(CN) – A former staffer for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan sued his campaign committee and the state’s Democratic Party, claiming she was forced out of her job after reporting sexual harassment by a supervisor.
Alaina Hampton filed a lawsuit Wednesday in Chicago federal court accusing the Democratic Party of Illinois and Friends of Michael J. Madigan of retaliation. Hampton is represented by Shelly Kulwin of Chicago firm Kulwin, Masciopinto & Kulwin.
According to the complaint, from August 2012 to March 2016, Hampton worked on various political campaigns for Madigan’s committee, including for Illinois State Representatives Sue Scherer, Kathleen Willis and Juliana Stratton as well as Chicago Alderman Deb Mell.
Following the success of Stratton's campaign, her supervisor Marty Quinn and Madigan told Hampton that they wanted her to have a permanent position within the Illinois Democratic Party and assigned her to work at Chicago Heights Economic Development Corporation, the lawsuit states.
Hampton worked on three campaigns in 2016, during which she says her direct supervisor was Kevin Quinn, Marty’s brother and a staffer for Madigan.
She claims Kevin Quinn – who is not a party to the lawsuit – harassed her in his pursuit of a romantic and sexual relationship with her.
During a five-month period, he allegedly called her late at night and sent dozens of text messages, urging her to go out with him and telling her she was “smoking hot,” even though she repeatedly told him she wanted to keep their relationship strictly professional.
Hampton claims the harassment continued until February 2017, when she reported Kevin Quinn’s behavior to his brother, including reading to Marty Quinn some of the allegedly harassing text messages.
According to the complaint, Marty Quinn suggested that Hampton block his brother’s phone number on and told her that she would no longer be required to report to Kevin Quinn directly.
“Despite this alleged assurance, Alderman Quinn stated that he wanted Ms. Hampton’s next assignment for the Madigan defendants to be working as a precinct officer,” the complaint states. “However, if Ms. Hampton worked as a precinct officer, she would again be forced to work with Kevin Quinn, the very supervisor who was sexually harassing her.”
Hampton claims she was forced to quit in April 2017 “because she could no longer suffer the crippling fear and anxiety she experienced.”
Later that year, she wrote a letter to Speaker Madigan about Kevin Quinn’s alleged harassment with the hope that she would be allowed to return to work on upcoming campaigns, but he didn’t respond or take action against Quinn, according to the lawsuit.
Instead, Hampton claims Madigan arranged a meeting with his attorney at a coffee shop.
"During the November 15, 2017 meeting, which lasted no more than one hour, Ms.
[Heather] Vaught minimized Kevin Quinn’s sexual harassment, told Ms. Hampton that she was not sexually harassed or subjected to a sexually hostile work environment because she was not an 'employee,’ and flippantly accused Ms. Hampton of wanting to get a ‘front page newspaper story’ and money," the complaint states.
Hampton says Kevin Quinn continued to work for Madigan until he was fired in February 2018, a day after she was interviewed by the Chicago Tribune about her allegations. She claims she was never told about any investigation by Madigan’s committee or the Illinois Democratic Party.
“The Madigan defendants retaliated against Ms. Hampton for asserting her rights to be free from unlawful harassment and a sexually hostile work environment by, among other ways, failing to hire her to work as a political consultant for the 2018 campaign cycle,” the lawsuit states.
Madigan's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment by phone Thursday morning.
Hampton seeks compensatory and punitive damages. Her attorney, Kulwin, also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.