Gracia v. SigmaTron International, Inc., No. 15-3311 (7th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Gracia began working on the SigmaTron assembly line in 1999. Gracia was promoted multiple times and became assembly supervisor in 2004, reporting to Silverman. In 2007, Silverman sent Gracia emails containing photographs of partially nude women in degrading poses. In 2008, he sent Gracia an email with a vulgar photo of her younger sister . Gracia did not object to Silverman and did not inform the human resources department. Gracia knew that Silverman and Executive Vice-president Fairhead (brother of the CEO), were friends; she feared retaliation. In 2008, Silverman wrote Gracia up for tardiness. Gracia had been late several times. Silverman had not previously objected to her schedule and had previously described Gracia‘s attendance as “excellent.” Gracia received late night calls from Silverman, asking her to join him at a party. A few weeks after she declined that invitation, Gracia was suspended, then reported the harassment to human resources. That department turned the matter over to Fairhead. Gracia reported to the EEOC. Weeks later, Gracia purportedly allowed the use of incorrect materials on the assembly line and was terminated. Another employee testified that no other employee had ever been fired for that common mistake and that Silverman had stated that he was out to get Gracia. Gracia sued. The jury rejected a sexual harassment claim. The Seventh Circuit affirmed an award $57,000 in compensatory damages and $250,000 in punitive damages for retaliation.