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Jury Awards $700,000 to Chicago Jail Worker for Sexual Harassment

On July 2, 2003, a federal jury in Chicago, Illinois, awarded $700,000 in damages to a female employee of the Chicago jail in Illinois who was sexually harassed and assaulted by a male co-worker. Kathleen Kessel, 35, and Beverly Meador, 44, were employed by the Cook County sheriff's office at a day reporting center for jail prisoners on probation. They complained that one of their co-workers, Jim Grayes, grabbed and groped them sexually and made vulgar sexual remarks. They complained to sheriff's department managers to no avail.

The women filed suit in federal court claiming they had been subjected to sexual harassment, a hostile work environment and assault and battery. They sued Grayes, Cook county sheriff Michael Sheehan, Cook County, the sheriff's department and three supervisors. The latter were dismissed as defendants. The jury ruled in favor of Kessel and awarded her $700,000 in damages on July 2, 2003. Meador, who never put her complaints to supervisory staff in writing, was awarded nothing by the jury. The plaintiffs were represented by Chicago attorneys Luke Casson and Frank Andreou. See: Kessel v. Cook County, USDC ND IL, Case No. 00-CV-3980.

Source: National Jury Verdict Reporter

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Related legal case

Kessel v. Cook County