Madison - St. Clair Record

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Agency accused of racial, age, gender discrimination, retaliation by former employee

State Court

By John Breslin | Oct 21, 2019


BELLEVILLE - East St. Louis Housing Authority faces a battery of claims in a lawsuit filed by a former employee.

Sherry Madison is claiming racial, age, and gender discrimination along with retaliation for reporting illegal activity and claiming workers' compensation benefits.

Madison, a 56-year-old African-American, filed suit Sept. 26 in St. Clair County Circuit Court and is seeking more than $50,000 in damages and a punitive award on one of the counts.

The housing authority did not immediately  to a request for comment from the Record.

The complaint states that the plaintiff was employed by the housing authority based in East St. Louis, qualified and able to perform her duties.

In her claim that the authority violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act on racial discrimination, Madison states that she suffered in a hostile work environment and harassment. Her employment was subsequently terminated.

The plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the Illinois Department of Human Rights and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which granted her a right to sue.

Following the alleged harassment and termination, Madison "suffered and in the future will continue to suffer emotional distress, mental anguish, pain and suffering, inconvenience, loss of enjoyment of life, and other pecuniary and non-pecuniary losses."

Further, it is claimed that the authority's managers knew they were acting in violation of federal law, and that the agency approved of the situation, but "showed reckless disregard" over whether such activities were barred. Therefore, Madison should receive punitive damages, it is argued.

Madison also claims retaliation for reporting racial discrimination, alleging her termination was linked to complaints to the authority.

She also filed counts alleging discrimination and retaliation under the Illinois Human Rights Act, a violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment (ADEA), and retaliation under state law for reporting threats of physical violence by a client, after which her employment was terminated.

Madison claims she was also retaliated against for requesting workers' compensation benefits after she injured her shoulder at work, and accuses the authority of gender discrimination in violation of another provision of Title VII.

The plaintiff is represented by Michael J. Brunton and Mary M. Stewart of the Brunton Law Offices in Collinsville.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 2019-L-689.

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East St. Louis Housing Authority

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