Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) August 20, 2015 - Most sexual harassment cases are documented by a victim, reported to someone in authority and possibly taken to an experienced employment attorney. This unusual case lacked a victim.
According to a statement of claim filed by LaShonda Peebles, former Chicago State University (CSU) president Wayne Watson pressured her to file false a sexual harassment claim against an opinionated professor he wanted silenced. She also asserts she was a victim of wrongful dismissal as a result of refusing to file a false sexual harassment claim.
Peebles was the interim vice president of enrollment and student affairs at the time of the alleged verbal harassment. She states that contentious professor Philip Beverly, who was vocal in his criticism of Watson, did not sexually harass her.
Peebles is not alone in filing a lawsuit. Beverly and another professor, who contributed to a popular campus blog where staff routinely published evidence of instances of administration mismanagement, filed suit against CSU in 2014 alleging Watson was trying to shut down the blog. That suit, supported by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), also included reference to other administrators strongly urging Peebles to file a sexual harassment claim against Beverly.
This is an unusual case in that sexual harassment did not occur. However, it appears verbal and psychological harassment, retaliation and wrongful dismissal issues are present. “It is going to be a difficult case to litigate due to the he said versus she said framework, but not an impossible one. Peebles appears to have corroborating evidence to support her claims, and thus may stand a good chance of winning her suit,” said prominent Chicago employment attorney, Timothy Coffey.
For those that may be in a similar situation, the best advice is to reach out and connect with a knowledgeable employment attorney and find out what legal options are available. Each case has its own variables, and a top-notch employment lawyer is able to sort through them and determine how to best proceed to get a fair and equitable resolution.
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