Pizza worker alleges boss threatened to have her child taken

Kelly Holleran Jul. 11, 2012, 1:58am

A former pizza worker claims her boss threatened to have her child taken from her after she filed charges alleging sexual harassment against his company.

Caitlyn Gourley claims she filed sexual harassment and gender discrimination charges against defendant Pizza World USA and its owner, defendant Eric Wortham, on May 23, 2011. After she filed the complaint on May 23, 2011, however, Wortham began threatening her, according to the lawsuit filed July 2 in Madison County Circuit Court.

"Wortham stated that if Gourley did not contact him immediately, Wortham's lawyers would file a counterclaim against Ms. Gourley for tortious interference with a business; would garnish Ms. Gourley's wages no matter where she was, for the rest of her life, until she paid Wortham $20,000 to $40,000 plus damages," the suit states. "Wortham threatened Gourley with imprisonment for up to six years. Wortham threatened that Ms. Gourley's new born child would be taken away from her."

Wortham later left Gourley a voice mail that informed her that he had called child protective services to tell them that there were numerous problems with her household, the complaint says.

Terrified that she would lose her child, Gourley claims she suffered from sleeplessness, shaking, crying spells and severe emotional distress.

She alleges retaliation in violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act and intentional infliction of emotional distress against the defendants.

In her complaint, Gourley is seeking a judgment of more than $100,000, plus attorney's fees, costs and other relief the court deems just.

Kenneith J. Brennan of Ken Brennan Law in Collinsville will be representing her.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-942.

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