A leading resource for evaluating potential employers
Friday March 24th 2017

Insider

Archives

Nursing Home Worker Wins Sexual Harassment Case

Thirty-one year-old Danielle L. Pickett, former Sheridan Health & Rehab Center nursing home worker of Zion, IL, has been awarded $65,000 in compensatory and punitive damages by the Illinois 7th Circuit Court. The court upheld Pickett’s claim that Sheridan Center fired her for reporting to management incidents of sexual harassment by some of the Center’s residents.

In June 2006, Pickett, a housekeeper at the time for the Sheridan Center in Zion, complained to her supervisors that a number of residents had asked for sexual favors and inappropriately touched her while she was cleaning their private rooms. Despite promises from two of her managers, Craig Barnes and Paul Ross Zeller, that the situation would be handled promptly, and that the resident who inappropriately touched her would be forced to leave, Pickett alleges that management took no immediate actions. Instead, her duties were reassigned to cleaning common areas.

During a meeting to discuss her harassment complaint, VP Operations Nanjean Painter allegedly told Pickett, “Well, you are a pretty girl, what are you doing to make them want to touch you?” Painter also allegedly said that because the first resident only asked Painter for sexual favors and did not try to grab her, the encounter could not be considered sexual harassment.

Out of frustration with management’s poor handling of her sexual harassment claim and after a meeting where she was informed that Sheridan Center was not going to remove the abusive resident, Pickett left the center that day without clocking out. When Pickett contacted management the next day to inquire about her job status, Sheridan Center told her that it would be best if she no longer worked for them.

On July 7, 2006, Pickett filed a discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Sheridan then offered to reinstate her job. Pickett refused the offer because Sheridan did not provide her back pay and she doubted that she would be protected from future harassment.

Sheridan Center sought a new trial or a reduction in the damages award, but a federal judge in Illinois denied the motions and awarded Pickett back pay and damages compensation. The 7th Circuit Court stated that it is Sheridan Center’s duty to prevent a hostile work environment, even if the harassment is committed by third parties.

——————–

Got a tip about a bad boss that eBossWatch should feature?  Do you want to expose your toxic boss?  Let us know!  Send us an email at tips@ebosswatch.com 

Rate your boss at eBossWatch

Nursing Home Worker Wins Sexual Harassment Case
1 vote, 5.00 avg. rating (97% score)

Reader Feedback

4 Responses to “Nursing Home Worker Wins Sexual Harassment Case”

  1. Ridiculous says:

    This is ridiculous. The woman was given improper training by the company. This could have been avoided with proper guidelines and education.

    First, most people don’t go into facilities until they are physically or mentally/emotional fragile. It is a scientific fact that age related disorders can cause a person’s maturity and judgment to regress. It can be an expected fact that inappropriate sexual behaviors can and will happen. You cannot hold the residents to the same standards or threaten to eject them.

    What should have happened is staff should be given training and education on how to appropriately respond if the situation should arise (no pun intended). Guidelines should be established on an appropriate response from the institution, based on the resident’s capabilities, to counsel, contain or redirect the inappropriate behavior. A few solutions could be, certain residents must be out of the room while it is being cleaned, or you never clean a room alone or you change the sex of the cleaner.

    I thought the response of the institution, while perhaps not communicated clearly, was appropriate, relocating the staff person to a safer environment was proactive. There should not be a change in pay because of this accommodation. There should be extra training and assistance.

    It seems like the employee, while justifiably upset and wanting revenge on a misbehaving resident, failed to understand the population she was serving. The judge was wrong to set this type of precedent.

  2. Barb Jonson says:

    The truth came out about how this company so very poorly handled this whole situation! When I read this below paragraph, I was stunned as someone as the employee who was so much in duress due to what they were going through would NOT make this stuff up!!!:

    “During a meeting to discuss her harassment complaint, VP Operations Nanjean Painter allegedly told Pickett, “Well, you are a pretty girl, what are you doing to make them want to touch you?” Painter also allegedly said that because the first resident only asked Painter for sexual favors and did not try to grab her, the encounter could not be considered sexual harassment.”

    The person who posted by the name of “Ridiculous” is simply ridiculous for sharing their perspective as this was not about a lack of training, nor about money…but simply an issue about their own safety and well-being…nothing more….and definitely nothing less. When an employee comes to management for assistance regarding this type of situation where their well-being is being threatened, the management of this organization were the only ones that were sorely lacking in the area of how to properly handle these type of situations! Being in management means having the ability to solve problems the right way for ALL persons involved. I would never consider placing a loved one in this facility’s care and would certainly never consider working for this place either as sadly, this whole story including an attempt at a cover up of the facts shows clearly that upper management have human resouces skills that are way less than that a baboon. This company’s management personnel need to learn skills about knowing what care is all about as well as nurturing. Shame on them for putting another human being through this and shame on them for not caring and lying and attempting to cover up the truth! The judge read through all the poop this company and their attorneys threw at the wall while hoping some of it stuck, and even tried to get a new trial or a reduction in the damages award but this judge got it right!! My hope is that Danielle Pickett can hold her head up high knowing that she did the right thing and that NO ONE has the right to harass any one else, including residents and managers in a nursing home or any place else!

  3. Mary says:

    This is absurd!

  4. Smith says:

    Well said barb jonson

Leave a Reply