A Cook County judge recently handed down an important ruling on healthcare benefits for civil employees, particularly for those public employees hired after August 23, 1989. According to the ruling, only employees hired before the aforementioned date enjoy a state constitutional protection of their health care subsidy.
The ruling is a mixed result for past and present city and county employees. While approximately 20,000 hired before August 1989 have their healthcare benefits set in stone, many others must turn to another source to fulfill their insurance needs.
However, the court failed to rule on what exactly the benefits the pre-1989 county employees are entitled to, likely setting up another major legal battle. For now, both sides walk away from the case with partial victories, but the fight will more than likely end up before the Illinois Supreme Court as both parties seek redress for the issues in the case.
The case began in 2013 when mayor Rahm Emanuel began to do away with certain city employee retirement benefits in an effort to curtail the $100 million annual price tag for such services. In response, the group of plaintiffs in this case filed suit challenging the constitutionality of the mayor to do so.
The claim argued city employee retirement benefits are protected by the pension clause in the Illinois state constitution. The judge hearing the case ruled pensioners hired before August 1989 comprise the only class protected because of the state laws on the books at the time.
Employees hired after August 23, 1989 do not enjoy constitutional protection of their retirement benefits because the laws cited were subsequently done away with after that time. Despite the ruling, both sides look poised to press on in an attempt to make as much ground as possible.
If you are a state, local, or federal employee and feel like your rights have been violated, contact us online or call 312-332-6733 for a consultation about your case. The experienced Chicago employment lawyers of Goldman & Ehrlich have an intimate knowledge of the laws necessary to bring successful resolutions to these types of cases and can help you get the justice you deserve.
Our office serves clients in Chicago, Cook County, Lake County, DuPage County, Will County, Kane County, and McHenry County.