Ex-secretary's lawsuit alleges sexual harrassment by Madison County sheriff

News-DemocratNovember 26, 2013 

The attorney for former secretary to Madison County Sheriff Robert Hertz filed a two-count lawsuit in federal court in East St. Louis Tuesday alleging Hertz sexually harassed her and created a hostile work environment.

"This doesn't surprise me in light of the circumstances over the past few months," Hertz said of the suit. "This is where it has got to go -- to a public forum. This is where the claim will be vetted, in a court of law."

Linton's attorney, Eric Rhein of Belleville, declined to comment about the suit.

The suit names Hertz both individually and as sheriff, and Madison County as defendants in the case.

Jaimie Linton's lawsuit alleges Hertz violated the Civil Rights Act by creating a hostile work environment through a "pattern of abusive, harassing and totally inappropriate workplace behavior towards (Linton)." Count one asks the court award Linton $1 million in compensatory damages, $1 million in punitive damages. The second count alleges Hertz intentionally inflicted emotional distress upon Linton, that he abused his "high political and powerful position" and engaged in "extreme and outrageous" conduct, which caused Linton emotional distress. Count two also asks for a punitive damages award of $1 million and a compensatory damages award of $1 million.

Earlier this year Linton filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging Hertz harassed her when she was his secretary. In her complaint, Linton alleged that Hertz:

* Made comments referring to her "secret life" and "sinister side."

* Repeatedly threatened her job and questioned her morals and character.

* Followed her during her lunch hour.

* Emailed Linton with non-work-related issues when they were not in the office and became angry with Linton when she didn't respond quickly enough.

* Threatened to have a private investigator follow her.

* Asked a county information systems person to pull all Linton's telephone and computer records, then told the computer person not to discuss it with anyone because it was a criminal matter.