An investigation found that Ann Taylor violated Sec 2-654 through repeatedly spreading false sexually oriented rumors about three city employees. According to the report, Taylor’s rumors diminished the complainant’s role as a woman, created a hostile work environment and harmed the families of the people subjected to the rumors she was spreading. The investigation was performed subsequent to a formal complaint filed with the city by one of the targeted employees with the findings report submitted at its completion.

When Ann Taylor was alderman of the 9th Ward and candidate for mayor, she repeatedly accused three city employees of being involved in extramarital affairs, as stated in the report.

In the report, a witness claimed Taylor repeated the rumor during a meeting early in her bid to run for mayor. In that meeting, Taylor is alleged to have answered a question about why she was running by insisting “order needs to be brought to the chaos in city hall” and cited the false rumor about the female employee’s alleged affairs as an example.

Another of the witnesses is a community activist who was communicating with Taylor in the process of setting up a mayoral debate. Per the report, Taylor repeated the rumor to him to support her characterization of the then Mayor’s office as “a mess.” The community activist expressed his disbelief about the Alderman’s assertion. Taylor later decided to not participate in the debate.

The position of Alderman is powerful and authoritative. Statements made by someone in power creates a hostile and difficult working environment. Such claims diminish other women and cause harm to families. Taylor became even more powerful since being sworn in as Mayor.

The report found the rumors spread by Taylor to be unsubstantiated, false and in violation of the sexual harassment ordinance. The report discussed potential defamation action and cited the ordinance sections related to retaliation.