West Frankfort business owner sued for sexual harassment - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

West Frankfort business owner sued for sexual harassment

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EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. -- A lawsuit filed in Federal Court claims a West Frankfort business owner has sexually harassed her employees for years, creating sexually hostile work environment. 

The complaint accuses Joyce Fogleman, owner of J&S Professional Pharmacy, of relentless sexual harassment, unwelcome advances, and requests for sexual favors. 

The lawsuit was filed by Wendy Blades, who worked at the Pharmacy for more than a dozen years. She claims she was unlawfully fired from her job in March of 2017.

Among the allegations against Fogleman: she forced employees to kiss her in order to receive their paychecks, she spanked employees, and that she stripped naked while at work. 

The complaint also claims the consistent sexual harassment by Fogleman led Blades to suffer from high blood pressure, anxiety and depression. After she took time off to deal with the medical issues, Blades' claims she was fired from J&S.

Blades' Attorney Mark Schuver says he's never heard anything like the allegations in more than 30 years in law. He adds that during his initial investigation he spoke to at least one other employee who verified the claims.

Fogleman's attorney John Kauerauf told News 3 Blades is a disgruntled former employee making false allegations. Fogleman declined an on-camera interview, but in a statement said: 

I know the truth.  My customers know the truth.  Most importantly God knows the truth.  I want to thank all of the thousands of people who have reached out to me today either in person or through social media and who have offered their support. The truth always prevails.  I am confident that I will be vindicated  once all the facts come before the Court.

Last week a federal judge ruled that the case could move forward to a jury trial. Right now, the two sides are engaging in the discovery process and a trial is scheduled for next December.

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