A lawn care business denies that an employee suffered sexual harassment and argues that she failed to take advantage of their sexual harassment complaint procedure.
Lindsey Williams filed a lawsuit on June 24 against Michael Joe Little of O’Fallon and Triple Take Lawn Care Company, doing business as Tee Time Lawn Care Services.
Williams claims she was subjected to sexual harassment, sexual assault and battery from Little during her employment with Tee Time from November 2014 to April 2015. She claims Little made sexual advances towards her when he attempted to rub her shoulders, requiring the plaintiff to “shrug off” the unwanted advances.
She also claims Little pushed her up against a wall and tried taking off her belt before she was able to push him away.
The plaintiff alleges the harassment escalated to Little exposing his penis to her on several occasions.
She also alleges she suffered emotional distress, anxiety, stress, panic attacks, vomiting, sleeplessness, fearfulness, loss of employment and a hostile work environment.
Little filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on Oct. 24 through Matthew Young of Kuehn Beasley & Young in Belleville. He argues that the plaintiff’s claims fail as a matter of law.
“The Illinois Human Rights Act does not provide for liability against individual employees,” the motion states.
He further alleges the Illinois Human Rights Act pre-empts tort claims that are identical and “inextricably linked” to sexual harassment allegations.
Little claims Williams’ claim for sexual harassment are subsequently re-alleged and reasserted as the basis towards her assault and battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress claims.
Tee Time answered the complaint on Nov. 9 through attorney Michael J. Garavalia of Flynn Guymon & Garavalia in Belleville.
The defendant denied that Little committed any acts of sexual harassment or assault.
Tee Time filed five affirmative defenses against the plaintiff. The defendant argues that Little was not an employee of Tee Time and did not serve in a supervisory or managerial capacity.
Tee Time also alleges it was not aware of any sexually harassing behavior.
“Defendant exercised reasonable care to prevent and promptly correct any acts alleged to constitute sexually harassing behavior by promulgating and implementing a policy against sexual harassment prior to and at the time of Plaintiff’s employment by Defendant, distributed it to all new employees upon hire, including Plaintiff, informing all new employees of an available complaint procedure. Plaintiff unreasonably failed to take advantage of said complaint procedure provided by this Defendant,” the defendant alleges.
Williams answered the defendant’s affirmative defenses on Nov. 21 through attorney Wayne Skigen of Lucco Brown Threlkeld & Dawson in Edwardsville. She denied each and every allegation against her.
Williams seeks a judgment of more than $50,000, plus exemplary and punitive damages, attorney fees and any other relief the court deems just.
St. Clair County Associate Judge Randall Kelley scheduled a status conference for Jan. 19.
St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 16-L-328