Alsip Mayor accused of Unwanted Sexual Advances

Illinois ­– Mayor Patrick Kitching was accused of sexually harassing the former treasurer of the suburbs. According to the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Elizabeth Gonzalez in October 2014, Kitching allegedly left numerous cards on Gonzalez’s desk in addition to making sexual advances at her.

Gonzalez reported the sexual harassment began in 2006. The sexual harassment allegations included inappropriate looks, unwanted physical contact, and unwelcome comments. The unwelcome comments expressed negativity in regards to Gonzalez’s physical appearance, which doesn’t affect or apply to her job in any way.

The sexual harassment lawsuit disclosed the messages on “numerous unsolicited cards” found on Gonzalez’s desk. Several cards revealed Mayor Kitching’s “sexual interest” in Gonzalez. An intense message stated “I think of you first thing in the morning and last thing at night,” on the outside of the card, and “The rest of the day I spend thinking about us” on the inside of the card. A mild message stated, “xoxoxoxoxoxo missed you so much, Love ya, me.”

The cards were unprofessional, according to the sexual harassment attorney representing Gonzalez. In 2003, Gozalez was hired as the assistant treasurer. After Gonzalez performed a phenomenal job, Mayor Kitching promoted her to treasurer in 2006. The ongoing sexual harassment lasted throughout 2011 until Gonzalez found the courage to politely inform Mayor Kitching “in no uncertain terms that she was uninterested in a romantic relationship with him.”

Instead of only rejecting the Mayor’s sexual advances, Gonzalez altered her work schedule to accommodate the amount of peace she desired at work. Gonzalez’s sexual harassment attorney argued that others wouldn’t like it if their boss made them uncomfortable, which validates Gonzalez’s purpose behind the changes she made at work.

Hostile Work Environment

The sexual harassment lawsuit noted Gonzalez’s workload increased tremendously after she made every effort to rebuff Kitching’s sexual advances, his presence, and phone calls. The suit also states Kitching “began acting in a hostile manner towards her in front of other employees.” The immeasurable level of discomfort Gonzalez experienced at work from sexual harassment was unlawful.

Due to the sexual harassment, and hostile work environment that developed over time, Gonzalez did not support Kitching’s campaign or re-election in 2013. Prior to the re-election, Kitching was unable to terminate employees in positions similar to Gonzalez’s. However, the village of Alsip “passed an ordinance,” which allowed Kitching to fire employees during the same month he was re-elected, according to the sexual harassment lawsuit.
Most individuals have a difficult time dealing with rejection, which leads them down a path such as a workplace retaliation. Kitching was one of those people. The sexual harassment lawsuit stated, in July 2013, the village of Alsip notified Gonzalez’s that she would no longer be employed after September 30, 2013.

Evidence indicating Kitching followed the proper protocol and procedure according to the “ordinance of dismissal” is unavailable. The sexual harassment lawsuit alleges Kitching omitted this essential step before he made his decision to terminate Gonzalez from the village of Alsip.

In Gonzalez’s defense, an Alsip trustee spoke on the matter at hand by saying “a good woman lost a good job,” He expressed that he feels horrible about the entire situation. Although he’s not responsible for the outcome of Gonzalez’s job, it good to see other males at work identify and address when someone is a fault, as opposed to condoning the alleged misbehavior.

The Village Alsip’s Sexual Harassment Settlement

The truth behind the sexual harassment lawsuit has not been revealed. Instead, the village of Alsip settled the lawsuit for $120k. The village’s insurance company will cover compensation. Court records show Mayor Kitching denied the sexual harassment allegations. There will not be confessions “of any fault, wrongdoing, or liability.” There also aren’t any plans of sexual harassment prevention scheduled to reassure both current and future employees of their safety. The village of Alsip is ready to put the sexual harassment lawsuit behind them.

Sexual Harassment Attorneys Available

If you feel you have been the victim of workplace discrimination or sexual harassment in New York City, Miami, New Jersey or Philadelphia or if your employment rights have been violated, call us at 800-807-2209 for a free consultation. Our attorneys are available to review your claims and prepare a solid case to recover the damages and justice you deserved.

 

About Derek Smith

Attorney Derek T. Smith is an experienced sexual harassment & discrimination law litigator who has particular experience in the areas of workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, civil rights litigation, employment law and civil litigation.

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