Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 15

Case: 1:18-cv-04073 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/12/18 Page 1 of 15 PageID #:1

IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE
NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS, EASTERN DIVISION

LORI McINERNEY, )
)
Plaintiff, )
)
v. ) Case No. 18-cv-04073
)
CAREERBUILDER, LLC, )
)
Defendant. )

COMPLAINT
For her complaint against CareerBuilder, LLC (“CareerBuilder”), Plaintiff, Lori

McInerney, by her undersigned counsel Tarpey Wix LLC, states the following:

SUMMARY OF THE CASE

1. For more than a decade Lori McInerney had a successful career and was a highly-

valued, upper management employee at CareerBuilder. During that time and as experienced by

most other women employed by CareerBuilder, McInerney endured a corporate culture which

turned a blind eye towards the sexual harassment, discrimination and bullying of women

employees. CareerBuilder has created a male-dominated culture where degrading, discriminatory

conduct towards women permeated every-day life. This conduct toward women ranges from

sophomoric to predatory; but it is always discriminatory and is the norm. In addition to their

professional responsibilities, women working at CareerBuilder must endure objectification for the

entertainment and sport of their male counterparts. Conversely, men at CareerBuilder go about

their jobs and treat their female counterparts as objects undeserving of mutual, professional

respect. This culture is so firmly entrenched at CareerBuilder, by its senior management, that

women are afraid to report sexual misconduct and sex discrimination for fear of adversely

impacting their careers or being outright fired. Indeed, as alleged herein, even the women who
Case: 1:18-cv-04073 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/12/18 Page 2 of 15 PageID #:2

make it to senior executive level positions at CareerBuilder join in the discrimination and abusive

conduct towards their female subordinates.

2. In order to succeed at CareerBuilder, McInerney endured this environment—as

many women do—and had an extremely productive career for several years. Like her female

colleagues at CareerBuilder, for years she feared she would be fired if she spoke up about the

discriminatory conduct.

3. However, once things became so bad that McInerney had to seek medical attention,

was admitted to the emergency room, and consulted a neurologist because of her stress-related

conditions, McInerney could stand it no longer and reported the discriminatory conduct to upper

management and human resources. CareerBuilder’s response to help out a valued employee in

distress: McInenery was fired. CareerBuilder’s long-standing culture of discrimination and

harassment of women should no longer be tolerated as it is in violation of Title VII of the Civil

Rights Act and Illinois common law.

THE PARTIES

4. McInerney is an Illinois resident and a former sales and marketing executive of

CareerBuilder. McInerney was the Claimant in Charge No. 440-2017-05187 before the Equal

Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and received a Dismissal and Notice of Rights,

through counsel, on March 12, 2018.

5. CareerBuilder is a Delaware limited liability company with its principal place of

business in Chicago.

VENUE AND JURISDICTION

2
Case: 1:18-cv-04073 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/12/18 Page 3 of 15 PageID #:3

6. This Court has federal question jurisdiction over this matter pursuant to 28 U.S.C.

§1331 because the matter in question arises under the laws of the United States. This Court has

supplemental jurisdiction over the state law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1367.

7. Venue is proper in this district pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §1391(b) because a substantial

part of the events or omissions that give rise to this case occurred in this District.

FACTS COMMON TO ALL COUNTS

8. McInerney began her career with CareerBuilder in approximately September of

2002. Over her tenure there, McInerney held the positions of Regional Sales Director, Director of

Strategic Initiatives, and Director of Marketing. During her time at CareerBuilder, McInerney

received upwards of eight promotions. McInerney was never demoted. McInerney did not receive

a single negative performance review during her time of being employed by CareerBuilder for

more than a decade.

9. In September of 2015, after taking a stint off of work to raise her children,

McInerney returned to CareerBuilder full-time at the urging of CareerBuilder’s Chief Financial

Officer, Kevin Knapp, initially in a position entitled Director of Strategic Initiatives.

10. In one example of the sexist, discriminatory culture fostered by CareerBuilder, on

January 23, 2016, the last night of the “CareerBuilder Challenge” customer event, McInerney was

in the hotel bar with many senior sales executives, including CareerBuilder’s Chief Sales Officer

John Smith and another male senior sales executive, Douglas Hoodack. Several customers of

CareerBuilder were likewise in attendance.

11. As McInerney said “good night” to the crowd, Hoodack leaned into her and stated

in a hushed tone, “I’m coming to your room.” At first McInerney thought he was joking as this

3
Case: 1:18-cv-04073 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/12/18 Page 4 of 15 PageID #:4

was not unusual to hear from the senior sales executives at CareerBuilder, but as she walked away

from the bar, Hoodack followed her.

12. Smith, CareerBuilder’s Chief Sales Officer who is in charge of CareerBuilder’s

entire sales team, watched Hoodack follow McInerney out of the bar and McInerney even noticed

that Smith gave Hoodack a wry, smiling nod of approval when the two made eye contact—a

proverbial “wink and a nod.”

13. Hoodack then proceeded to follow McInerney to her room and repeatedly said “you

know you want it, I’m coming to your room.” McInerney repeatedly told him “no” but that only

caused Hoodack to become more aggressive, stating: “What the f*ck are you going to do? I’m not

leaving.” Fortuitously for McInerney, a customer happened to walk by at that time and Hoodack

relented in the face of a witness.

14. McInerney did not immediately report this incident because she thought she would

be fired for doing so. This behavior was very common at CareerBuilder and it was common

knowledge that if a female employee reported sexual harassment to Human Resources, that

employee would be fired or red-flagged as a problem employee. Because it was apparent from the

encounter that CareerBuilder’s Chief Sales Officer was aware of what was happening and seemed

to even condone Hoodack’s harassing conduct, McInerney viewed reporting the conduct at that

time as futile and detrimental to her career.

15. Another example of the sexist, discriminatory culture created by CareerBuilder,

occurred when Hoodack followed another female employee of CareerBuilder to her room in a

hotel, ignored her requests to leave her alone, and only relented when she screamed. This

employee also did not report the incident because she thought she would be fired. However,

4
Case: 1:18-cv-04073 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/12/18 Page 5 of 15 PageID #:5

several other CareerBuilder employees became aware of this incident and, ultimately, so did upper

management but, again, did nothing about it.

16. A third example of the sexist, discriminatory culture created by CareerBuilder,

occurred at a gathering of the sales team after the Company holiday party. At the holiday “after

party” and in the presence of several other employees and senior executives, a senior sales

executive, Jason Lovelace, asked McIneney: “Would you f*ck a married guy like me?” McInerney

left the party immediately.

17. Again, McInerney did not immediately report this event to Human Resources

because this behavior was very common at CareerBuilder and it was common knowledge that if a

female employee reported sexual harassment to Human Resources, that employee would be fired

or red-flagged as a problem employee. Further, as was the case with the other instances, there

were other senior sales executives present at the time of the harassment who did nothing to prevent

it despite upper management’s awareness.

18. The foregoing examples are typical of conduct of men at CareerBuilder toward their

women co-workers, especially when those males are in a position of power relative to their women

co-workers.

19. In yet another example of the way women are singled out for mistreatment at

CareerBuilder, and mistreatment of women is condoned at CareerBuilder, in February 2016,

McInerney was approached again by Knapp, CareerBuilder’s CFO, about a new position—

Director of Marketing of Aurico, a company owned by CareerBuilder.

20. McInerney immediately expressed reservations about the new position to Knapp

because McInerney would be reporting to Mary Delaney, who, although a woman herself who had

climbed the corporate ladder at CareerBuilder, had a reputation for being particularly hard on

5
Case: 1:18-cv-04073 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/12/18 Page 6 of 15 PageID #:6

female employees and taking pride in the fact that most women who work for her quit. In essence,

it was known that Ms. Delaney took pride in being one of the only females at the company who

could tolerate the culture and be promoted to one of the highest positions at the company and did

what she could to join in the abuse of female employees.

21. Knapp repeatedly assured McInenery that the Company “will have your back” and

that “your job will never be in jeopardy.” McInerney eventually accepted the position at Knapp’s

urging and based on his assurances that CareerBuilder would not tolerate abusive or discriminatory

conduct by Delaney.

22. Delaney’s abusive and discriminatory conduct was pervasive throughout

McInerney’s time working with her. For example, Delaney made disparaging comments on

McInerney’s status as a recent divorcee and single mother. She also made numerous references to

her personal life and physical attributes—including several references to her breasts. Delaney did

not make similar comments to male employees—either about their physical appearance or marital

status.

23. Men and women were also subjected to drastically different standards under

Delaney. Indeed, Delaney bragged on several occasions of how she likes to make women cry in

the work place because they need to “toughen up.” In September of 2016, Delaney admitted to

McInerney that she tried to make McInerney cry on several occasions and said that she did not

employ similar tactics with men. Delaney also repeatedly demanded that McInerney take on

additional, extremely time-consuming tasks that were not part of her job. Male employees were

not treated similarly. McInerney was incessantly berated, ridiculed and harassed by Delaney, but

there were no “coaching sessions” or warnings of adverse employment action.

6
Case: 1:18-cv-04073 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/12/18 Page 7 of 15 PageID #:7

24. McInerney has received extensive medical attention as a direct result of her time

working at CareerBuilder and the consistent stress resulting from the bullying by Delaney. Shortly

after she began working with Delaney, McInerney started experiencing severe migraine headaches

which she had never experienced before. McInerney sought medical attention from her general

practitioner on several occasions for these headaches and was prescribed a number of different

medications. Eventually, the migraine headaches got so bad that McInerney was rushed to the

emergency room at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. The emergency room doctors gave her the

“migraine cocktail” intravenously.

25. Later that week and at the suggestion of the emergency room staff, McInerney

consulted her neurologist, Dr. Armita Bijari. McInerney still sees Dr. Bijari regularly who has

diagnosed McInenery with migraine disorder. Dr. Bijari believes the migraine disorder is stress-

induced as a result of working in CareerBuilder’s abusive culture, especially with Delaney, and

Dr. Bijari specifically encouraged McInerney to stop working with Delaney. To this day,

McInerney remains on a preventative medicine every day as well as three different types of

medicine she takes when she gets a migraine. During the entire time she worked with Delaney,

McInerney suffered sleep loss and nausea related to the stress-induced migraines.

26. Moreover, this is not the first time that Delaney’s abusive conduct has caused an

employee of CareerBuilder to seek medical attention for stress-related symptoms. Another female

employee working for Delaney before McInerney was admitted to the emergency room due to the

stress unreasonably imposed by Delaney. On information and belief, this female employee’s

doctor wrote a note to CareerBuilder’s Human Resources Department stating that she should not

work for Delaney due to the stress caused by Delaney’s abusive behavior.

7
Case: 1:18-cv-04073 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/12/18 Page 8 of 15 PageID #:8

27. Thus, CareerBuilder was well aware that working with Delaney had caused others

to seek medical attention.

28. Although McInerney was warned by other CareerBuilder executives not to

challenge Delaney for her mistreatment of women because she was vindictive, McInerney

discussed her abusive conduct on several occasions with Ben Goldberg, Aurico’s Chief Executive

Officer, as well as Rosemary Haefner, CareerBuilder’s Chief Human Resources Officer. During

these meetings, both Mr. Goldberg and Ms. Haefner acknowledged Delaney’s history of abusive

conduct towards women. Indeed, during a meeting with Ms. Haefner on February 21, 2017, Ms.

Haefner indicated that CareerBuilder management had previously spoken with Ms. Delaney about

her disparate treatment of female employees and the need that Delaney change her ways in that

regard.

29. After hearing McInerney’s complaints, Ms. Haefner stated “the old Mary is back.”

She stated further that CareerBuilder Human Resources was aware of Delaney’s abusive conduct,

but CareerBuilder’s Chief Executive Officer, Matt Ferguson, would not punish her because of her

worth to the Company.

30. In McInerney’s 2016 fourth quarter performance review, the quarter immediately

before she was terminated, McInerney’s manager noted that Benjamin Goldberg and Mary

Delaney were “difficult.” Id. (“Ben and Mary [are] two difficult and very involved stakeholders”).

31. Ms. Haefner stated further that, despite previous admonishment from the human

resources department, Delaney would not be punished because of her status with the Company.

Mr. Goldberg or Ms. Haefner instructed McInerney to “grin and bear it” when it came to working

for Delaney and being subjected to her abusive conduct. As it did in all instances of sexual

8
Case: 1:18-cv-04073 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/12/18 Page 9 of 15 PageID #:9

harassment, CareerBuilder turned a blind eye towards Delaney’s abuse of female employees and

discriminatory conduct.

32. Before she brought these issues to human resources, McInerney was known as an

invaluable contributor to CareerBuilder’s sales team. For example, prior to her discussions with

human resources, Mark Landwer, a top sales executive, requested that McInerney be transferred

out of Aurico to his team. John Lenzen, CareerBuilder’s Chief Marketing Officer, responded that

McInerney’s involvement with Aurico was too valuable and he could not afford to lose her.

33. Shortly after McInerney went to human resources to voice her complaints, she was

fired. Just three weeks after a C-level executive at CareerBuilder indicated that McInerney was

“too valuable” to transfer, and after McInerney spoke to human resources, McInerney was told

that her position with Aurico had been “eliminated.” Ms. Haefner informed her of her termination

on March 15, 2017.

34. Ms. Haefner also falsely informed McInerney that the reason for her termination

was that several marketing positions, including the one being held by McInerney, were being

eliminated. McInerney has since learned that the only marketing position that was “eliminated”

at that time was her’s. Thus, it is clear that CareerBuilder’s rationale for her termination—that the

position had been eliminated with several others—was pretextual. The real reason CareerBuilder

unlawfully terminated McInerney was to silence her reports about its abusive, discriminatory

culture toward women.

35. McInerney has spoken to at least ten other women—some still with CareerBuilder,

some not—who have remarkably similar stories about their experience of being sexually harassed

and abused by the sales executives at CareerBuilder and about being bullied by Delaney.

9
Case: 1:18-cv-04073 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/12/18 Page 10 of 15 PageID #:10

36. CareerBuilder’s assertions that McInerney was fired because her position was

eliminated along with others and that she was terminated based on performance were pretextual.

She was terminated because she complained about the discriminatory culture at CareerBuilder and

Delaney’s abusive conduct.

37. Prior to McInerney taking the position under Delaney she had a conversation about

the position with Scott Helmes, SVP of Product Management, and CFO Knapp. They told

McInerney at that time that they needed a “high level” marketing executive who could stand up to

Delaney and desired someone at the “Director” level as was McInerney. This was because,

according to Helmes and Knapp, Delaney had long reputation of abusing female marketing

employees such that they either quit or she had them fired. Thus, Knapp and Helmes, as top senior

executives at CareerBuilder, were well aware of Delaney’s reputation of treating female employees

different than males.

38. Shortly after McInerney began working with Delaney, and her fears about Delaney

were realized, McInerney reported her gender discrimination to several people on several

occasions. McInerney raised the issue of Delaney’s targeted abuse to Rosemary Haefner, the Chief

Human Resources Officer, two or three times. McInerney also raised the issue with Vice President

of Human Resources, Jade Augustine, two or three times. McInerney also raised the issue with

Kevin Knapp, the CFO, two or three times. Interesting enough, CareerBuilder’s Human Resources

professionals failed to make any notes in McInerney’s employee file regarding several of these

meetings.

39. Another on of McInerney’s bosses, Aurico CEO Benjamin Goldberg, similarly

advised her that he knew Delaney had a reputation of being especially difficult with other female

employees, but that McInerney would simply have to find a way to work with her.

10
Case: 1:18-cv-04073 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/12/18 Page 11 of 15 PageID #:11

40. In the years leading up to her termination, McInerney never once received a

negative review. To the contrary, her reviews stated that McInerney was consistently “above

average” and “successful.”

41. McInerney’s performance reviews demonstrate that she consistently performed

“above average” or was deemed “successful” and refute any allegation that McInerney’s

termination was performance-based.

42. For example, in her performance review for the first quarter of 2015, Ms.

McInerney’s manager described her as “Above Average” and “always enthusiastic.” Her second

quarter performance review states that she was “Above Average” and had “done a great job” and

was “proactive.” In her third quarter 2015 performance review, McInerney was again “Above

Average” and she stated that she was hungry for “a bigger role with more responsibility.”

43. In her Q4 2015 review, McInerney was “Above Average.” Her manager, Scott

Helmes, stated that it was “great having Lori back” and that he knew he had a “trusted person on

[his] side.” He stated further that “Lori has jumped right in and is making an impact! This is

especially true of the PGA/Find Your Calling project.”

44. Likewise, Helmes described McInerney’s transition to Aurico as “Successful.” He

stated that he was “excited with the progress you [McInerney] have made in the new Product

Marketing role at Aurico. This role seems to suit your skills and capabilities very well!”

McInerney’s other manager echoed this sentiment in her Q2 2016 review: “Lori has made many

strides in accommodating and balancing two high-level executives at Aurico.” She further noted

that McInerney was “Successful” and “great at relationship building.”

11
Case: 1:18-cv-04073 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/12/18 Page 12 of 15 PageID #:12

45. McInerney was again “Successful” in her Q3 2016 review. Her manager noted that

“Lori took on quite a bit outside her role to help prepare her Aurico partners… Her help was

invaluable to the success Aurico had at the event.”

46. In Q4 2016, the quarter immediately before McInerney was terminated, she was

again evaluated by her superiors as “Successful.” Her manager noted that Benjamin Goldberg and

Mary Delaney were “difficult,” specifically stating that “Ben and Mary [are] two difficult and very

involved stakeholders”.

47. CareerBuilder has no documents in McInerney’s personnel file indicating that her

performance was substandard, but it does have comments from a third-party acknowledging that

Mary Delaney was “difficult” on Ms. McInerney.

COUNT I
DISCRIMINATION IN VIOLATION OF TITLE VII

48. McInerney incorporates paragraphs 1 through 47 as if fully restated here.

49. Title VII makes it unlawful for any employer “to discriminate against any

individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment,

because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-

2(a)(1). This language encompasses a prohibition on sexual harassment in the workplace.

50. In this case, CareerBuilder discriminated against McInerney on the basis of her sex

in violation of Title VII by:

a. Creating a hostile work environment where abusive, demeaning conduct toward

women, including that of Delaney, was the norm and was condoned by upper

management;

12
Case: 1:18-cv-04073 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/12/18 Page 13 of 15 PageID #:13

b. Creating an environment in which women believed that they were forced to submit

to degrading sexual conduct in order to keep their jobs or otherwise adversely

impacting their careers;

c. Firing McInerney when she reported Delaney’s discriminatory conduct toward her.

WHEREFORE, McInerney respectfully requests a judgment in her favor and against

CareerBuilder finding that CareerBuilder unlawfully and intentionally discriminated against

McInerney and that McInerney was damaged by said conduct; awarding Ms. McInerney

compensatory damages in an amount be determined at trial but not less than $75,000 back pay,

front pay, punitive damages, and attorneys’ fees and costs; and awarding any other relief this Court

deems just and proper.

COUNT II
RETALIATORY DISCHARGE

51. McInerney incorporates paragraphs 1 through 47 as if fully restated here.

52. CareerBuilder’s conduct outlined above constitutes retaliatory discharge under

Illinois law.

53. McInerney was discharged because she reported discriminatory conduct to

CareerBuilder.

54. The termination violates explicit mandate of public policy outlined in Title VII, the

Illinois Human Rights Act, the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance, and elsewhere.

55. McInerney was damaged by the retaliatory discharge.

WHEREFORE, Ms. McInerney respectfully requests a judgment in her favor and against

CareerBuilder finding that CareerBuilder’s conduct constitutes an unlawful retaliatory discharge

against McInerney and that McInerney was damaged by said conduct; awarding Ms. McInerney

13
Case: 1:18-cv-04073 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/12/18 Page 14 of 15 PageID #:14

compensatory damages in an amount be determined at trial but not less than $75,000 and punitive

damages; and awarding any other relief this Court deems just and proper.

COUNT III
INTENTIONAL INFLICTION OF EMOTIONAL DISTRESS

56. McInerney incorporates paragraphs 1 through 47 as if fully restated here.

57. Through its conduct outlined above, CareerBuilder is liable for intentional

infliction of emotion distress on McInerney.

58. CareerBuilder’s conduct and that of its agents was extreme and outrageous in the

following respects:

a. Creating a culture of fear in which women are afraid to report sexual misconduct

toward women and gender discrimination for fear of adversely impacting their

careers;

b. Creating a culture in which discriminatory, degrading conduct toward women

permeated everyday life and was the norm;

c. Pressuring McInerney to work for Mary Delaney, knowing that Delaney had a

history of extreme abuse specifically targeted toward women;

d. Ignoring McInerney’s complaints about Delaney when she did in fact direct

degrading, discriminatory conduct toward McInerney, exactly as everyone

expected.

59. As alleged above, CareerBuilder’s management was aware of Delaney’s history of

abusive conduct, condoned it, and subjected McInerney to it knowing that it was likely to occur.

60. McInerney suffered and continues to suffer severe emotional distress in the form of

reoccurring migraine headaches which have necessitated consistent medical treatment and care.

14
Case: 1:18-cv-04073 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/12/18 Page 15 of 15 PageID #:15

WHEREFORE, Ms. McInerney respectfully requests a judgment in her favor and against

CareerBuilder finding that CareerBuilder unlawfully and intentionally inflicted emotional distress

upon McInerney and that McInerney was damaged by said conduct; awarding Ms. McInerney

compensatory damages in an amount be determined at trial but not less than $100,000 and punitive

damages; and awarding any other relief this Court deems just and proper.

DATED: June 12, 2018 LORI McINERNEY

By: /s/ Daniel W. Tarpey
One of Her Attorneys

Daniel W. Tarpey
David G. Wix
Matthew M. Showel
TARPEY WIX LLC
225 W. Wacker Dr., Ste. 1515
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 948 - 9090

15