Defendant in workplace harassment suit denies allegations of misconduct

By Christina Stueve | Oct 28, 2011

Edward Jones and Matthew Johnson, defendants in a workplace harassment suit, claim Lisa Novak, an employee who filed suit in August, received warnings about her job performance before she was fired by Edward Jones in January 2010.

Novak, a resident of Madison County, claims she was harassed and fired after being diagnosed with breast cancer, according to her complaint. She was employed by Edward Jones from March 2000 to January 6, 2010.

A motion to dismiss one of the counts in the case and the defendants' answer and affirmative action and additional responses were filed Oct. 26.

Novak was a senior branch office administrator in Edward Jones' Glen Carbon office.

Matthew Johnson was her supervisor, according to court documents.

The defendant admits Novak filed a charge of discrimination against Edward Jones with the Illinois Department of Human Rights, complaining she was terminated due to her alleged disability, breast cancer. On May 13, 2011, the IDHR dismissed her charge for lack of evidence. She also cross-filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

She worked with Matthew Jones without incident until she had breast cancer and was terminated Jan. 6, 2010, according to court documents.

The defendants admit Novak was fired Jan. 6, 2010, but they deny Novak was disabled or terminated due to an alleged disability.

Novak was being paid $16.10 per hour plus benefits, her suit says.

The plaintiff was told by her doctor in May 2009 that she had breast cancer after lumps were found on her mammogram.

The plaintiff allegedly asked Johnson for time off to see the doctor. The defendant allegedly responded by saying, "Oh goody, we get to go to the wound doctor again."

Johnson denies making that comment.

Johnson allegedly made comments about Novak's health problems.

Her chemotherapy medication infiltrated her veins, caused her hands to swell and caused chemical burns.

When Johnson saw them, she claims he would say "What is wrong with you now?" Oh that is gross!" "You look disgusting; no one is going to see you like this are they?"

Johnson denied making those comments.

Novak is seeking a judgment of more than $100,000.

Jennifer Long of the law firm Duane Morris in Chicago is representing the defendant in the case.

Novak is being represented by Anne M. Hillyer and Deborah S. Greider, both of St. Louis.

Madison County Case Number 11-L-802.

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