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.
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.
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.
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.