The Chicago Employment Law Blog

May 2011 Archives

One DUI May Impact All Chicago City Workers

Dwight Washington, a Chicago city truck driver, was arrested for a DUI after reportedly driving a city-owned truck into a crowd of people on a Gold Coast neighborhood sidewalk. Now, the Chicago Tribune is reporting that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has ordered Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Tom Byrne to investigate the incident and recommend policy and procedure changes to prevent future accidents.

These recommended policy changes could include increased drug and alcohol testing and have the potential to impact all Chicago city workers.

Washington was driving with a blood alcohol level over twice the legal limit when he lost control of his truck and struck seven pedestrians on the sidewalk, reports The Tribune. At the time of the accident, Washington reportedly had an open bottle of brandy next to him.

Gender Discrimination: Are Female Grads Paid Less Than Males?

A survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) found that new female college graduates received an average starting salary offer that was 17 percent lower than that of college graduating males, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

What many Chicago locals may find even more puzzling is that the gender pay discrepancy cannot even be explained as if graduating males were just choosing majors that led to jobs that provided a higher salary. The survey showed that men typically came out ahead in most cases when salary was adjusted by the major they selected.

Chicago Must Hire 111 Black Applicants In Discrimination Case

In an employment discrimination lawsuit against the city of Chicago, a federal appeals court has asked a trial court to implement the hiring remedy stemming from a U.S. Supreme Court 9-to-0 decision that African American job candidates did not wait too long to sue the city for discrimination in hiring based on its poor handling of a 1995 firefighter entrance test.

"The city gave a test back in 1995 that did not measure the ability to be a firefighter," Joshua Karsh, the plaintiffs' attorney, told the Chicago Sun Times. "It made it more than six times more likely that white applicants would be hired rather than African Americans ... Nothing about getting a high score on that test predicted anything about whether you'd be a superior firefighter."

Snow Command Chief Bobby Richardson Suspended, Not Fired

Streets and Sanitation Managing Deputy Commissioner Bobby Richardson, who manages Chicago's Snow Command, currently faces a 25-day suspension for allegations that claim he had city employees carry out his personal errands while still on city time.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported Inspector General Joe Ferguson had initially recommended firing Richardson for ordering his staff to perform personal tasks, which supposedly include washing his personal car, keeping it filled with gas, and picking up and delivering his cigars.

Ferguson also contended that the supposed abuses happened "on a daily basis" for a couple of years and wasted "hundreds of hours of city employee time for the personal benefit" of just one superior.

Illinois Businesses Plan On Almost 500 Layoffs This Month

Six major employers in Illinois told the state in April that they planned on laying off 474 employees this month for various reasons, including relocations and lost contracts. The layoffs are expected to last through July, with most of the cuts occurring in Elk Grove Village and Rolling Meadows.

According to Chicago Breaking News, Elk Grove Village will have a total of 183 jobs lost. Seventy-six Durham School Services workers face unemployment because of a lost transportation contract that has led the company to shut down, while an RR Donnelly printing facility closing will result in a loss of 107 jobs.

Chicago Unemployment: Teens Face A Potentially Jobless Summer

Several Chicago teenagers spoke to a small group of elected officials at a forum in the city's Far South Side. The teens addressed their need for summer jobs as teen unemployment in Illinois has reached an incredibly high rate of 27.5 percent.

Many teens said they needed a job to help pay for food, save for college, or even avoid potential homelessness and requested funding for a program that would create summer jobs.

Alternative Schools Network executive director Jack Wuest said the state faces potentially losing 18,000 jobs for teens because of cuts in federal stimulus funds. Experts also say the high unemployment rate and slow economic recovery has led to older workers displacing younger employees as they get hired for entry-level positions, reported the Chicago Tribune.

Job Training Program Overhaul Begins in Chicago

With unemployment currently at about 8.7 percent in the Chicago area, the task of overhauling the county’s problematic employment training program has finally begun, said Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle and her staff.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the overhaul includes a new name for the program, which will now be called “Cook County Works,” and focuses on cutting needless administrative jobs to help save the city millions of dollars. It will also work on improving job and outreach training for ex-offenders and veterans, who make up a large portion of those who participate in the program.