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Press Release 09-10-2012

EEOC Sues Trinity Medical Center for Sexual Harassment, Retaliation

Federal  Agency Says Hospital Subjected Employee to Sexually Abusive Comments  and Propositions, Then Fired Her for Complaining

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. - Trinity Medical Center in Rock Island,  Ill., violated federal law when it permitted the sexual harassment of an  employee and then fired her for complaining about it, the U.S. Equal Employment  Opportunity Commission (EEOC) charged in a lawsuit it filed today.

According to EEOC, the administrative investigation it  conducted prior to the lawsuit revealed that Deborah Chisholm had been  subjected to hostile, abusive and lewd comments and had complained repeatedly  to management.  Instead of addressing the  problem, the EEOC said, the company terminated her in retaliation.

Sexual harassment and retaliation for complaining  about it violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The EEOC filed suit in U.S. District Court  for the Central District of Illinois, Rock Island Division, after first  attempting to reach a pre-litigation settlement through its conciliation  process.  The suit is captioned EEOC v. Trinity Medical Center, C.D.  Illinois No. 4:12-cv-4085 and has been assigned to District Judge Sara  Darrow.  The EEOC seeks back pay,  compensatory and punitive damages, and an injunction prohibiting harassment and  discrimin­ation in the future.

"Trinity brought its current  troubles upon itself," said John Rowe, the EEOC's district director in Chicago,  who managed the investigation.  "First,  it permitted the sexual harassment, then it compounded that problem by firing  the victim who, rightfully, was complaining."

John Hendrickson, the EEOC's  regional attorney in Chicago, said, "Employers ought to learn from this  case.  Any employment discrimination  problem -- sexual harassment or anything else -- can always be made worse and  more injurious to the conduct of the employer's business. Retaliation is  guaranteed to do that.  It never makes sense,  it is never good for business, and it is always illegal."

The EEOC's Chicago District  Office is responsible for processing discrimination charges, administrative  enforcement and the conduct of agency litigation in Illinois, Wisconsin,  Minnesota, Iowa, and North and South Dakota, with Area Offices in Milwaukee and  Minneapolis.

The EEOC is responsible for  enforcing federal laws against employment discrimination.  Further information is available at