SMS-NA and Global Lawsuit

Home�'Collections�'Sexual Harassment After nearly 10 years, sex-harassment suit may finally be settled Buffalo Grove-based International Profit Associates admits pervasive sexual harassment in workplace February 22, 2011|By Ameet Sachdev | Chicago Law The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is about to conclude what its attorneys suspect is the longest discrimination lawsuit in the history of its Chicago office. It's not a record they are proud of. The case dates to June 12, 2001. The EEOC brought a class-action suit on behalf of more than 100 women against International Profit Associates Inc., a Buffalo Grove consulting business, alleging a pattern of sexual harassment. Ads by Google Actos Lawsuit AttorneyDiabetes Drug Causes Bladder Cancer Have You Been Injured? Free Consult Nearly 10 years later, the two sides are hammering out details of a settlement in which the company has agreed to pay the class $8 million. International Profit Associates, known as IPA, also has acknowledged in court papers that an "unlawful pattern or practice of tolerating sexual harassment" existed from Nov. 25, 1997, to Feb. 14, 2005. What transpired over a decade vividly illustrates how the civil legal system can make victims feel like they have been victimized again. Wendy Commander, one of two women who brought complaints about International Profit Associates to the EEOC that launched the government's investigation in 1998, said she feels no satisfaction in the proposed settlement. "My wrongs have not been made right," Commander said. She is so upset about the way the case has played out that she wrote an angry letter to the federal judge presiding over the suit. Her ire is not limited to her former employer. (Commander worked at the company from 1994 to 1998.) She also blames the EEOC for acting too slowly and keeping individual class members in the dark about the case's progress. Citing the proposed settlement, Commander wrote that "being told this is a success is insulting!" John Hendrickson, the EEOC's regional attorney in the Chicago office, acknowledged that the case is an unfortunate example of the legal maxim "justice delayed is justice denied." "We've done our best throughout this long litigation to keep (the class) apprised of significant developments as they occur," Hendrickson said. "They and we have been frustrated and unhappy about the length of the case." He blames International Profit Associates for dragging out the suit for years with unnecessary legal briefs and requests for sanctions. "Their strategy has been one of delay and obstruction from the first year of the lawsuit," Hendrickson said. The company's attorney, Ronald Bell, declined to comment on the length of the suit because the case is pending. For most of the EEOC case, IPA was represented by Myron Cherry, a Chicago lawyer. Cherry, who withdrew from the case in November with the company's consent, did not return messages seeking comment. In this case, like in any high-stakes litigation, the gloves came off, which wasn't surprising given the severe nature of the EEOC's allegations. U.S. District Judge Joan Gottschall summed up the accusations: Women were regularly propositioned for sex and even offered money for sex. More than 40 women reported being sexually assaulted in one manner or another "" including everything from slapping, pinching, touching and grabbing to outright attempted rape. Graphic *** was displayed on office walls. Strippers and *** were hired to perform for male employees' birthday parties at company offices during business hours. According to the EEOC, IPA management, led by John Burgess, who founded the company in the early 1990s, was complicit in the egregious behavior. Ads by Google Sexual Harassment CourseOne on One Executive Sensitivity Coaching. Protect Company Assets! from Actos ?You May Have a Case - Get Help Now No Recovery No Fee - Free Consult When the case was filed in 2001, the class had 150 to 200 women, according to Diane Smason, the EEOC's supervisory trial attorney in the case. Depositions and evidence-gathering took nearly four years, and dozens of women dropped out, Smason said. During discovery, the company asked the judge to impose sanctions against the EEOC for violating court orders on evidence gathering. The company lost. It tried again and lost. After rejecting IPA's fourth request for sanctions, Gottschall chastised the company in a 2006 ruling: "Although this is IPA's fourth bite at the apple, it continues to do a poor job presenting the issues to the court." After discovery, IPA began filing motions in 2006 to dismiss several of the 113 remaining class members from the case, arguing that their discrimination claims could not prevail under the law. The last of the motions were summary judgments that were resolved in August 2009, leaving 81 class members. The case was set for trial the following summer. In June 2010, IPA made a huge concession, admitting in court papers that it tolerated a pattern or practice of sexual harassment for nearly eight years. On July 6, as the jury was being selected, the parties announced a tentative settlement in court. But the fighting has not stopped. The two sides have been arguing over the terms of the settlement. They agreed in July that the $8 million would be paid in four installments over three years, according to court papers. But in December, the company said in court papers that it could not make the $3 million initial payment and "meet its continuing business obligations at this time." Bell said Monday that the company intends to pay the $8 million over three years as it agreed to do in July. He said he expects a court-approved agreement within a week or two. But as Hendrickson conceded, "It's too late for a happy ending here." asachdev@***.com Ads by Google False Claims Act Qui TamThinking of Blowing the Whistle? It's Up To You - Qui Tam Law Firm or Kidney Cancer?Did You Or A Loved One Take Actos? Learn More... Featured Articles Jim Belushi champions gout treatment Younger onset Alzheimer's patients stay active Louis Farrakhan warns of racial hatred that could lead to attempts to kill President Obama MORE: Rain postpones Daytona 500 to Monday Scott calls trade from Blackhawks 'shocking' Reports: Rasheed Wallace signs with Lakers Website gives Illinois customers power to compare electricity rates Noodle promises no carbs or calories Doctors rethinking prescribing Abbott's Niaspan Ads by Google Need to File a Report?Learn about whistleblower rights and options. Rewards available. Related ArticlesSuit charges worker harassedJune 28, 2002 Class-action Suit Okd For Aurora Police ForceSeptember 4, 1998 Area employment agency target of EEOC suitMarch 6, 2002 Mitsubishi Will Pay $34 MillionJune 12, 1998 Find More Stories AboutSexual Harassment Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Index by Date | Index by Keyword
View full review
1 comment

the eeoc sucks

#301599 Review #301599 is a subjective opinion of poster.
Houma, Louisiana

Unemployment Expert Tips

Experts Tips on Unemployment and Cyber Security

Feb 3, 2020

Can’t verify your identity via Andrew Stettner, an unemployment expert, comments on how the verification process works and the privacy risks involved. Learn how one consumer resolved his issue.

Andrew Stettner
Andrew Stettner

Andrew Stettner is a senior fellow at TheCenturyFoundation and a non-profit leader who shares expert opinion on unemployment benefits and insurance reform.

Why Trust Reviews on PissedConsumer?

  • Professional auto and live moderation
  • 100% user-generated content
  • Equal opportunity and protection
  • Zero tolerance for fake reviews
  • Verified content

For more information read Blog article