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Saturday, December 9, 2023
Courthouse News Service
Saturday, December 9, 2023 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

No Team Players at That Job, Man Says

CHICAGO (CN) - A man claims his co-workers put homosexual ads, women's underwear, tampons and a wooden penis at his desk - and he was fired for complaining to his boss.

Antonio Melone sued the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority in Cook Country Court. The MPEA is the only defendant, though Melone identifies his alleged sexual harassers in the complaint.

Melone, 54, says worked for the MPEA from 1996 to 2011. He claims he was fired after complaining that two of his former co-workers, Keith Johnson and Gary Szewczyk, sexually harassed him at work.

"Johnson and Szewczyk would call plaintiff insulting names and would make harassing comments about plaintiff's sexual orientation and ethnic origin," the complaint states.

"Johnson and Szewczyk would insult and humiliate plaintiff by placing homosexual advertisements, pictures, posters, female undergarments, and other suggestive and professionally negative items around plaintiff's design[at]ed work area.

"Johnson and Szewczyk would place objects such as tampons, pacifiers, stuffed animals, a piece of wood cut and painted to resemble a penis, and a jar of Vaseline on plaintiff's workplace."

Melone says he complained to the Pier Authority's carpenter foreman Ken Skwarski, and assistant director of operations Mike Kinney, but "no effective action was taken... to stop Johnson and Szewcyk from engaging in their harassing behaviors."

He says that "on or about June 24, 2011, plaintiff complained to Skwarski about being sexually harassed at the workplace.

"On or about June 24, 2011, plaintiff was discharged by Kinney.

"Kinney stated that plaintiff's services were no longer needed, but failed to provide any explanation of, or any documentation indicating MPEA's reason for the discharge," Melone claims.

He seeks reinstatement, restitution of lost wages, and punitive damages for sexual harassment, discharge based on age, retaliatory discharge, and emotional distress.

He is represented by Stephen Potts, of Des Plaines.

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