$665K Sexual Harassment Settlement

On May 12, 2014, the Belleville News-Democrat reported that five employees of the former St. Clair County Clerk were paid a combined settlement of $665,000 by the County in connection with alleged claims of sexual harassment.  The employees had reportedly filed alleged charges of sex discrimination with the Illinois Department of Human Rights under Title VII and the Illinois Human Rights Act.  The allegations of sexual harassment, which included inappropriate physical touching and sexual comments, were investigated by the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  Sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that is unlawful under Title VII and the Illinois Human Rights Act. 

Hostile work environment, which is one type of sexual harassment claim, may be based upon sexually offensive conduct in the workplace, such as lewd remarks, inappropriate physical touching, and unwelcome sexual advances.  Employers should have a sexual harassment policy in place with specific procedures for reporting, investigating, and resolving complaints of sexual harassment.  Employees who believe that they have been sexually harassed should report the sexual harassment to the employer under its sexual harassment policy.