Delivery assistant claims sexual harassment in suit

Kelly Holleran Aug. 11, 2010, 11:12am

A former employee of a Madison County business claims her supervisors caused her to become deeply depressed after they subjected her to nearly one year of sexual harassment.

Dawn Light filed a lawsuit July 15 in Madison County Circuit Court against STL Distribution Services and supervisors Aaron Seward and Zachary Hedges.

Light claims she began working for STL in June 2007 as a part-time delivery assistant.

Shortly after STL hired Light, Seward and Hedges allegedly began making sexual remarks toward Light, the complaint states.

"Defendant stated he was untouchable and warned plaintiff not to complain about his behavior," the complaint states.

While Seward allegedly began his sexual harassment in October 2007, Hedges allegedly did not begin his until May 2008, Light claims.

"That in September 2008, both defendant, Aaron Seward and Zachary Hedges, told Plaintiff that they had the perfect position for plaintiff and it would be a phone sex operator and they could make millions and plaintiff, Dawn Light, stated that she was not interested," the complaint says.

Although Light claims she repeatedly informed both defendants that she was not interested in any sexual contact with them, she claims they continued to harass her.

"This hostile environment became so intense and unbearable that plaintiff suffered such emotional upset and fear for her life and safety," the suit states. "That defendants, Aaron Seward and Zachary Hedges, created a hostile work environment for plaintiff because of plaintiff's refusal to submit to defendants, Aaron Seward and Zachary Hedges, continual sexual advances towards plaintiff."

Because of her supervisors' actions, Light claims she suffered embarrassment, humiliation and severe distress.

In her 13-count complaint, Light alleges intentional infliction of emotional distress, battery and assault against Seward and Hedges.

She alleges intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent supervison, negligent retention, retaliation and violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act against STL.

Light seeks punitive damages of more than $650,000, plus attorneys' fees and other relief the court deems just.

Dawna M. Hale of Mallon and Hale in Wood River and Greg Roosevelt of Roosevelt Law Office in Edwardsville will be representing her.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 10-L-741.

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