Secretary of State's office worker alleges termination came in retaliation for reporting co-worker's sexual harassment

By Carol Ostrow | May 19, 2015

A Chicago man has sued Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White's office, alleging he was fired in retaliation for reporting a female job trainer for allegedly sexually harassing him.

Philip Larson, of Chicago, brought suit May 4 in Cook County Circuit Court against White in his official capacity as Illinois Secretary of State, asserting liability in a series of incidents in 2014 involving his co-worker.

The suit states Larson was hired by White's office in May 2014 and assigned to the Secretary of State's facility in Des Plaines. As part of his training, he was assigned to shadow a female employee, whom he alleges began to make sexual advances toward him. According to the filing, he informed her he was married with children and requested a transfer to a different facility.

According to the complaint, the co-worker obtained Larson’s cell phone number and began to “sext” him. In July 2014 she allegedly sent him an explicit photo. And in late September 2014, she allegedly approached him about engaging in acts of a sexual nature with her again. A supervisor asked both parties to submit a report of the incident.

The woman allegedly then confronted Larson on Oct. 20, 2014. A few days later, Larson was terminated, allegedly on the pretext of not having performed his job adequately and not cooperating with other employees. He requested an investigation, but received no answers, according to the filing.

The plaintiff alleges he never received any disciplinary action or suspension. Larson requested documentation from his employer on Feb. 13, 2015, and was allegedly told no records of any formal report existed.

Citing violation of state employment code, Larson seeks reinstatement, a full investigation surrounding allegations of his misconduct, and damages in an amount deemed proper by the court. He is represented by Erik Borczon, of the Law Offices of Daniel Q. Herbert and Associates, of Chicago.

Cook County Circuit Court Case No.: 15-CH-7319.

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