The fight between the Lake County Circuit Clerk’s Office and the county headed before the Illinois Labor Board over allegations the Clerk’s Office committed various violations, including retaliation against an employee and bargaining in bad faith. The Illinois chapter of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) is headquartered in Springfield and represents over 58,000 public employees throughout the state.
The showdown has been months in the making, stemming from a fight over whether Lake County employees can unionize, and apparently culminated in this latest legal tussle after workers were terminated. Furthermore, the employees’ union claims the head of the Lake County Circuit Clerk, Keith Brin, refused to bargain in good faith with them and tried to discourage union membership or support.
According to reports, Brin initially resisted unionization of his office’s employees claiming the union was using coercion and fraud to secure their effort. After an Appeals Court ruled against Brin, he dropped the effort to prevent the initiative. During the appeals process, Brin refused the bargain with the AFSCME, something the union claims was in bad faith.
While this particular case appears to have many layers to it beyond the wrongful termination of an employee, the allegation is nonetheless serious. Whether the individual is a state, local, or private sector employee, he or she may have grounds to sue the employer if the true reason for the termination is based on illegal discrimination (race, gender, etc.) or retaliation for certain protected activities (attempting to form a union), breach of a written employment contract, or violated state laws on terminating employees.
In these situations, employees need to gather certain evidence, such as their employment personnel file and retain any communications or memos between themselves and their employer. Additionally, the workers should retain a copy of their employee handbook or code of conduct, if such a document exists.
Retaining an attorney from the start is also extremely important to ensuring all relevant information to make the case is collected.
If you were disciplined or terminated from your state or local employer, contact Goldman & Ehrlich for a consultation about your case. Our Illinois civil service employment attorneys have years of experience helping state and local employees appeal their layoffs and suspensions.
Our office services clients throughout Chicago, Cook County, Lake County, DuPage County, Will County, Kane County, and McHenry County. Because strict time deadlines apply to filing these appeal, please contact us at your earliest convenience.