sexual harassment

www.ilga.gov

 A first-term Republican state representative and member of an Illinois House anti-sexual harassment task force resigned Wednesday after an ex-girlfriend claimed that he posted nude photos of her on a fake social media account under her name.

 

Rep. Nick Sauer of Lake Barrington tendered a letter of resignation Wednesday afternoon to the House clerk's office.

Groups Focus On #MeToo In Campaign Workplaces

Jul 9, 2018

A panel is traveling across Illinois to hear about what it’s like to be a female in politics. The Anti-Harassment, Equality and Access Panel is hosting listening sessions to hear about sexual harassment in the political workplace.

The non-partisan panel is led by Comptroller Susana Mendoza, State Sen. Melinda Bush, and State Rep. Carol Ammons. 

Becky Carroll is Communications Director for the group. She says their findings on workplace sexual harassment can apply to all political races, not just in Illinois.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The chief of staff to powerful Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan abruptly resigned Wednesday, at Madigan's request, after an employee accused him of lewd comments and of mishandling complaints of sexual harassment.

 

Sherri Garrett, a $42,000-a-year account technician for the House, told a news conference in Chicago that Timothy Mapes brushed aside her complaints of lawmakers' harassment of her and other women on at least two occasions.

 

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Lawyers for Illinois House speaker Michael Madigan are asking for the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by an ex-campaign worker who alleges her reporting of sexual harassment cost her a promotion in the speaker's political organization.

The request in federal court by the Illinois Democratic Party and three Madigan-controlled campaign funds denies allegations by Alaina Hampton. She contends in her lawsuit her effort to stop Kevin Quinn's unwanted advances prevented her from getting further work on Democratic campaigns.

Flickr user / Mike Mozart "McDonald's" (CC BY 2.0)

Energized by the #MeToo movement, two national advocacy groups are teaming up to lodge sexual harassment complaints against McDonald's on behalf of 10 women who have worked at the fast food restaurant in nine cities.

The workers — one of them a 15-year-old from St. Louis — alleged groping, propositions for sex, indecent exposure and lewd comments by supervisors. According to their complaints, when the women reported the harassment, they were ignored or mocked, and in some cases suffered retaliation.

"Chicago Fire Department" by Flickr User Chad Kainz

Five female paramedics with the Chicago Fire Department filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday alleging they were sexually harassed by some of their superiors.

The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago contends there is a "code of silence" in the fire department that encourages the illegal behavior by failing to "discipline, supervise and control" its officers.

Daisy Contreras / NPR Illinois

In a move not surprising to many, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan Monday was re-elected as the chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party.

Illustrator Pat Byrnes

In the wake of the #MeToo movement, state lawmakers have tried to address sexual harassment in a variety of ways. We explore what's been done and what some say may be ahead.

Nearly six months have passed since more than 200 people signed a #MeToo letter asserting they've experienced or witnessed sexual harassment within Illinois state government. Since then, task forces have been assembled; some new state laws have been put into place; more bills have been introduced; and lawmakers have been trained in how to avoid problematic behavior.

BRIAN MACKEY / NPR ILLINOIS

A former campaign consultant for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is suing his political committee and the state Democratic Party, alleging that reporting a top lieutenant for sexual harassment hindered her from advancing in the speaker's organization.

Alaina Hampton filed the lawsuit Wednesday against the Democratic Party of Illinois, chaired by Madigan, and his political fund, Friends of Michael J. Madigan, alleging retaliation for "asserting her rights to be free from unlawful harassment and a sexually hostile work environment."

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Accusations of harassment from a campaign worker against her supervisor and close aide to Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, Kevin Quinn, led to Quinn’s firing last month. Madigan is still struggling with the ripple effects from Alaina Hampton’s claims, with some observers predicting this could be the downfall for the powerful politician.

Hampton’s story has also brought attention to how political campaigns deal with sexual harassment.

Susan Stephens/WNIJ

Legislation barring the use of taxpayer money to settle complaints of sexual harassment against legislators is moving to the House floor.

The Executive Committee OK'd the plan unanimously Wednesday.

File photo by Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan continues to push back against accusations that his office mishandled sexual harassment complaints. 

The Speaker issued a one-page press release Tuesday with brief summaries of nine complaints involving staffers working in his state office. It’s the product of an internal investigation Madigan launched after firing two high-ranking campaign workers.

File photo by Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Chris Kennedy said this week House Speaker Michael Madigan should step down as head of the Democratic Party at least temporarily, while state Sen. Daniel Biss said he hopes Madigan’s firing of the aide accused of harassment isn’t just political damage control. Frontrunner J.B. Pritzker has been more tentative in his response. 

The speaker fired Kevin Quinn earlier this week after Madigan’s lawyer spent three months investigating accusations that Quinn harassed a campaign staffer.     

Flickr user David Recordon / (CC x 2.0)

The “Me Too” movement brought attention to the issue of sexual harassment in entertainment. But the problem manifests itself in the sciences as well.

Research shows that sexual harassment is most likely to occur in organizations that tolerate it - and in those dominated by men.

“With both Hollywood and sciences, both of those things often hold,” says Kate Clancy, associate professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois.

Brian Mackey/NPR Illinois

Powerful Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan is dismissing calls to resign after a campaign worker for Illinois Democrats says it took party officials too long to respond after she reported sexual harassment by a male supervisor last year.

Madigan fired long-time political consultant Kevin Quinn Monday after an investigation found he sent inappropriate text messages to a colleague.

File photo by Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan has dismissed a long-time political consultant after an investigation found he sent inappropriate text messages to a colleague.

Madigan identified the consultant as Kevin Quinn in a statement Monday.

Madigan attorney Heather Wier Vaught says the woman is a political consultant not employed by Madigan.

Vaught says Quinn texted the woman seeking a date in 2016. There were fewer than a dozen texts but they continued after the woman told Quinn she wasn't interested.

davidmcsweeney.org

Two new proposals at the Illinois statehouse aim to hold lawmakers and other government officials accountable in cases of harassment or discrimination.

One measure would require city, county and other local governments to publish severance agreements with employees found guilty of misconduct on the government’s website and in local news sources for at least seven days. That would include the name of the employee receiving the payout, the dollar amount and an explanation of  what the employee was accused of.

senatorsilverstein.com

The inspector general for the Illinois General Assembly says a top state senator did not sexually harass a woman whose legislation he was sponsoring last year.

Inspector General Julie Porter concludes in a report that Sen. Ira Silverstein's interaction with Denise Rotheimer did not rise to the level of ethical misconduct. But she says it was "conduct unbecoming of a legislator" and recommended the 19-year veteran lawmaker be counseled by the Senate's ethics officer.

Susan Stephens/WNIJ

Sexual harassment and assault allegations against high-profile entertainment and news executives have surged over the past few months. They spurred the “#MeToo” movement, in which people took to social media to disclose their own stories as victims. The campaign sparked questions of how sexual harassment in the workplace is handled.

In this week Friday Forum, WNIJ’s Jessie Schlacks examines the prevalence of sexual harassment on a smaller scale – and how local officials are working to amend their own policies.

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Illinois lawmakers acted quickly last month in response to sexual harassment allegations at the statehouse.  But several female legislators say this isn't a quick fix. They say the process was rushed and not enough thought was given to explore alternative options.

State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, says the new policies were not inclusive of everyone affected by the issue—such as legislative staff and lobbyists. She says she hopes newly-formed legislative task forces in the House and Senate will resolve this concern.

Hoping to prevent sexual harassment in the workplace, members of Congress have introduced a bill that would allow victims to take their cases to court. 

It's called the "Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Act," and one of the lead sponsors is U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, from the 17th Illinois Congressional District. 

During a news conference Wednesday in Washington, D.C., Bustos said 60 million Americans have contracts with forced-arbitration clauses, but this bill would give them the option of going to court.

www.cheribustos.com

An Illinois Congresswoman helped unveil a new bill this week that would prohibit lawmakers from using taxpayer dollars to pay for sexual harassment and assault settlements.

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, says she was among co-sponsors of the bill to help bring transparency to harassment-claim payouts under the Congressional Accountability Act.

Bustos says her office initially sent out a statement about it because of similar allegations coming to light across the country lately.

spplawyers.com

The Illinois General Assembly finally has chosen someone to investigate ethics complaints against state legislators and staff. 

Julie Porter, a former federal prosecutor based in Evanston, was appointed as temporary legislative inspector general following a weekend telephone conference call of eight lawmakers assigned to oversee ethics in the legislature.

senatorsilverstein.com

Chicago Democrat Ira Silverstein is resigning his leadership position in the Illinois Senate following accusations he sexually harassed an advocate working with him on a bill. 

Silverstein represents Lincolnwood and parts of other towns in the northern Chicago suburbs. 

Lobbyist Denise Rotheimer publicly accused him of harassing her last year.

A crime-victims advocate told an Illinois House committee Tuesday that a powerful state senator sexually harassed her last year as they were working together on legislation, causing her so much mental anguish that she dropped 20 pounds and lost her hair.

State of Illinois

A federal lawsuit claiming sexual harassment by former Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford names four other staffers who allegedly complained of unwanted sexual advances by the one-time gubernatorial hopeful.

Edmund Michalowski filed a sexual harassment lawsuit in February 2014 that destroyed Rutherford's Republican bid for governor against eventual winner Bruce Rauner. Rutherford claimed it was a dirty political trick.