The Chicago Employment Law Blog

February 2012 Archives

Jimmy's Charhouse Sex Discrimination Suit Settles for $205,000

Waitresses are especially vulnerable to sexual harassment and discrimination as they are oftentimes younger, more inexperienced, and many people have come to assume that being sexually harassed comes with the job.

However, in a $205,000 settlement, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) made a resounding statement against Jimmy's Charhouse in Elgin, saying that sexual harassment is not allowed regardless of whether you work in an office or restaurant.

Sears Store Closings in Illinois

Sears store closings in Illinois are happening after all. After dismal sales news last year, Sears announced that it would be closing up to 120 Sears and Kmart stores. But on the initial roster of stores scheduled to be shuttered, Illinois stores appeared to survive the cutoff.

However, Sears sent out its latest list of stores to be cut this week, and five stores in Illinois were quietly slated to be closed. While this would not ordinarily be big news elsewhere, the fact that Sears is headquartered in Illinois and receives significant state and local tax breaks, make the store closing in this state that much more depressing.

Recovering Drug Addict Disabled Under Employment Law?

Did you know that having a broken leg or suffering from a headache probably does not qualify as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), but being a former drug addict recovering from the addiction may be considered a qualified disability?

Chicago-based United Insurance Company was not able to make this distinction and they now face a disability discrimination lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for failing to hire recovering addict Craig Burns.

No More Losing Out on Job Due to Unemployment or Bad Credit?

It's generally illegal under federal and state law to base job decisions on certain "protected characteristics" like your race, sex, age, disability, and religion. That list may soon expand in Chicago to include characteristics like having poor credit or being unemployed.

A Chicago credit history ban that would include a ban on considering a job applicant being unemployed is being considered by the City Council, reports the Chicago Tribune. If passed, job applicants in the Windy City denied work because of their credit or unemployment would have an easy route to file a complaint with the City Human Relations Committee.

Pregnancy Discrimination a Widespread Problem Says EEOC

Leading employment experts across the country told the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) that pregnancy discrimination remains a very real problem. As a result, many women who would normally start a family or take time off work to care for a pregnancy are delaying this decision or working well into their pregnancy.

Age Discrimination in Illinois Can Be Legal?

Age discrimination is probably the only type of employment discrimination that is occasionally legal. Under both federal and state law, anti-age discrimination policies in Illinois do not protect everybody.

For example, it is perfectly legal to refuse to hire applicants in their twenties. People in their twenties can fulfill many stereotypes like being immature, unreliable, high maintenance, and lazy. And any employer can rely on these stereotypes to make employment decisions like hiring and firing.

Menards Race Discrimination Claim Settles for $1 Million

The Menards race discrimination claim has been settled for $1 million. The Midwestern home improvement chain was accused of passing employees over for promotion on account of their race.

The lawsuit began eight years ago when several employees filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), reports the Chicago Tribune. The number of plaintiffs eventually grew to about 700 managers and assistant managers who say they were discriminated against.

EEOC Won't Pursue Tilted Kilt Sexual Harassment Claim

Over the summer, several women who worked at the Tilted Kilt sports bar on Wabash Avenue filed a sexual harassment claim against the bar with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The women claimed that one of the managers at the bar, well-known for its waitresses’ skimpy, Celtic-themed outfits, created an abusive and hostile environment.

In the Tilted Kilt sexual harassment claim, nearly 30 examples of abusive conduct by the manager were given, including allegations that he sprayed a straw full of water down a waitress’ outfit and said, “I’m trying to get your panties wet,” called waitresses “dirty kitties,” and made other sexually suggestive remarks, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Teachers Allege Chicago School Principal Harassment

Josiah Pickard Elementary School principal Rigo Hernandez says the teachers who complain about his harassment at work are “just throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks,” reports CBS.

At the Chicago public school in Pilsen, dozens of complaints have been filed against the school principal for harassment during the five years Hernandez has been in charge, reports CBS. Hernandez is facing a Chicago Public Schools (CPS) investigation, and it’s unclear whether the principal faces any legal action.

ThyssenKrupp Welcome in Chicago?

German-based company ThyssenKrupp announced they were going to open their regional headquarters in Chicago. Upon hearing the news, Mayor Rahm Emanuel welcomed the company and its 100 potential job openings.

But news is now coming out that the German company may not be the type of company that Chicago, or any city, wants. A ThyssenKrupp discrimination lawsuit is in the works, brought by a black former employee who says that he was subject to an extremely hostile work environment, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

Rocky Start to Harpo Studios: Rosie Show Lay Offs Announced

Harpo Studios Chicago is struggling with its ratings, and its employees in the Chicago area may eventually bear the brunt and find themselves without a job. This week it was announced that the Rosie Show hosted by comedian Rosie O'Donnell let go around 30 workers following a move into a smaller studio just last month.

Along with the rest of Harpo Studios, the Rosie Show had a hard time maintaining an audience. The show has tried several different formats including the move to a smaller studio and experimenting with different formats and skits, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

Chicago Police Officer Discrimination Lawsuit Gets Cop $30,000

A jury awarded Chicago cop Detlef Sommerfield $30,000 in a Chicago police officer discrimination lawsuit.

Detlef Sommerfield moved to Chicago from Germany in 1982 and was able to work his way up and become a Chicago police officer. While his job involved upholding the law and maintaining the peace, Sommerfield found himself victim to illegal action within the police department, reports the Chicago Tribune.

Capital Grille Discrimination Alleged

A Capital Grille discrimination charge is expected to be filed in federal court in Chicago this week. According to the lawsuit, the high-end restaurant relegated its minority workers to back-of-house positions, while white workers had prominent, more lucrative front-of-house positions.

Basically, the restaurant is accused of having customers deal only with white staff in positions like waiters and bartenders, while minority workers were out of sight washing dishes and preparing food, reports Reuters.