A political consultant who blew the whistle on alleged sexual harassment inside the political organization of Illinois state House Speaker Mike Madigan (D) has filed a federal lawsuit, WBBM-TV reported.
Ex-campaign worker Alaina Hampton said she suffered illegal repercussions after accusing Madigan campaign aide Kevin Quinn of sexual harassment, according to published reports.
“Not only did the defendants completely fail to respond to my reporting about sexual harassment, they retaliated against me for it,” Hampton told the TV station.
The Illinois Democratic Party, chaired by Madigan, and the House speaker’s political organization are named as defendants. The lawsuit, filed Wednesday afternoon, seeks $350,000 in addition to attorney’s fees, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“She was out, she was not going to be asked to work on any more campaigns the Democratic Party was supporting,” Shelly Kulwin, Hampton’s attorney, said. “That’s retaliation. That’s as crystal clear as it gets.”
A Madigan spokesman said there was no retaliation and that Madigan fired Quinn for alleged “unwanted advances” and “inappropriate text messages” toward Hampton.
Quinn was Hampton’s immediate supervisor in Madigan’s party office, according to reports. He allegedly “sent her 75 text messages, repeatedly complimenting her appearance and asking her out on dates.” She said she repeatedly turned him down and asked him to stop, but he continued.
During a news conference Thursday, Hampton said she filed the lawsuit because she was “unjustly punished” for reporting Quinn’s sustained harassment.
“I was forced to leave a job that I love, derailing my career path,” Hampton said. “My reputation was sullied, and I lost out on key job opportunities as word spread that I was persona non grata” with the state Democratic Party, which Madigan chairs, and his political organization.
Hampton said the harassment stopped after she reported it, the Tribune said. But she decided to leave the political organization so she would not have to continually be in contact with Quinn. Hampton resigned in a letter to Madigan that explained Quinn’s alleged activities.
Hampton also said she wanted to return to the Madigan organization as a campaign worker. But she alleges that she was pushed out after she "tried to work on a race in the 5th House District."
What is the intent of the lawsuit?
The lawsuit is intended to "reveal the full truth of what happened" and compensate Hampton for the alleged wrongful conduct, Kulwin told the Tribune.
“This case is about protecting victims of sexual harassment scandal from retaliation,” Kulwin said. “The purpose of retaliation is to punish and to silence victims who oppose and try to end sexual harassment in the workplace.
“If victims who speak out about sexual harassment are not protected from retaliation, they will stop speaking out,” Kulwin said.