Heather Isringhausen Gvillo May 21, 2015, 8:29am


Home improvement store Lowe’s Home Center denied allegations in a former employee’s sexual harassment lawsuit.

Hollie Bonvicino filed her lawsuit against Lowe’s Home Center, Inc., and Bennie Peebles on Feb. 11.

According to her complaint, she was employed by Lowe’s from May 5, 2011, to March 23, 2014. During that time, she claims Peebles, a manager, directed sexual remarks and provocative gestures at her regularly. She says she was driven to tears at least once while at work as a result of the unwelcome incidents.

The plaintiff alleges she was led to believe Peebles would no longer be working with her after a March 8, 2014, incident. However, on March 21, she discovered that he was still on site, the suit states.

She filed a discrimination charge with both the EEOC and the Illinois Human Rights Department on April 21, 2014, claiming she was forced to work directly with Peebles as an act of retaliation for complaining.

Bonvicino alleges her work environment became hostile and intimidating and that she endured both emotional distress and loss of employment.

The defendants denied the allegations in their April 20 answer to the complaint. They argue in their affirmative defenses that Bonvicino is obligated to mitigate her alleged damages with respect to claims for monetary relief.

“Those claims should be barred or, in the alternative, reduced if plaintiff has failed to mitigate her damages,” the answer states.

Bonvicino seeks damages in excess of $50,000, reinstatement to her position, back pay and benefits, plus attorneys’ fees and costs.

Benjamin W. Powell of HeplerBroom in Edwardsville and Devlin J. Schoop of Laner Muchin represent the defendants. They seek a trial by jury.

Brian Polinske of Polinske & Associates in Edwardsville represents the plaintiff.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 15-L-173

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