Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

DAHMEN v. SHEAHAN

July 30, 2003

MARISELLA DAHMEN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
MICHAEL SHEAHAN, SHERIFF OF COOK COUNTY, DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: James Zagel, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Marisella Dahmen has brought suit against Cook County Sheriff Michael Sheahan alleging retaliation for her repeated complaints of sexual harassment in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a). This was originally a multi-claim suit also involving allegations of sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, and discrimination based on national origin, but after granting in part Sheriff Sheahan's earlier motion to dismiss, the retaliation claim is all that remains. Sheriff Sheahan now moves for summary judgment on this remaining claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c).

Factual Background

Dahmen was employed as an Investigator at the Cook County Sheriffs Office, working in the Department of Community Supervision and Intervention. According to her, during March of 1995, she repeatedly complained to her Shift Supervisor Larry Spear about the sexual harassment conduct of co-worker Elbert Gant toward her, but Spear did nothing in response. Therefore, Dahmen complained to another supervisor, Chief Dennis Micnerski and additionally [ Page 2]

requested a transfer to another shift. Micnerski denied this request saying there was nothing he could do. In response to her harassment complaints, Micnerski forbade Dahmen from going to Internal Affairs or to anyone else, including her husband, with her complaints and threatened to discipline her if she did so.

Several months later, Dahmen again complained to Spear about Gant's "continued" harassment, but Spear persisted in doing nothing to stop it. His only response consisted of telling her that it was her fault that Gant continued to berate her for reporting earlier harassment. Dahmen then contacted someone identified as Supervisor O'Malley and informed him of the situation. The next day, a meeting regarding the complaints was held that included Micnerski, Gant, Spear, and Dahmen, At the meeting, Dahmen handed Micnerski a memo relating the most recent events of harassment, and Micnerski assured her that he would forward the document to Internal Affairs. Dahmen claims that Micnerski did not do so.

Dahmen alleges that she subsequently continued to have problems with Chief Micnerski and that she next told this to Chief Odell Anderson, Micnerski's supervisor. After Anderson stated that he would talk with Micnerski, Dahmen responded that she feared Micnerski would attempt to retaliate. When Anderson inquired as to why she feared Micnerski, Dahmen responded that he had gotten "verbally loud" and angry with her on prior occasions for no reason. In addition, Dahmen claims to have had a conversation with someone identified as Chief Zavadin who informed Dahmen that it was well known that she was having problems with Micnerski because she had filed a sexual harassment lawsuit. Zavadin then advised her that it was in her best interest to remove herself from her shift, and, when Dahmen declined, replied, "Are you really sure? It would help eliminate the problems." [ Page 3]

Dahmen alleges several ways in which Micnerski allegedly retaliated against her for complaining about harassment. These include:

• counseling her for absenteeism;

• requiring her to bring a doctor's statement every time she was absent;
• counseling her for using profanity in the workplace;
• reprimanding her for not answering a telephone in her office that someone had unplugged;
• threatening to suspend her for "having a bad temper; "
• ordering another investigator to never leave Dahmen in the office alone and to keep an eye on her because she was allegedly stealing documents;
• ordering her to leave the office during her lunch break;
• giving her a low employee evaluation score and then ignoring her questions as to the reasons for the poor evaluation;
• ordering her to submit a memo explaining her tardiness one day but then dropping the order upon Dahmen's request for the Union Steward;
• threatening to issue a written reprimand against her when he discovered that a telephone in her office had been moved to a computer room;
• generally intimidating and yelling at her;

• constantly walking by her desk;

• frequently standing behind her desk as she worked; and
• constantly asking the supervisors where she was if she was not in the office.
A letter from Dahmen's counsel, dated November 21, 1995, alleging discrimination based upon sex and national origin was filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on November 22, 1994. On August 28, 1996, Charge of Discrimination No. 210960645, alleging discrimination based on sex and national origin and retaliation was filed with the EEOC. Dahmen filed her First Amended Complaint against Sheriff Sheahan on June 19, 1997. Dahmen alleges that the retaliation continued after this filing when she submitted a memo relating to a denial of an opportunity to work overtime, which she, as the most senior person on duty, should have received instead of the person for whom overtime was approved. When Dahmen asked Supervisor Yolanda Ortega why the less senior was granted overtime [ Page 4]

instead of her, Ortega inquired of someone identified as Watch Commander Gallacher who responded that it was because of Dahmen's "situation."

In response to Dahmen's Amended Complaint, Sheriff Sheahan filed a Motion to Dismiss, which I granted in part and denied in part, I later clarified that the September Order resulted in the dismissal of Dahmen's claims of sexual harassment, sexual discrimination, and discrimination based on national origin, thereby leaving the remaining claim of retaliation for complaining about sexual ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.