Federal Judge J. Phil Gilbert granted partial dismissal in a case alleging sexual harassment against J&S Professional Pharmacy and its owner.
Gilbert entered an order Dec. 6 concluding that all claims made by plaintiff Wendy Blades against the pharmacy and its owner will stand except for the intrusion upon seclusion counts due to "failure to state a claim."
"The problem for Blades is that her intrusion upon seclusion claim is predicated on the alleged sexual batteries," Gilbert wrote. "While those allegations certainly suffice to state a claim for battery, they do not meet the definition of intrusion upon seclusion - which, as the Restatement explains, is reserved for things like placing a camera in somebody's bedroom, wiretapping their phone, or in some other manner 'prying' into their private affairs."
Gilbert's order states that Blade worked at the pharmacy for more than 10 years. During that time, she claims she was subjected to unlawful sexual harassment and a sexually hostile work environment.
As a result, Blade claims she developed severe anxiety, depression and high blood pressure, causing her to seek urgent medical treatment in March 2017.
Blade alleges she was then unlawfully terminated from her job after missing four days of work.
Blade filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and filed suit against the defendants in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois. She alleges battery, intrusion upon seclusion, intentional infliction of emotional distress and violations of the Illinois Human Rights Act.
The pharmacy filed a motion to dismiss the claims.
Gilbert concluded that Blade filed the discrimination complaint with the EEOC in a timely manner necessary to go forward with the claim that a violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act occurred.
As for the battery claim, Gilbert concluded that the alleged battery was within the scope of the owner's employment since the owner conducted the actions in line with her obligation to pay and discipline her employees.
He also held that the Illinois Human Rights Act doesn't preempt the battery claim resulting from a sexual assault or preempt emotional distress claims.