CHICAGO (CN) – A woman claims in court that the owner of the rehab center where she worked sexually harassed her so badly she suffered a panic attack, pestered her with “disgusting” sexual comments, and fired her when she rejected his advances.
Kimberly Strein sued EPS Rehabilitation and its owner, Edward Steffan, in Cook County Court.
Strein says she worked as an administrative assistant from August 2010 to May 2011, and that Steffan sexually harassed her for 5 months, then fired her for resisting his continued advances.
“On or about November 16, 2010, Steffan asked [Strein] how old she was when she first had sex. Steffan also asked her whether she had a lot of oral sex and whether she ‘swallowed’ when engaging in oral sex, to which plaintiff responded, ‘That’s disgusting,'” the complaint states.
It continues: “In or around December 2010, plaintiff was asked to deliver files to Steffan outside of the office. Steffan would hug plaintiff when she brought him files outside of the office.
“While inappropriately hugging plaintiff, Steffan would sometimes comment on her scent and tell her that she ‘smelled nice.’
“In or around January 2011, Steffan told plaintiff that he disliked the boyfriend of one of her coworkers because the boyfriend, a doctor, had been caught having sex with a nurse on his desk. Steffan told plaintiff that if he found his nursing supervisor and the supervisor’s husband having sex on the conference table he wouldn’t mind. Steffan also told plaintiff that if she and her husband wanted to have sex in the office he wouldn’t mind.
“Steffan telephoned plaintiff at the office on March 17, 2011 sounding drunk and repeatedly told her that he loved her. Steffan kept plaintiff on the phone for almost an hour, ignoring her requests to end the call and repeatedly telling her he loved her.
“On or about April 8, 2011 and May 4, 2011, during separate phone calls, Steffan told plaintiff that she was a ‘bad girl’ and that he would have to spank her.
“On or about May 19, 2011, during a one-on-one closed-door meeting with Steffan, plaintiff became so overwhelmed with anxiety as a result of his history of making sexually harassing remarks during closed-door meetings, that she suffered a panic attack.”
Strein says she “found Steffan’s sexually harassing behavior offensive and rejected his advances.” She says she complained to co-workers, but “did not complain to any managers because the person who was sexually harassing her was the company’s owner and she was afraid of losing her job.”
She says she was fired on May 24, 2011, “in retaliation for having opposed Steffan’s continued severe and pervasive sexual harassment.”
She seeks punitive damages for sexual harassment and retaliation
She is represented by Lindsay Foye, with Gardiner, Koch, Weisberg & Wrona.