Chicago lawyer to represent Edward D. Jones in alleged workplace harassment case

Christina Stueve Oct. 4, 2011, 3:55pm


Attorney Jennifer Long of the law firm Duane Morris in Chicago is representing Edward D. Jones and Co. and Matthew Johnson, defendants in a Madison County workplace harassment case.

Plaintiff Lisa Novak of Madison County claims she was harassed and fired after being diagnosed with breast cancer, according to her complaint filed Aug. 11.

Novak alleges she learned she had breast cancer June 23, 2009, and immediately reported the results to her employer and supervisor Matthew Johnson. Before her diagnosis, Novak had received good recommendations for nine years, and during her annual reviews, her supervisors told her she had met expectations, the lawsuit claims.

But after her diagnosis, employees started treating her differently.

"Defendant Johnson began speaking to the Plaintiff sarcastically, in a loud and threatening manner, and writing up Plaintiff for minor infractions knowing it would cause her severe emotional distress and ultimately her termination," the complaint says.

Two days after Novak was told she had breast cancer, she learned her aunt had passed away. Novak claims she was very close to her aunt and requested her time off work, but was only given one bereavement day and one work day, according to the complaint.

After returning to work, Novak was notified that she was being written up for stealing from the company. Because of her mistake on her time sheet, she was given a final written warning, the suit says.

Novak began experiencing medical issues with the breast cancer, such as serious drainage and redness at the site of a previous staph infection, the complaint says. When Novak requested time off to go to the doctor, she claims Johnson responded, "Oh, goody, we get to go to the wound doctor again."

Novak is seeking a judgment of more than $100,000. She is being represented by Anne M. Hillyer and Deborah S. Greider, both of St. Louis.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 11-L-802.

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