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Harassment allegations roil suburban Chicago city government

In the western Chicago suburbs, a woman who served as DeKalb’s interim city manager said she was placed on leave because she refused to answer questions about whether she was dating one of the city’s aldermen. A few day ago, her employment law attorney filed a workplace discrimination claim that alleges she was subjected to sexual harassment and retaliation in a hostile work environment.

Molly Talkington’s attorney said the mayor and city attorney had both repeatedly asked the interim city manager if she was dating an alderman. After she repeatedly declined to discuss the matter, she was barred from returning to work, a news report states.

“They became very angry with her because they thought she wasn’t cooperating and giving the info they wanted to hear for their own prurient interests,” the attorney told an area newspaper. He added that the mayor and city attorney are also “dredging up events” from before Talkington’s tenure and “claiming the city council didn’t know anything about it.”

The city has announced Talkington made an unauthorized reduction to DeKalb’s contribution to its employee health insurance premiums in order to balance the budget.

Talkington was hired in September 2017 as DeKalb’s finance director and then named interim city manager in June of this year. She was placed on leave on Nov. 5.

In her discrimination complaint, Talkington states that she was subjected to demeaning and humiliating treatment by the mayor, who repeatedly asked her about her dating relationships. She also said the mayor read a text message in front of her and other city employees that he had received that speculated about her love life – an act she said was designed “to harass, humiliate and embarrass” her.

She notes in her complaint that none of the city’s male employees were compelled to disclose information about their dating relationships as conditions of employment.

With the help of an employment law attorney, you too can fight back against inappropriate workplace harassment, discrimination and retaliation.

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