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Insurance broker employee claims anti-gay harassment
by Matt Simonette
2013-10-07

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An employee of online insurance broker GoHealth, LLC, has filed complaints with the Illinois Department of Labor and the City of Chicago Council on Human Relations, alleging one of the company's vice-presidents verbally harassed him.

Sean O'Connor of Chicago worked as a media associate for GoHealth until April of this year. According to the complaints, he was attending a work function at John Barleycorn in River North and speaking with colleagues when GoHealth Vice-President of Sales Scott Sullivan approached their group. O'Connor said Sullivan joined in the conversation.

Very suddenly and without provocation, Sullivan clenched his fists and twice called O'Connor a "faggot motherfucker," going close enough to O'Connor as to make him fear for his safety.

Sullivan walked away, but then complained to GoHealth's CEO, Clint Jones. Jones asked O'Connor to leave the party; Sullivan had told him that he was "causing trouble," the complaints stated.

O'Connor did not return to work following the confrontation. He received an apology from Sullivan via email the following day, but still felt uncomfortable being around his colleagues, he said.

"I needed some time to go over what happened," O'Connor said. "It didn't seem like a place I could be productive anymore."

O'Connor said that part of his job was selling the GoHealth office as a desirable place to work, something he felt that he could no longer honestly do. He went on unpaid leave connected with FMLA ( the Family and Medical Leave Act ).

"By the time that expired, I couldn't do the job rationally—apology or not, I didn't see myself passing this guy at the coffee machine every morning," O'Connor said.

O'Connor has found a new job, but is contemplating legal action against his former employer. He said that he experienced panic attacks and emotional distress after what happened.

"I'm not trying to play the victim," he said. "But people still need to know that these kinds of things go on."

O'Connor's attorney, Betty Tsamis, said, "This was a professional interaction, but that kind of language is obviously not appropriate under any circumstances."

In August, GoHealth was awarded the right to sell subsidized plans under the Affordable Care Act. In June it was named as one of the city's "101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For" by the National Association for Business Resources.

When reached by Windy City Times, Brad Burd, general counsel for GoHealth, would not comment on the complaints.

On Mon, Oct 7, 2013 at 8:58 AM, Jean Albright wrote:

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On Oct 7, 2013, at 7:19 AM, Matt Simonette wrote:

Insurance broker employee claims anti-gay harassment

By Matt Simonette

An employee of online insurance broker GoHealth, LLC, has filed complaints with the Illinois Department of Labor and the City of Chicago Council on Human Relations, alleging that he was verbally harassed by one of the company's vice-presidents.

Sean O'Connor of Chicago worked as a Media Associate for GoHealth until April of this year. According to the complaints, he was attending a work function at John Barley Corn in River North and speaking with colleagues, when their group was approached by GoHealth Vice-President of Sales Scott Sullivan. O'Connor said Sullivan joined in the conversation.

Very suddenly and without provocation, Sullivan clenched his fists and twice called O'Connor a "faggot motherfucker," going close enough to O'Connor as to make him fear for his safety.

Sullivan walked away, but then complained to GoHealth's CEO, Clint Jones. Jones asked O'Connor to leave the party; Sullivan had told him that he was "causing trouble," said the complaints.

O'Connor did not return to work following the confrontation. He received an apology from Sullivan via email the following day, but still felt uncomfortable being around his colleagues, he said.

"I needed some time to go over what happened," O'Connor said. "It didn't seem like a place I could be productive anymore."

O'Connor said that part of his job was selling the GoHealth office as a desirable place to work, something he felt that he could no longer honestly do. He went on unpaid FMLA leave.

"By the time that expired, I couldn't do the job rationally—apology or not, I didn't see myself passing this guy at the coffee machine every morning," O'Connor said.

O'Connor has found a new job, but is contemplating legal action against his former employer. He said that he experienced panic attacks and emotional distress after what happened.

"I'm not trying to play the victim," he said. "But people still need to know that these kinds of things go on."

O'Connor's attorney, Betty Tsamis, said, "This was a professional interaction, but that kind of language is obviously not appropriate under any circumstances."

GoHealth in August was awarded the right to sell subsidized plans under the Affordable Care Act. In June it was named as one of the city's "101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For" by the National Association for Business Resources.

When reached by Windy City Times, Brad Burd, general counsel for GoHealth, would not comment on the complaints.


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