee. Under the law a company must allow for a reasonable accommodation for religious beliefs that are true and honest.

In this case the worker requested being excused from working on the Christian Sabbath. This doesn't sound like a big deal and the company should have just allowed the man the day off. Instead the company retaliated against him when it scheduled him to work on the Sabbath for 27 out of 28 weeks. Try explaining that one to St. Peter at the gate.

"This settlement ensures that this employee will continue to receive the accommodation he should have been granted to begin with, and that managers and human resource personnel understand heir obligations under the law,” said EEOC Regional Attorney Faye A. Williams.

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Posted On: September 20, 2011

Sexual Harassment Lawsuit From Student Teacher Sexual Relationship

My Chicago office gets many calls from college students regarding sexual relationships with professors are universities. Sometimes the sex is consensual in that the student at the time enters into it with what seems like consent. Sometimes the professor just hounds the student for sex. Or the professor may keep asking the student out for coffee, dinner or may use as a pretext working on a "special project" with the student after class and in private. So is all of this or any of this sexual harassment under the law in Illinois? Yes.

A student can't really consent to a relationship with a professor because of the power and control the professor has over the student. Did they student get a grade of C for poor grades or because the student would not go out with the professor? Many colleges have policies about these types of relationships but do little more than give it lip service. When is the last time you read about a professor being fired for having a sexual relationship with a student? It is very important for the student to seek the legal advice of an attorney as soon as possible to prevent this from happening and to put a stop to it.

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Posted On: September 18, 2011

What Is A Constructive Discharge In Illinois?

My Chicago office gets many calls about what constitutes a constructive discharge. Lets first look at what may lead you to quit your job. Lets say you are the victim of sexual harassment at work and you complain to management. If management does not take action to stop the sexual harassment or if they claim their investigation does not confirm the sexual harassment you are left with two choices. First, keep putting up with the sexual harassment or to quit your job. Generally, the sexual harassment would have to be so bad that no reasonable person in your position would continue working.

Another words, the conditions at work are so bad that you have to quit and this is treated under the law as a firing. It is very important for you to make it clear to management that you are being sexually harassed, that you consider a hostile work environment to be in place and that you want it to stop because it is interfering with your ability to do your job. I recommend doing this in writing so you have proof that you put management on notice. Remember at the end of the day, management will usually try to protect the company and if you only complain verbally, you may have a hard time proving your case.

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Posted On: September 17, 2011

Sexual Harassment Lawsuits In Chicago

I often get asked about what to do if you are the victim of sexual harassment at work? There are several options that are available to you. First you can file with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR"). Second, you can file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). Lastly, if you are in Chicago, you can file with the Chicago Department of Human Rights. I always file with the IDHR because they cross-file with the EEOC so you get a two-for-one. And the IDHR is mandated by law to complete an investigation within one year. It is always in the best interest of the employee to have the case settled sooner rather than later so the IDHR helps with the settlement process because the investigate the complaint quickly.

There are many things to keep in mind that will affect your case. First, don't talk about your case with anyone. Second, don't post things about your case online. Many times people post things on Facebook or Tweet about their case. This is not a good idea and something said online could be used against you in the case. If you are complaining that the sexual harassment created a hostile work environment and then you engage in similar activity online, it will hurt your case. The bottom line is to keep quiet and just talk about your case with your attorney.

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Posted On: September 16, 2011

ABM Industries Pays $180,000 To Settle National Origin Discrimination Lawsuit

ABM Industries settles a national origin discrimination lawsuit for $180,000. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") after a thorough investigation by the agency. According to details which were published, supervisors at the company discriminated against Latino janitors by giving them less preferable assignments despite their seniority. In addtion to that, the supervisors removed them from long favored positions. The workers complained about the discriminatory conduct and ABM engaged in retaliation against the men after they filed with the EEOC.

The company should have kept better controls on its supervisors and should have taken the complaints seriously. Once the EEOC got involved the company had to change its' tune and could no longer sweep this under the rug. It has been my experience that companies like to put off doing anything unless forced to.

“We commend the workers who came to us and filed charges, who recognized a problem in their workplace and were willing to come to the EEOC to seek to remedy it. Their coming forward will result in positive changes in the workplace.” said EEOC attorney Michael Baldonado

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Posted On: September 15, 2011

Allsup's Pays $37,000 To Settle Retaliation Lawsuit

Allsup’s Convenience Stores, Inc. pays a former employee $37,000 to settle a retaliation lawsuit filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). According to published accounts Orvel Pape, a manager-in-training who had worked for the company for almost ten years, was fired because he cooperated with an EEOC investigation of another employee’s charge of disability discrimination. There have been recent cases that protect a employee during an investigation. Another words, if the EEOC conducts an investigation, an employee cannot be fired for cooperating with investigators.

These types of cases illustrate that employers have to treat investigations seriously. They can't just threaten or fire employee who do not play ball with the company. They can't force employees to lie and not be truthful to investigators. I see this type of thing all the time where a company tries to strong arm employees. I am glad the EEOC held the companies feet to the fire on this one.

“Mr. Pape, a dedicated ten-year employee, was asked by Allsup’s to speak with an EEOC Investigator about his co-worker’s allegations of discrimination, and was dealt the ultimate punishment for simply following those instructions,” said EEOC Attorney Meaghan Shepard.

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Posted On: September 14, 2011

Holiday Specialtrees Pays $110,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Holiday Specialtrees pays $110,000 to settle a sexual harassment and national origin discrimination lawsuit. The multi-count lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") after two male workers were targeted because of their national origin. Both men were Mixtec, an indigenous group from Oaxaca, Mexico. When a worker is targeted because his national origin it is a form of discrimination. In this case you can see how much money the company had to pay because of the actions of its' employees.

Published accounts allege a supervisor and other workers would expose themselves to the Mixtec workers while making sexual comments--this is sexual harassment. To make matters even worse several co-workers would grab the men’s buttock and chest area, or grab them from behind and simulate anal sex. Can you imagine going to work every day and having this happen to you? It is incredible that this type of activity actually takes place at work.

“This case highlights the prejudices that a minority-within-a-minority can face,” said EEOC Attorney William R. Tamayo
.

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Posted On: September 12, 2011

Cake Shop Sued For Sexual Harassment

ABC Cake Shop & Bakery is being sued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") for sexual harassment. The sexual harassment took place at work and involved a large group of female workers including teenagers. According to published accounts one of the owners would make sexual comments and engaged in unwelcome touching which created a hostile work environment for the female workers.

Some of the women who could not tolerate the sexual harassment were forced to quit their jobs which is commonly referred to as a constructive discharge. I will be following this case and I believe the women will receive a nice settlement as a result of what took place. It is very tough on employees when the person doing the harassment is the owner. Who do you report that to? The answer is you file a complaint with the EEOC or other state agency and proceed that way. In Illinois you can file with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR"). The IDHR does a better job of quickly investigating complaints of discrimination.

"Employers of all sizes have an important responsibility to maintain a workplace that is free of sexual harassment.” said EEOC attorney Elizabeth Cadle

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Posted On: September 10, 2011

Grays Harbor Community Hospital Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $125,000

Grays Harbor Community Hospital pays $125,000 to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of four pharmacy technicians. According to published accounts regarding the lawsuit a supervising pharmacist was sexually harassing the technicians.
The sexual harassment consisted of offensive sexual comments which included details of his own sex life. If that wasn't bad enough he even provide details of how he masturbated.

This guy sounds like a real creep. He would even grab the females and make them feel very uncomfortable. You can see how much money and the bad publicity it costs a company when they fail to properly supervise an employee. Not only the money but think of the impact this had on the females. I am glad the EEOC stuck with this case and made the company pay.

“Employers have a duty to promptly and effectively respond to complaints of sexual harassment. When employers fail to take such reports seriously, the EEOC will take action to make sure women are not treated this way in the workplace,” said EEOC attorney Michael Baldonado

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Posted On: September 9, 2011

Arizona Logistics Pays $175,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Arizona Logistics, Inc. will pay $175,000 to five former employees to settle a sexual harassment lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the former employees by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The EEOC is one of the places you can file a sexual harassment lawsuit. The other place in Illinois is the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR").

According to published accounts former Regional Director Mark Berault sexually harassed the five former employees. What is even worse, Berault sexually assaulted several of the women. That is incredible that this was taking place during business hours. Berault also engaged in unwelcome touching and indecent exposure. Of course this also created a hostile work environment for every employee. Glad the company had to pay and hope it smartens up and institutes some good sexual harassment policies in the future.

“This was an outrageous case of sexual harassment involving a supervisor who preyed upon vulnerable female employees, subjecting them to some of the most extreme forms of sexual harassment,” said EEOC Attorney Mary J. O’Neill.

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Posted On: September 7, 2011

East Georgia College Pays $50,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment Involving A Professor

East Georgia College ("EGC") will pay $50,000 to Professor Thomas Thibeault after firing Thibeault. The reason he was fired was for criticizing the school’s sexual harassment policy. Talk about an assault on the First Amendment? Has this school ever read the U.S. Constitution? There are many instances of students and professors having sexual relationships. This puts a real burden on the schools to make sure they have a good policy in place that addresses this sad fact.

Usually the student is the one getting money from a school for sexual harassment but in this case it is the professor. All people have rights and this shows that sexual harassment at university's is a very touchy issue. The professor has a right to inquire into how the new sexual harassment policy would affect him. It is important for schools to have a balance between protecting the students and protecting the staff. School sexual harassment is on the rise and most colleges are realizing this.

"East Georgia College fired Professor Thibeault and had the police take him away, then changed its story, dropped that case for lack of evidence, reprimanded him for unspecified ‘offensive’ speech, and got rid of him," FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said

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Posted On: September 6, 2011

Hostile Work Environment Can't Be Based on General Harassment

I get many calls at my Chicago office about general harassment type questions. The boss yells at everyone or the boss is always slamming things around the office. In short, people call and say the boss is just an ass. The problem in Illinois is there is no general harassment law. People think that if the boss acts this way it is the basis of a hostile work environment. In Illinois it is not. In order to have a hostile work environment you need a basis of discrimination. For example, the boss is yelling at me because I am female--gender discrimination, or the boss is yelling at me because I am black--racial discrimination. If the boss is just a jerk, there is no case. Your only option at that point is to quit. The legislature tried to pass a law that would have covered this type of behavior but it failed.

What I suggest you do is evaluate whether or not there is some other reason why the boss is always yelling at you or throwing things. Is it because you are female? Are you the only person in your office that this is happening to ? So even though it may seem like he is just being a jerk, perhaps he is really discriminating against you based on a protected category. It is free to call my office and discuss the issue so why not ? You should work hard to protect your rights and not let the boss get away with this type of behavior.

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Posted On: September 5, 2011

Sexual Harassment and College Professors

Well it's time for college students to head back to school. This could present problems for both students and the college. There are more cases of sexual harassment directed against Universities than most people think. The reason for this is that many college professors have sex with their students. You would think the colleges and universities would have strict policies against this type of behavior, but they only seem to give it lip service. There are many college professors that get caught having sex with students and they are still allowed to teach. It is amazing that this practice continues, but it does. When a college professor has sex with a student it could create a hostile work environment for all students if the students are involved with a work type program.

My Chicago office is constantly getting calls from students who had sex with their college professor. Many times the relationship is deemed consensual by the university administration but how can you have a truly consensual relationship with the teacher/student dynamic? I alway file a complaint with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") instead of with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). The reason for this is that the IDHR cross-files with the EEOC and the IDHR is mandated by law for complete an investigation within one-year. Also, the IDHR seems to do a better job at conducting a timely investigation.

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Posted On: September 4, 2011

Otsego Township Pays $60,000 To Settle Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Otsego Township settled a sexual harassment lawsuit for $60,000. The sexual harassment lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Stephanie Britton a township grounds keeper. Britton not only was able to get $60,000 but she also got her job back. She had been fired by the Township and the firing was part of her complaint.

Britton alleged Otsego Township originally hired her as a groundskeeper and claimed her supervisor would make sexual comments directed at her. She said he would begin talking about a woman he knew with large breasts. She also alleged he would ask about the sex life of her and her husband and make other inappropriate comments. You can see how much money and time this lawsuit cost the Township and at the end of the day they had to give her the job back. It would have made more sense if they didn't fire her to begin with and just would have investigated her claim in a serious fashion.

”I would have liked to have worked for the township for five years or more,” Britton said.

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Posted On: September 3, 2011

AA Enterprises, Inc. Settles Retaliation Lawsuit For $80,000

AA Enterprises, Inc. pays $80,000 to settle a pregnancy discrimination and retaliation lawsuit. The discrimination lawsuit was first filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of four female employees. According to published accounts regarding the lawsuit, AA required the four females, who were pregnant to pay for their own medical expenses-while other non-pregnant employees did not have to.

In an even more troubling revelation, the pregnant women were threatened with a negative job action in the form of termination if they did not agree to pay for their own medical expenses. Two of the pregnant women ended up being fired after filing a complaint with the EEOC. This type of behavior is illegal and will get a company in trouble every time. In short, a female cannot be treated different just because she is pregnant.

“Pregnancy discrimination is a continuing problem in the CNMI,” said EEOC attorney Anna Y. Park.

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Posted On: September 2, 2011

Sexual Orientation and a Hostile Work Environment

There is no general harassment law in Illinois. This means if you are just being treated badly by the boss--too bad. However, if you are being treated in a discriminatory way that is a different story. So for example if the boss is treating you terrible and also calling you gay and making anti-homosexual comments that would form the basis for a sexual orientation discrimination claim. The claim could be filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). I prefer to file with the IDHR because the are mandated to investigate within one year and they are required to cross-file with the EEOC.

Along with the person being discriminated against, other employees may also be in a hostile work environment as a result of what is taking place. The reason for this is when conduct is taking place that is discriminatory it affects all employees. Also, if there is an investigation, other employees can get dragged into it and then have negative job actions taken against them for cooperating during the investigation. Even though we are at a point in time where the state of Illinois allows for civil unions between same sex couples, there is still a great deal of discrimination based on sexual orientation.

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Posted On: September 1, 2011

Applebee's Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit For $1 Million

Food Management Investors, Inc. (FMI) and Apple Core Enterprises, Inc., doing business as Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar will pay $1 Million to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") after former store manager Mike Cordova engaged in behavior that was discriminatory. According to published accounts Cordova would grope females on a daily basis in a sexual fashion. Even more troubling is that Cordova would seek sexual relations from the females he was supervising which would put them in a very tough position. This type of sexual harassment is called a quid quo pro, meaning this for that.

Cordova even exposed himself to a female. It is hard to imagine this guy did any real work for the company. This type of behavior is really out of hand and you can see by the settlement amount that the company realized it as well. I mean paying this large amount should tell everyone what was really going on in this place. The employees would constantly complain to management about what was taking place and the company did not care. It wasn't until five women who worked here filed a sexual harassment complaint that something was finally done to stop it.

“This manager’s sexual harassment of his subordinates was blatant and ugly, and it permeated every aspect of life on the job for these women." said John Hendrickson, Chicago EEOC attorney.

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