Sexual harassment allegations against Cook County employee lead to workplace restrictions

Posted2/12/2020 5:47 PM

A special assistant working in Cook County government has been barred from Board President Toni Preckwinkle's offices over allegations of sexual harassment against another employee.

The restricted employee works in the county's Office of the Chief Administrative Officer. He was accused of sexually harassing one of Preckwinkle's employees, according to a January report from Independent Inspector General Patrick Blanchard's office.


The inspector general couldn't sustain the allegation that Preckwinkle's office failed to act on the complaint of sexual harassment against the employee, concluding that staffers "responded appropriately and according to the County policies, rules, and regulations as to the confirmed acts of sexual harassment by the subject Special Assistant against the victim."

The person was minimally disciplined for the matter and was barred from entering Preckwinkle's offices where the victim works, subject to certain conditions, according to the report.

In a statement Preckwinkle said she's made it a priority to "ensure that all of our employees work in an environment that is safe and welcoming" and noted the county has done "even more work to fulfill that commitment."

That work was brought on by sexual harassment allegations against Preckwinkle's former chief of staff, John Keller. Preckwinkle demanded Keller's resignation in September 2018 but admitted she knew of an "unsubstantiated rumor" months before.

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