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Will County Public Defender’s Office Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

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Will County Public Defender’s Office Settles Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

The Will County Public Defender’s Office recently settled a sexual harassment lawsuit with a pair of employees alleging they were subject to inappropriate comments and passed over for promotions after bringing the allegations to light. One plaintiff also alleged she was harassed and discriminated against due to her pregnancy.

The case began in 2014 when the plaintiffs first filed suit seeking damages for the harassment and discrimination. Furthermore, the women allege they were retaliated against after cooperating with an investigation into the head of the Public Defender’s Office.

Retaliation included harsh treatment, derogatory comments, and eventual transfer to River Valley Juvenile Justice Center. The plaintiffs claim the transfer was understood by many in the Public Defender’s Office as a form of punishment that presented little opportunity for career advancement within the organization.

Parties agree to hundreds of thousands in compensation

Under the terms of the settlement, the Will County Public Defender’s Office agreed to pay $300,000 to the two plaintiffs. About one-third of that will also go towards attorney’s fees accrued during the two-year legal battle.

Additionally, the two plaintiffs agreed to retire from the office and to never again seek employment with Will County due to irreconcilable differences with the local government. Neither of the parties must admit fault and must further agree not to publically discuss the case.

Public defender resigns amid sexual harassment allegations

In January 2016, the head of the Public Defender’s Office resigned amid the sexual harassment and retaliation allegations, in which he was personally named. Will County judges had previously suggested the defendant’s days as head of the office might be numbered due to the torrent of criticism and previous investigations against him.

The defendant began working in the Will County Public Defender’s Office in 2006 and was named public defender in 2008.

Chicago sexual harassment lawyers

If you were the victim of workplace sexual harassment, you may be able file civil lawsuits and report claims to state employment authorities. In these situations, plaintiffs should strongly consider retaining an experienced Chicago sexual harassment lawyer to ensure their claim is properly prosecuted and taken seriously.

Contact our office online or call 312.332.6733 for a consultation about your case. With over 25 years of experience, the Chicago employment attorneys of Goldman & Ehrlich understand what it takes to get clients the justice they deserve.

Illinois Workers Receive Multi-million Dollar Award for Defamation by Employer

A federal jury recently awarded four former employees of Allstate Insurance $27.1 million in a defamation and wrongful termination suit against their employer. The award constitutes the largest verdict ever handed down in an employment defamation lawsuit in Illinois history. Previously, the largest defamation award in Illinois was $18.6 million in a 2003 federal lawsuit.

The plaintiffs worked in the equity division based at Allstate’s corporate headquarters in Northbrook, Illinois. Responsibilities of the division included managing equity portfolios for Allstate’s pension plans and casualty and property insurance businesses.

The four plaintiffs in the case were accused by Allstate in a 2010 memo sent to over 350 employees of violating the company’s conflict-of-interest policy by timing trades in order to inflate their bonuses. According to the plaintiffs, their trading policies followed a practice set by high-ranking company executives within the company.

Furthermore, Allstate reported the alleged violations to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which had severe repercussions on the plaintiffs’ careers. According to the suit, the plaintiffs have been out of work for six years. Because Allstate claimed to have fired the plaintiffs with cause, it meant they were ineligible for severance pay, making the verdict all the more significant for them.

Defendants accused of violating Fair Credit Reporting Act

The crux of the suit was based on Allstate’s annual 10-k filing with the SEC in which it disclosed the internal company investigation into the alleged ethics violations and trading improprieties. What landed Allstate into legal trouble was the plaintiff’s’ assertion the memo and 10-k filing constituted defamation and was a violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act because the documents were filed without copies of the investigation being made available to the plaintiffs.

Each of the plaintiffs was awarded $1,000 in damages under the Fair Credit Reporting Act in addition to millions in compensatory and punitive damages for the defamation allegations. Allstate closed its equity division in 2010 and outsourced the duties to Goldman Sachs.

Chicago employment attorneys

If you believe you were wrongfully terminated or retaliated against, contact us online or call 312.332.6733 a consultation about your case. State and federal employment laws give employees protections against wrongful termination and retaliation and give them legal avenues to recover for damages. With over 25 years of experience, the Chicago employment attorneys of Goldman & Ehrlich understand what it takes to get clients the justice they deserve. 

Chicago Judge Hands Down Important Ruling on Health Care Benefits

A Cook County judge recently handed down an important ruling on healthcare benefits for civil employees, particularly for those public employees hired after August 23, 1989. According to the ruling, only employees hired before the aforementioned date enjoy a state constitutional protection of their health care subsidy.

The ruling is a mixed result for past and present city and county employees. While approximately 20,000 hired before August 1989 have their healthcare benefits set in stone, many others must turn to another source to fulfill their insurance needs.

However, the court failed to rule on what exactly the benefits the pre-1989 county employees are entitled to, likely setting up another major legal battle. For now, both sides walk away from the case with partial victories, but the fight will more than likely end up before the Illinois Supreme Court as both parties seek redress for the issues in the case.

Chicago slashes city employee benefits as city grapples with soaring costs

The case began in 2013 when mayor Rahm Emanuel began to do away with certain city employee retirement benefits in an effort to curtail the $100 million annual price tag for such services. In response, the group of plaintiffs in this case filed suit challenging the constitutionality of the mayor to do so.

The claim argued city employee retirement benefits are protected by the pension clause in the Illinois state constitution. The judge hearing the case ruled pensioners hired before August 1989 comprise the only class protected because of the state laws on the books at the time.

Employees hired after August 23, 1989 do not enjoy constitutional protection of their retirement benefits because the laws cited were subsequently done away with after that time. Despite the ruling, both sides look poised to press on in an attempt to make as much ground as possible.

Chicago employment lawyers

If you are a state, local, or federal employee and feel like your rights have been violated, contact us online or call 312-332-6733 for a consultation about your case. The experienced Chicago employment lawyers of Goldman & Ehrlich have an intimate knowledge of the laws necessary to bring successful resolutions to these types of cases and can help you get the justice you deserve.

Our office serves clients in Chicago, Cook County, Lake County, DuPage County, Will County, Kane County, and McHenry County.