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On March 3, 2020, the Kennedy Hunt, P.C. filed suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois against the City of Belleville, Illinois and two members of the Belleville Police Department under the Illinois Human Rights Act Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Count II) and sexual harassment and retaliation under the IHRA (Count V). The lawsuit alleges William Clay, III, the Belleville police chief, and John Moody, a captain in the department, subjected our client to sexual harassment and created a hostile work environment. Further, the lawsuit alleges that the City of Belleville retaliated against our client for reporting Defendant Moody’s sexual harassment. 

Our client began working for the Belleville Police Department on July 20, 2015 as a secretary in the Operations Division. Captain Moody was her direct supervisor. Our client asserts that Moody and other department employees frequently made sexual jokes and comments loudly in her presence, making it difficult for her to concentrate on her work. In 2017, after she attended a sexual harassment training, Moody began making sexual comments about our client’s voice. This created an environment where our client felt as if she could not speak out loud for fear of being sexualized and teased. Our client claims that Moody continuously harassed, degraded, and humiliated her in front of other employees. 

In 2018, our client reported Moody’s conduct to a member of human resources. Afterward, our client was assigned to temporarily work in the records department. When she was hired in 2015, Moody told her that he punished employees he did not like by sending them to the records department. While in this department, our client met a colleague who was sent to records after complaining about Moody’s sexual misconduct. 

When our client returned from the records department, she endured worse treatment from Moody. On one occasion, Moody called our client into his office and directed her to sign the sexual harassment form in front of him. Understandably, our client wanted to review the information on the document before signing it, which led Moody to become visibly upset. He yelled and slammed his fists on the desk in a threatening manner. The next day, Moody threatened our client, saying that he would not write her a good review unless she signed the form.

After this, our client complained about Moody’s behavior to Ms. Favre, the director of human resources. Favre informed our client that Clay was “disappointed in her” for complaining about Moody. Still, an investigation ensued, which resulted in the department moving our client to an office on the third floor and took no action against Moody, which did not make our client feel safe. Our client requested additional measures to keep her safe from Moody. No measures were put into place and instead Favre questioned our client on if she was quitting her job. In October 2018, our client received a letter from Defendant Clay stating that she voluntarily resigned from her job. The lawsuit seeks lost wages and benefits, reinstatement, front wages, emotional distress damages, compensatory damages and punitive damages.

On May 29, 2020, Moody filed a motion to dismiss. On June 2, 2020, the City of Belleville and Clay filed a motion to dismiss. The court denied both motions. 

This case is ongoing. For more information, contact attorney MaryAnne Quill at mquill@kennedyhuntlaw.comIf you or someone you know has been a victim of employment issues, our skilled attorneys at Kennedy Hunt, P.C. may be able to help you. Fill out a questionnaire so we can understand your claim.