A 46-year-old black man is suing the Kane County Court Services and the 16th Judicial Circuit for race and age discrimination, claiming younger, less-experienced white men were promoted over him.
Hamilton M. Williams, a former probation officer, filed suit Sept. 29 in Chicago’s federal, asking that county’s court services be forced to reemploy and transfer him to a location in Elgin, Aurora, DeKalb or Kendall.
Williams is also seeking an undisclosed amount of money in damages.
He claims court services committed race and age discrimination, and later retaliated against him for filing a grievance and a worker’s compensation claim.
During the two and a half years Williams worked as a probation officer for court services, he contends he was passed over for at least five lateral positions he applied for. Each time, the suit states, the position was filled by a white candidate with less experience.
Williams asserts he was treated differently than his white coworkers, most notably when he was forced to serve a two-day suspension after a youth on home detention went missing when he was not working.
“Even though Mr. Williams was not on duty the day that the minor went missing, the three employees that were working on Sunday – when the minor actually went missing – were not disciplined,” the suit states. “The three officers working the Sunday shift were white.”
Williams filed a grievance, but court services upheld his suspension. He filed a discrimination charge against Kane County on Jan. 3, 2012.
Williams asserts that his superiors retaliated against him by increasing his workload, causing him to suffer from acute anxiety, the suit states.
“Mr. Williams claims that his supervisors, all white, retaliated by increasing his workload while reducing support,” the suit states. “At that time, Mr. Williams claims that he was running the unit alone.”
The suit states he emailed a court services executive director on Jan. 18, 2012, stating that it was impossible for him to single-handedly be responsible for 65 youths on house arrest, a job previously handled by three officers.
“Mr. Williams claims at that time he was told he would be provided immediate support in running the unit,” the suit states, adding that help never arrived.
On Jan. 26, 2012, Williams claims he was forced to serve his two-day suspension. The same day, he called a meeting with his supervisors and union representatives to address call procedures.
During the meeting, the suit states he suffered from extreme anxiety. Later that day, he visited a physician, who told him not to return to work.
Five days later, Williams filed a workman’s compensation claim, which Kane County denied on the grounds that his condition was not industrial.
Court Services repeatedly attempted to contact Williams by mail to tell him to return to work, the suit states. Williams then filed a harassment complaint against an executive director.
He was fired on June 18, 2012, according to the suit.
Williams is represented by Timothy A. Scott and David A. Ellis of the Freydin Law Firm LLP in Skokie.