Woman who refused to date boss sues after being fired

Kelly Holleran Sep. 29, 2009, 11:00am

A Madison County woman claims she was harassed and eventually terminated from her employment because she refused to date her boss.

Colleen D. Vesper filed a lawsuit Sept. 25 in Madison County Circuit Court against Illinois Thoroughbred Breeders and Owners Foundation and Gary Moore, president of ITBOF.

Vesper claims she was hired as a bookkeeper by ITBOF in 1993 and was eventually elevated to the position of manager of the ITBOF office at Fairmont Park Race Track in 2007.

Before her promotion, at some point in 2006, Moore asked Vesper to meet with him socially, which she agreed to do, according to the complaint.

Shortly after her meeting, though, Vesper told Moore she was not interested in a romantic relationship with him, the suit states.

In 2007, after Moore was promoted to president of ITBOF, he asked Vesper to date him and expressed his romantic feelings toward her, the complaint says.

Again, Vesper claims she denied Moore a date and told him she was not romantically interested in him.

"Thereafter, Defendant Moore created a hostile work environment for Plaintiff, sought to degrade, belittle and humiliate her in front of other I.T.B.O.F. employees, Board Members and members of the foundation who owned or bred thoroughbreds," the suit states.

The hostile work environment continued from early 2007 until Vesper's termination on April 27, according to the complaint.

"The reason Moore created the hostile work environment for Plaintiff was her refusal to accede to his request for an intimate relationship," the complaint says.

Because of the hostile work environment and because of her termination, Vesper claims she suffered embarrassment, humiliation and severe stress and lost her income and benefits to her damage of more than $15,000.

In the two-count suit, Vesper is seeking a judgment of more than $30,000, plus unspecified statutory damages and attorney's fees.

Stephen P. McGlynn of McGlynn and McGlynn in Belleville will be representing her.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-1021.

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