Henry County Animal Control Department Sued For Sexual Harassment
The Department of Justice filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois against Henry County, Ill., alleging that former employee Michelle Baze was sexually harassed by her supervisor Jack Anderson, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The complaint alleges that Baze's former supervisor in the Henry County Animal Control Department subjected her to sexual harassment, including unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature and inappropriate sexual comments, during the course of her employment as a secretary. Baze further alleges that Henry County had been aware that the same supervisor had sexually harassed Baze's predecessor, but failed to take action to prevent him from harassing Baze.
Title VII prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin or religion. Baze alleges the creation of a hostile work environment as a result of the harassment.
"Title VII ensures that women can participate in the workplace free of harassment based on sex,"said Loretta King, Acting Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division. "The Department of Justice will actively pursue cases against employers who fail to take adequate steps to prevent and correct sexual harassment."
According to the lawsuit Baze began working in August 2004. The lawsuit alleges Baze was pregnant in 2006 and Anderson began to make unwelcome sexual comments about her breasts. The sexual harassment intensified when Baze returned from materity leave and included touching and grabbing daily. Anderson was terminated after an internal investigation.