A federal jury rejected a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS) by Carlos Estes, a former employee who claimed he was fired for refusing his boss’s sexual advances.
Estes made $70,000 per year as special assistant to Teyonda Wertz, chief of staff for DHS Secretary Carol Adams. Wertz testified that Estes served almost exclusively as her driver. DHS says it fired Estes for misusing a state vehicle.
In his lawsuit, Estes alleged that Wertz made him share a hotel suite during a business trip to Springfield in 2003. He claimed that Wertz changed into silk pajamas and told him, “You’ll make love to me or you’ll lose your job.”
Dana Kurtz, attorney for Estes, said the case reveals a double standard for male plaintiffs in sexual harassment cases. “Had a male supervisor arranged to share a hotel room with a female subordinate, there’d be no question,” Kurtz said.
William Anderson III, attorney for DHS, said his client was falsely accused. “I’m glad that the jury saw through this guy’s story,” he said.
Estes is considering an appeal.
- Breakdown of ADA interactive process may equal constructive discharge
- Prompt corrective action limits harassment liability
- Public employees have no legal 'right' to have affairs with their subordinates
- Understand how whistle-blower laws affect employers, employees
- No double recovery under federal and state law