Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) September 12, 2016 - Jeanetta Matichak recently filed a federal lawsuit alleging sexual harassment, sex discrimination, and retaliation by former Executive Director Dominic Egizio and the Joliet Park District. It is further alleged that park board members and other supervisors knew of the harassment.
Matichak was first hired for her position as a fitness instructor in 2011. It was then that Egizio allegedly started to harass her. She also noted he made it a habit to openly stare at other women’s bodies and make sexual comments, even in the presence of a park board member and his supervisors.
Matichak’s statement of claim indicated Egizio gifted her with sex toys and lingerie, clothing and perfume and would often tell her to come to his office and participate in unwelcome sex acts. Many of these demands were allegedly made during 2014, a period of deep depression for Matichak, who had suffered a miscarriage.
Egizio also allegedly continuously made offensive and vulgar sexual remarks to Matichak such as he fantasized about her daily and masturbated, that he wanted her to talk about the size of his penis and got angry when she refused to tell him the color of her underwear when he asked.
In April 2015, Egizio allegedly took Matichak to a hotel, encouraged her to drink herself into a partial blackout and then sexually assaulted her. She went on medical leave from work suffering a serious traumatic breakdown that required a hospital stay. Egizio was put on administrative leave for six weeks and resigned. He later assumed the position of Midlothian Park District director of parks and recreation.
The lawsuit further alleges that the Board president knew of rumors in 2015 that involved Egizio and Matichak engaging in sex. Rather than take action on the rumors, such as order him to cease having sex with a subordinate or launch an investigation, the president suggested he tell his staff to stop the rumors.
Ms. Matichak filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) December 18, 2015 and received a Notice of Right to in March 2016.
On the face of this case, it appears Ms. Matichak may well be successful in her lawsuit. It may take some time to make its way through court as there are a number of facets involved, including sexual discrimination and state common law for battery of a sexual nature and for paying Matichak wages lower than paid to a male coworker.
“For those facing a difficult situation such as this one, it is best to contact an experienced employment lawyer and find out what your legal options are,” suggested Chicago employment attorney, Timothy Coffey. “The fact is that sexual harassment and sexual discrimination are illegal, but yet, seemingly active in many workplaces today despite what the law says.”
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