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RAISER v. O'SHAUGHNESSY

August 13, 1993

JOYCE RAISER, Plaintiff,
v.
JACK O'SHAUGHNESSY, et al., Defendant.


MORAN


The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES B. MORAN

Plaintiff Joyce Raiser (Raiser) has filed claims under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., against defendants Cook County, Illinois (the County), Michael F. Sheehan, Sheriff of Cook County, Illinois (Cook County Sheriff), Jack O'Shaughnessy (O'Shaughnessy), Thomas Randich (Randich), Eugene Hansen (Hansen), and Oscar Schiappa (Schiappa), as well as a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 against O'Shaughnessy, Randich, Hansen and Schiappa. Raiser alleges that she was verbally and physically harassed and given inferior work assignments because of her sex, and that she was precluded from obtaining County jobs because she filed a discrimination complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Defendants now move for partial summary judgment on all claims involving physical injury to plaintiff, for dismissal of all claims against Schiappa, and for dismissal of the retaliation claims against Cook County and the Cook County Sheriff.

 BACKGROUND

 For the purpose of assessing defendants' motions the court assumes the truth of the facts asserted in plaintiff's third amended complaint.

 Raiser was employed by Cook County, Illinois, as a laborer in the skilled trades department at Oak Forest Hospital from approximately August 1990 to December 2, 1991. She was the first and only woman assigned to that department, where over 100 men were employed during the time period in question. Her immediate supervisor was Hansen; Hansen reported to Randich and Randich reported to O'Shaughnessy.

 When Raiser was hired she was ordered to report to Hansen at his office, where she was to receive her daily work assignments and was required to sign in and out. Hansen's office was located inside a men's locker room, a small room that also contained open showers, a partially open urinal, and clothes lockers. Raiser herself used a women's locker room in another facility but, because her presence was required at Hansen's office, she routinely was exposed to men changing their clothes and showering.

 During her first six months at the hospital Raiser complained to management and her union shop steward, Pete Pauley, that the open configuration of the shop humiliated her and angered some of the men. She proposed that a curtain be installed in front of the showers, or that some other change be implemented, and Randich responded that he would "look into it." For many months, however, no changes were made. Another locker room with showers and toilets was located a short distance down the hall, but the men were not ordered to use that facility.

 Raiser's problems went beyond the physical setup of the workplace. Hansen, Randich and O'Shaughnessy intentionally assigned Raiser to particularly unpleasant jobs to haze her because she was a woman. Unlike the men, she frequently was left to complete difficult or dangerous tasks by herself. She also was denied certain more desirable assignments, such as driving a forklift, in favor of less experienced men.

 The men in the shop frequently directed foul and sexually-explicit language toward her and called her derogatory names. Raiser reported the comments to her supervisors, who themselves heard some of the offensive speech, but none of the men was disciplined. Several men also posted photographs of naked women on their lockers, but despite plaintiff's complaints to her supervisors the photographs were not removed. Several men explicitly told plaintiff that they did not like working with a woman, and Hansen told her that O'Shaughnessy disliked having a woman in his shop.

 In December 1990 plans were drawn in preparation for installing shower curtains and enclosing the urinal in the shop. That same month, however, Raiser began hearing from co-workers that management planned to "get rid of her," and the modifications were not implemented. After one particularly unpleasant harassing incident Raiser confronted Pauley, who responded by criticizing her for being too sensitive and then stated, "We got rid of the nigger, and we're going to get rid of you." Apparently Pauley was referring to Gus Monier, the last African-American employee assigned to the shop, who had recently retired. At about this time many of the men began giving Raiser the "silent treatment," refusing to speak to her.

 Finally, after several more complaints, one of which resulted in an order from hospital officials to remove the showers and the urinal completely, a curtain was installed in front of the shower and the urinal was enclosed. The changes were an improvement, but men continued to walk back and forth from their lockers to the shower after undressing, and at least one of them intentionally undressed in front of plaintiff, ignoring the curtain.

 On about April 15, 1991, Raiser was injured when a heavy door caught and smashed her hand. Approximately one month later, after her condition worsened, her personal physician recommended that she be restricted to "light duty." Randich ignored the doctor's advice and assigned her to very heavy work in an effort to induce her resignation. After another visit to her doctor, who recommended that she be restricted to work that did not require repetitive use of her right hand, Raiser was ordered to see defendant Schiappa, a doctor at the hospital. Schiappa cleared her for regular work, and she subsequently was ordered to lift heavy concrete blocks. She injured her shoulder as a result. She was placed on modified duty after her second injury, but when she visited Schiappa again he again directed her to return to regular duty. The doctor told Raiser that O'Shaughnessy and Randich had instructed him to put her back to work, and he urged her to look for a new job to avoid further injury. There was no way she could win, he said.

 On June 12, 1991, Raiser's private physician recommended that she take a leave of absence because of her injuries, and she did not return to work. On July 2 and July 10, 1991, however, Schiappa again instructed her to return to regular duty. On July 23, 1991, she returned to Schiappa for another examination. During the examination he twisted her arm, further injuring her. She was treated for her injuries at another hospital, and an examination the next day revealed ...


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