GLENVIEW, Ill. - A nursing manager who allegedly harassed employees and hid a camera in the women’s restroom kept his job because his employer thought he was a “nice guy” who was “close to retirement,” according to a class action lawsuit.
The suit, filed Wednesday in Cook County circuit court, claims that clinic manager and registered nurse Michael Klusmeyer invaded the privacy of more than 75 women at a DaVita Dialysis center in north suburban Glenview.
Klusmeyer, 62, was arrested last month after a female employee found a hidden camera in a restroom of the center at 2601 Compass Rd., according to Glenview police and Cook County prosecutors. He was charged with unlawful videotaping of another without consent.
Klusmeyer, who lives in Wauconda, allegedly placed a motion-activated camera in a single-occupancy women’s restroom to capture images of them undressing and using the toilet, the lawsuit states. The camera was hidden inside a key fob.
The plaintiffs’ attorney Attorney Jeffrey Kulwin said the women “appear to be devastated that the years of complaints against Michael Klusmeyer went unanswered and resulted in this.”
Klusmeyer allegedly targeted women by telling them to use the restroom for work-related reasons — such as trying on new scrubs — and would then record them with the hidden camera, the lawsuit states.
After a female employee found the camera key fob on July 23, women who worked at the center recalled seeing the same key fob in the restroom for about two years before it was discovered, the lawsuit states.
Klusmeyer also allegedly harassed the women by sharing explicit videos and photos, and telling sexual or sexist jokes to the women he supervised, the lawsuit states.
The suit claims that Klusmeyer’s employers, DaVita and Satellite, were both aware of Klusmeyer’s conduct through reports made by his female coworkers.
But he kept his job because “upper management liked Klusmeyer and expressed sympathy for him because he was purportedly a ‘nice guy’ close to retirement and did not want to see him ‘lose his job,’” the lawsuit states.
“It speaks to what happens when an employer disregards misconduct complaints in the workplace,” Kulwin said.
Employees reported Klusmeyer’s misconduct to superiors when the center was owned by Satellite, before it was taken over by DaVita, Kulwin said. During the transition, Satellite allegedly withheld information about Klusmeyer’s misconduct from DaVita because they didn’t want to upset the deal, Kulwin said.
Even after the complaints about Klusmeyer were made to management, they offered him a bonus to stay, Kulwin said.
Kulwin said the illegal use of hidden cameras has become an “epidemic,” and that most people don’t know how to spot the discreet cameras.
“The scary thing about these cases is that the people who are injured don’t even know they were injured,” Kulwin said.
The lawsuit claims that DaVita and Satellite breached their legal obligation to ensure a safe work environment for the women who worked at the clinic. The suit seeks compensation for the women affected, which includes at least 75 female employees. The lawsuit names four by name.
In a statement, a DaVita spokesperson said: “We strive to create a safe, professional work environment for our teammates and take decisive steps when our standards are not met. We take these allegations seriously and will review any new information fully.
“Once we were made aware of this issue, we immediately removed him from the center, investigated the situation and terminated him. We will continue to support law enforcement’s efforts and provide support to our impacted teammates.”
Klusmeyer is due in Cook County court in Skokie on Thursday, according to county records. His attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.