Settlement possible in harassment case against Village of Oak Park

Former employees hope to settle out of court

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By Anna Lothson

Staff Reporter

A settlement hearing has been scheduled for September in the case involving two women who are suing the Village of Oak Park for sexual harassment, discrimination and unlawful retaliation.

The lawsuit, filed on Dec. 5, 2011, by former village employees Lena Wert and Annie Hayes, asks for compensatory damages, punitive damages, and attorney fees. The plaintiffs claim that Robert Anderson, their former boss in the village's adjudication department, sexually harassed them for months, eventually leading to their resignations.

According to the Dec. 5 court documents, the suit alleges that Anderson "abused, harassed and belittled" the women, beginning shortly after he was hired in February 2010. They allege that he would stare at their breasts and buttocks, among other inappropriate actions. The women, who called the work environment "hostile," both resigned in October 2010.

A June 28 court filing from the women's attorney, James Roche, details the reason for the settlement offer. Roche said he and the village have been "working diligently" to bring forward documents in question, which total more than 60,000 pages. The plaintiffs, he wrote, anticipate they'll need at least 15 depositions.

"The value and productivity of any settlement discussion would be greatly diminished if the parties had nearly completed all fact discovery and incurred the great costs associated with same."

The case was recently assigned to Magistrate Judge Sidney I. Schenkier for the possible settlement. Schenkier has set the settlement conference in his chambers for Sept. 19.

To avoid incurring more expenses from taking sworn depositions from witnesses, Roche filed a motion that all fact discovery be halted until the settlement conference has been held.

"Recently, [we] made a very reasonable settlement demand. This reasonable demand was in part based on the fact that [we] have yet to incur the expense related to taking depositions," said Roche, according to documents filed on June 28.

Roche is one of three attorneys representing Wert and Hayes. The village is being represented by the Chicago-based firm of Franczek Radelet. A settlement letter must be served to the village's attorneys by Aug. 1, and they have until Sept. 6 to return a formal settlement letter to the plaintiffs' attorneys.

No specific dollar amount was stated by the attorneys, but online court records show the plaintiffs are seeking $25,000.

Roche's motion to place a hold on fact discovery was granted, but if a settlement is not reached on Sept. 19 there will be an expedited discovery at 9:15 a.m. the following morning.

Contact:
Email: anna@oakpark.com Twitter: @AnnaLothson

Reader Comments

12 Comments - Add Your Comment

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Off an from Oak park  

Posted: January 20th, 2013 4:41 PM

There wasn't a settlement. Loathsome is incompetent. Run the truth for a change. The two ladies did not tell the truth and walked with nothing. Not a dime. Not attorney fee. Not an apology because they were trying to just get money from the village. Terrible people

Rachel from Oak Park  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 4:24 PM

Seriously, 25K is peanuts as a pay-off. That amount will go higher. Again, someone wasn't paying attention to who they were hiring. Who hired these women and who hired the man accused of the bad conduct????? WHO, because that person is responsible for this situation which obviously got out of control.

Village Idiots from Oak Park  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 4:23 PM

 Let me jog everyone's memory and remind you that most of the alleged victims in these cases that arise within the Village have left their jobs.  And the alleged  offenders are still at the Village to cause more problems that force tax payers to have to foot the bill for the bailouts! Maybe we should think about hiring more competent people to manage and get an HR department that will actually act in a timely manner before it costs us more money!  Case in point Rick Tanksley. 

Village Idiots from Oak Park   

Posted: July 17th, 2012 4:19 PM

There's no way these two ladies would walk out of their cushy government jobs. Especially when you say that they didn't work (then again none of the idiots in the village hall or more appropriately "Village idiots" work)  They were getting a salary, benefits and pensions. Clearly they were desperate to get out of that situation, especially in this economy.  

Mares  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 11:17 AM

@ exactly from insider. The correct word is "their", not "there". You must be another overpaid SEIU employee. Agreed with evertyhing else you said.

exactly from insider  

Posted: July 17th, 2012 10:03 AM

You're exactly right. It amounts to (extortion) knowing the vop dont want that publicity nor could they afford the huge legal fees. This case was about the 2 women who no longer wanted to work for the vop after wayne moran left. They didnt like there new black boss so they used him to get out

2 cents from Oak Park  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 4:15 PM

I don't know any of the parties in question, but when it was reported that the proposed settlement amount was $250,000 before depositions were taken I thought: hmmm, they must have a rock solid case to be going for that amount. Now that it's been corrected to $25,000, it's sounding alot like a money grab from disgruntled ex-employees.

rachel dont have a clue from vop  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 3:18 PM

Its very obvious to me you dont have a clue when it comes to the character of these two. I know them personally and im not proud to say that.

Rachel from Oak Park  

Posted: July 16th, 2012 10:19 AM

People don't walk out of positions with pensions to file lawsuits unless there is some string of truth to them. They deserve more than 25K I hope they don't settle for less than they deserve. Oak Park should keep better tabs on those who they put in positions of power.

emmit till from oak please  

Posted: July 15th, 2012 8:20 PM

These two are a joke. They didnt want to work after wayne left, because they did nothing while he was there. Mr Anderson asked them to do there jobs so they got even by claiming this crap. Ms lena was hardly ever at work and was almost a year in the red on vacation time how so ms Annie was got paid for work hours she didnt even do. truth be told they were great shredders for wayne moran covering his butt with darryl and jeanetta. The 3 were known as the lynch mob

Roger French from Oak Park  

Posted: July 12th, 2012 11:56 AM

watch it , Truth, your statement may subject you to civil liability. btw, where is this Anderson now?

TRUTH BE TOLD  

Posted: July 11th, 2012 7:35 PM

$250,000? This is a bunch of crap. Wayne Moran, former Adjudication Director spoiled these females (in more ways than one). After he resigned, these females (best friends) could not accept change. Therefore, they lied on the new Director of Adjudication. Very sad and greedy!

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