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Employment Blog

The Ultimate Bait and Switch? Female Job Applicant Who Claims She Was Forced to Perform Sexual Favors as Part of Application Process has no Title VII Claim Because the Job she was Applying for Did Not Exist.

Authored by Sara J. Ackermann
Sara J. Ackermann
Attorney
Wausau Office

Posted on February 26, 2014
Filed under Employment

The story begins when Phil Vanaria, an employee of Cook County's Oak Forest Hospital learns from a friend that Krystal Wilson, an out-of-work massage therapist, was offering to perform massages at her home studio. Vanaria contacted Wilson regarding her services, and suggested there may be some positions open at the Hospital for which she would be qualified. (Yes, gentle reader, you can see where this is headed.) Of course, there was no job, and even if there had been a job, Vanaria did not have authority to hire anybody. He eventually convinced Wilson there was a physical therapist position that was available and encouraged her to apply. Throughout the interview process, Vanaria required Wilson to remove her clothing, kiss him, massage him and manually stimulate him. Vanaria even enlisted the help of a female friend to pose as an HR manager and call Wilson about the position. (Who IS this guy? How does he get another woman to help him with this?) Unfortunately the "HR Manager" indicated that before Wilson could be formally considered, she needed to meet with Vanaria one final time. This was enough to tip Wilson off that the interview process might not be legit (Really?) and she contacted the Hospital directly. (Better late than never sister!) Wilson then brings a Title VII claim alleging sexual discrimination and harassment. The Illinois District Court dismissed her claim, and last week the Seventh Circuit agreed Wilson had no claim because there was no actual job. Wilson v. Cook County, (No. 13-164, 2014 WL 503673 (7th Cir. Feb. 10, 2014).)

Readers, this isn't rocket science. One cannot say they have been denied a job because of sex when there was no job in the first place. However, it is still very, very slimy.