People should be aware of how long a sexual harassment case can take if filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC“). Take this recent case. International Profit Associates (“IPA”), a Buffalo Grove-based business consulting firm, had a sexual harassment case filed by the EEOC against it on behalf of more than 100 plaintiffs eight years ago. Not only hasn’t the case settled, but it has yet to go to trial. According to documents filed in court sexual harassment was rampant at IPA. Women employed there claim they were groped, called names and solicited for sex constantly and those who refused or complained were punished.
There are reasons why sexual harassment cases like this can take so long. Defendants and their attorneys can gain an advantage by making the process drag out. People get tired of litigation and may be more likely to settle for less. Other people involved in the case can’t recall details and when the case does go to trial, their memories may not be as clear as to facts and conflicts in testimony may occur. I recommend keeping a diary to refresh your memory and to write details you may otherwise forget.
“I think that’s fair to say it is unusual,” said Diane Smason, one of the original EEOC attorneys to file the case on June 12, 2001, and who is still on it today.
Before coming to the Chicago area, Burgess, the principal in IPA was convicted of attempted grand larceny, which led to his disbarment as an attorney in New York in the 1980s. Prior to that he pled guilty to patronizing a 16-year-old prostitute.