A former bus attendant for the Chicago Public Schools has delivered
a class action lawsuit against the state’s largest school district alleging he
and others like him worked hours for which they were never paid.
The lawsuit was brought by plaintiff Aaron Walker, who once
worked for the school district as a child welfare attendant assisting special
needs students on school buses provided by third-party busing companies. He filed
the four-count complaint against the district demanding lost wages on behalf of
himself and others performing the same work for the district.
According to the lawsuit, Walker worked for Lincoln Park
High School during the 2013-14 school year. The suit alleges he was
consistently required to remain on the bus “attending to and supervising the
transport of special needs students” after his shift had ended, but he was not
paid for the extra time put in after the end of his shift. Walker contends he
should have been paid his regular wage for the extra time, and during the weeks
the additional time extended his work week beyond 40 hours he should have been
The first count of the complaint alleges violation of the
Fair Labor Standards Act. The second count alleges willful violation of the
act, claiming that Chicago Public Schools knew Walker was working past the end
of his regular shift and that the additional hours were in violation of the
The third count claims that because the district did not
compensate Walker according to statute, its actions “were not based upon good
faith or reasonable grounds” and says he is entitled to liquidated damages.
The fourth count is a supplemental state law claim arguing
that Chicago Public Schools violated the Illinois Minimum Wage Law. Under state
law, an employer who fails to pay the minimum wage is liable for not only the
amount of the unpaid wages, but an additional 2 percent penalty for each month
the wages remain unpaid.
Under the first two counts, Walker is asking the court to
award back pay for the unpaid overtime, prejudgment interest, court costs and
any additional relief the court deems appropriate. On the third count, he
requests liquidated damages in the amount of the unpaid wages.
Under the state count, Walker seeks damages to be determined
by the court plus court costs.
The lawsuit does not estimate how many other potential
plaintiffs may be included in the action, nor how many other such child welfare
attendants are employed by CPS; neither does it specify how much money
plaintiffs may demand CPS pay as a result of this action.
Walker is represented by attorney John W. Billhorn of the
Billhorn Law Firm, of Chicago.