Thus this court has held that if a common law action

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Thus, this court has held that if a common law action is in essence one which seeks redress for a "civil rights violation" as defined by the Act and there is no basis for the action other than the Act, the circuit court lacks jurisdiction to adjudicate the claim. Geise, 159 Ill. 2d at 516; Mein v. Masonite Corp., 109 Ill. 2d 1, 7 (1985). But does the Act preclude the circuit court from exercising jurisdiction over all tort claims factually related to incidents of sexual harassment? Our appellate court answered "yes," construing Geise as barring the circuit court from hearing any claim of intentional tort
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Spring 2017 LER 590-E: GOVERNMENT REGULATION II 65 | P a g e related to allegations of sexual harassment. 282 Ill. App. 3d at 585. The appellate court’s reading of Geise, however, is overly broad. In Geise, the plaintiff alleged that her employer negligently hired and retained a manager who sexually harassed the plaintiff. Geise, 159 Ill. 2d at 511-12. This court observed that, but for the Act’s proscription against sexual harassment, the plaintiff would have had no legally cognizable claim against her employer. Geise, 159 Ill. 2d at 517. Although the plaintiff in Geise dressed her claims as "negligent hiring" and "negligent retention," the allegations of negligence on the part of the employer were premised on the allegation that the employer hired and retained a manager who engaged in sexual harassment. Geise, 159 Ill. 2d at 518. Absent the Act's prohibition of sexual harassment, the employer's hiring and retention of an employee whose conduct created a hostile work environment would not have been an actionable tort. That is to say, in Geise the Act furnished the legal duty that the defendant was alleged to have breached. This court held that such tort claims were in essence claims of a "civil rights violation" and, accordingly, could only be brought before the Commission. Geise, 159 Ill. 2d at 518. The rule from Geise is not that the Act precludes the circuit court from exercising jurisdiction over all tort claims related to sexual harassment. Rather, whether the circuit court may exercise jurisdiction over a tort claim depends upon whether the tort claim is inextricably linked to a civil rights violation such that there is no independent basis for the action apart from the Act itself. The issue in this case then is whether the plaintiff's claims of assault, battery and false imprisonment are inextricably linked to her claim of sexual harassment. Clearly under the standard of Geise they are not. The sexual harassment aspect of this case is merely incidental to what are otherwise ordinary common law tort claims. The plaintiff here has alleged facts sufficient to establish the elements of assault, battery and false imprisonment. These are long- recognized tort actions which exist wholly separate and apart from a cause of action for sexual harassment under the Act. To the extent that the plaintiff has alleged the elements of each of these torts without reference to legal duties created by the Act, she has established a basis for imposing liability on the defendants independent of the Act. Therefore, the plaintiff's tort claims
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