NIU responds to complaint alleging janitor was 'verbally accosted'

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DEKALB, Ill. (WIFR) -- Northern Illinois University has responded to reports alleging a female janitor at the school was "verbally accosted."

The Daily Chronicle reports​ Susan Phelps, who worked as a janitor at NIU for 13 years, is unable to work and now fears for her safety. According to the report, the complaint stems from alleged verbal abuse by attorney Sanat Ranganathan.

NIU released the following statement on Monday:

"Northern Illinois University strives to create a safe, inclusive and positive working and living atmosphere for all of its employees and students. The university takes all matters of concern or complaint seriously and when appropriate, investigates and/or takes corrective action.

Immediately upon learning of the incident between two employees, the university, in conjunction with the NIU Police investigated the allegations. Both the building services employee and offender were interviewed and both confirmed that while there was no physical contact or verbal threat of harm made, the building services employee had been verbally berated. After reviewing the facts, the State’s Attorney’s Office concluded that the situation did not warrant criminal charges. The matter was also reviewed by the NIU Employee Threat Assessment Team and their findings determined that the offender does not constitute a threat.

While the situation did not warrant criminal charges, the type of behavior demonstrated by the offending employee is not acceptable. The matter was referred to the offender’s supervisor who took appropriate disciplinary action.

The university cares deeply for the building services worker and has supported her by providing immediate accommodations including paid time off, counseling services and other resources."