The Chicago Employment Law Blog

December 2011 Archives

Sharon Starzyk Settles Suit Against Cicero for $500,000

Sharon Starzyk was one of several women who sued the Town of Cicero and its President Larry Dominick for sexual harassment. The town finally agreed to pay Starzyk $500,000. However, the $500,000 was not to settle the former city employee’s sexual harassment lawsuit, instead it was to settle her wrongful termination lawsuit.

Starzyk was fired in 2009 just a few months after she filed a sexual harassment claim against Dominick, reports MyFox Chicago. She later agreed to drop the sexual harassment claim, but she continued her wrongful termination suit against the town.

Holiday Layoffs in Store? Sears Store Closings Announced

Two days after Christmas, Sears announced troubling news: The Illinois-based company said it plans to close 100 to 120 Sears and Kmart stores as a result of poor holiday sales.

The company has not yet been indicated how many employees will lose their jobs in the Sears store closings, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

Diocese of Joliet Sued for Age Discrimination

In a Diocese of Joliet lawsuit, Roxann Berkes says that she was fired from a teaching job at a Roman Catholic school because of her age.

Berkes, who is 55-years-old, says that she has worked at the St. Paul the Apostle School in Joliet for approximately 30 years and received mostly positive performance reviews until she was “suddenly criticized” for her work in the last school year, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. As a result, she did not have her teaching contract renewed.

Deputy Fire Chief Loyal Nichols Demoted After DUI

Deputy Fire Chief Loyal Nichols was arrested for driving under the influence in late November. Facing discipline as the deputy district chief, Nichols resigned his position in a strategic effort to receive union protection.

Now in the lower rank of battalion chief, Nichols has the backing of the union against any disciplinary action the Chicago Fire Department may want to take against him, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

Filing a Complaint with the EEOC

If you believe that you have been discriminated at work because of your race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40 or older), disability or genetic information, you may want to sue your employer.

However, before you can file a federal discrimination lawsuit, you will first have to know about filing a complaint with the EEOC. That’s because the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) usually has first crack at resolving your complaint, and you will need to complain to them first before bringing a private lawsuit.

Stroger Hospital Lawsuit: Cook County Told to Pay $7.6M

In the Stroger Hospital lawsuit, a jury ordered the Cook County hospital to pay $7.6 million to a former physician for retaliation and discrimination.

Dr. Vivian Renta successfully argued that she was fired from her job as senior attending physician in the county's pathology department for complaining about the high error rate at the hospital and the hospital's efforts to conceal errors, reports the Chicago Tribune. The hospital had defended the termination saying that the 59-year-old physician was fired because she was the one who made too many mistakes.

Chicago Labor Dispute to Affect Academy Awards?

One of the great American traditions is watching the pomp and circumstance of the Academy Awards and seeing our favorite actors receive little gold men for their outstanding performances.

But due to a Chicago labor dispute, is there a chance the Academy could run out of statuettes when the show announces the best director, actor, or actress? Or worse yet, could “Made in China” be imprinted on the bottom of each Oscar?

Sara Lee Moving Back to Chicago, Creates 650 Jobs

Good employment news for the holiday season. Sara Lee’s corporate headquarters is coming back to Chicago and as part of the move 650 jobs are expected to be created.

Sarah Lee Chicago may have a familiar ring to it as the company was headquartered here for more than 60 years before deciding to move to the suburb of Downers Grove in 2005, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. But as part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s initiatives to boost the downtown economy, the giant food company is coming back to the Windy City.

5 Ways to Get Fired At the Office Holiday Party

‘Tis the season of the office holiday party. Many workers may view this as the time to unwind, let loose, and let your colleagues see the “real” you. Well, depending on how real you get, this may be a giant mistake.

The following are five of the top mistakes you can make, as reported by The Erie Times-News, that can lead to you getting fired at office holiday party.

Lake Forest to Review Possible Harassment of Police Intern

The Lake Forest Police Department will conduct an independent investigation to determine if there was sexual harassment against a 22-year-old police intern.

The alleged victim of the harassment claimed that a student resources officer engaged in inappropriate conversation with the intern, reports the Chicago Tribune. If the investigation corroborates the claim, the student resources officer could face disciplinary action and the investigation could also form the basis of a Lake Forest sexual harassment lawsuit.

Comcast Discrimination Against Customers Harms Employees

In an interesting Comcast discrimination lawsuit, a group of African-American employees are suing the media company for race discrimination. One of their charges against Comcast is that the company's discrimination against black customers contributed to a hostile work environment against black employees as well.

At Comcast's South Side facility, ten current employees and one former employee are seeking class action status to sue the company, reports the Chicago Tribune. The plaintiffs work as technicians and allege race discrimination and hostile work environment.

Online Shopping at Work Can Get You in Trouble

Cyber Monday has come and gone. But you may still find yourself online looking for those last-minute holiday deals.

But you should be careful where you shop. If you do your online shopping at work, you could find yourself without a paycheck to pay for your online bargains. That's because bosses are increasingly unhappy with their workforce spending work time -- paid time -- to do things completely unrelated to work … like buying socks for your cousin.