Upcoming Deadline: July 7, 2021. Action may be required to protect your legal rights.

In November 2017, a group of women working at the Cook County Jail filed a lawsuit against the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and Cook County alleging that they and other women working at the Jail (including Cermak Health Services and the Leighton Courthouse), were being sexually harassed by male detainees. The harassment included:

  • Exposure to masturbation by detainees
  • Exposure to exhibitionist behavior by detainees, including naked or partially naked detainees and exposure to penises
  • Groping and grabbing by detainees; and
  • Sexual threats, offensive sexual comments, and lewd gestures by detainees, among other things.

The Complaint alleged that the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and Cook County were taking insufficient steps to prevent that harassment. This lawsuit is ongoing and asks the court to grant money damages and to issue “injunctive relief” (orders from the court) designed to control the sexual harassment.

In 2019, the court “certified” the case as a class action, which means it was proceeding on behalf of the women who filed it and also on behalf of other women with similar claims. (A list of women who were not part of the Proposed Class, who hold or have held certain positions can be found here.) The court appointed lawyers from the five law firms listed below to represent the class.

IMPORTANT: The class that was initially certified has been “decertified,” which means the case is no longer a class action.

Because this case was decertified as a class action this impacts your legal rights.

It means:

  • You cannot rely on the class to prosecute sexual harassment claims for you.
    If you want to pursue sexual harassment claims, you must join the case (“intervene”) or file your own case.
  • If you do not, then any claims you may have for past sexual harassment by detainees might be barred by statutes of limitations (deadlines for bringing claims).
  • If you want to join in the already ongoing case, then you must act quickly. The Court has set a deadline of July 7, 2021 for women to intervene (join).

The Court has not decided in favor of the women who filed the suit or the defendants in the case (the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and Cook County). The case continues. The five law firms listed below are continuing to work together as a team to represent women who will be joining the case and are available to discuss your rights with you.