Granite Nursing and Rehab worker claims she was fired for reporting alleged harassment

Kelly Holleran Jun. 14, 2012, 3:23am

A woman who alleges she was sexually harassed while at work claims she lost her job at a Granite City nursing home because of her skin color and due to numerous complaints she made about the way she was treated.

Sharonda Butler filed a lawsuit June 7 in Madison County Circuit Court against Granite Nursing and Rehabilitation Center and Robert Sigafoos.

In her complaint, Butler alleges she was working for Granite Nursing and Rehabilitation Center when her co-workers began to sexually harass her. Sigafoos, one of Butler's supervisors, made inappropriate sexual remarks and inappropriately touched and humiliated her, according to the complaint.

Butler reported Sigafoos's behavior to Mark Anderson, a facility administrator, but he failed to adequately address it, the suit states. Afterwards, Butler's co-workers continued to harass her with no consequence, the complaint says.

On July 15, 2010, after Butler had made multiple complaints, she was fired from her job in what she claims was retaliation for her grievances. Butler, who is a black woman, claims she also lost her job because of her skin color.

Yet another reason Butler lost her job is because she filed for workers' compensation benefits during her two months of employment, the suit states. While working on June 26, 2010, Butler was injured and applied for workers' compensation benefits, according to the complaint.

"Butler's discharge from her employment with Granite Nursing is causally related to the making of her workers' compensation claim and her request for benefits," the complaint says.

Because of the way she was treated, Butler suffered emotional distress and mental anguish; experienced pain and suffering and lost her enjoyment of life, according to the complaint. In addition, she lost wages and benefits, the suit states.

Butler seeks a judgment of more than $400,000, plus costs, pre-judgment interest and other relief the court deems just.

Michael J. Brunton and Mary M. Stewart of Brunton Law Offices in Collinsville will be representing her.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-795.

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