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On March 12, 2018, a consolidated complaint (combining two cases, Howard, et al. v. Cook County Sheriff’s Office, et al., Case No. 17-cv-8146 and Wilson, et al. v.  Cook County Sheriff’s Office, et al., Case No. 17-cv-8248) was filed by twelve women, on behalf of themselves and all other women employed at the Jail, Leighton Courthouse, and Cermak Health Services. The Complaint was filed as a class action against the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and Cook County in the Federal Court of the Northern District of Illinois.

The Complaint alleges that women working in the Cook County Jail, Leighton Courthouse, and Cermak Health Services have been subjected to ongoing severe or pervasive sexual harassment including:

(a) Exposure to regular masturbation by detainees;
(b) Exposure to exhibitionist behavior by detainees, including naked or partially naked detainees and exposure to penises;
(c) Groping and grabbing by detainees; and
(d) Daily sexual threats, offensive sexual comments and lewd gestures by detainees, among other things.

The Complaint further alleges that despite the open and obvious nature of the harassment and numerous complaints by women employees, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office and Cook County failed to take meaningful steps to stop the sexually harassing
behavior. A copy of the Complaint can be found here.

Who is included in the proposed class?

All women who have been employed at any time since April 23, 2015 by:

(a) The Cook County Sheriff’s Office at the Jail;
(b) The Cook County Sheriff’s Office in Court Services as deputies at the Leighton Courthouse; or
(c) Cook County in positions with Cermak Health Services (the provider of daily healthcare for detainees) at the Jail.

A list of women who are not part of the Proposed Class, who hold or have held certain positions can be found here.

If you want additional information or to submit information to us or inquire about this case, visit the “Submit Information” area of this website.   If you would rather speak directly to an attorney representing the Proposed Class, you can contact them using the phone numbers listed in the side panel.