CHICAGO – A federal judge will allow a police officer in suburban Dolton to continue his age discrimination lawsuit against the village and its Board of Fire and Police Commissioners, saying the village's decision to promote three younger part-time police officers was enough to demonstrate potential bias.
U.S. District Court Judge Jorge Alonso denied a motion for a summary judgment sought by the village of Dolton in the lawsuit brought by Andrew Remus.
Remus alleged the village of Dolton and its police and fire board violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
Remus’ complaint alleges he was overlooked for full-time employment as a police officer in 2013. Remus, who began working as a part-time police officer in April 2008 and had served for at least eight years as a full-time police officer in Cook County, alleges he was not considered for promotion to one of three full-time police officer positions in Dolton because he was 51 years old at the time.
The plaintiff said the three open positions were never made known to the public and were filled by three younger part-time police officers. Remus alleges he was told by Dolton Police Chief John Franklin that he was not elevated to full time because the chief allegedly did not believe the Dolton police and fire board would approve him because of his age.
“Plaintiff has put forth evidence that three younger part-time police officers, some with less experience than plaintiff had, were chosen instead of him for the full-time positions,” Judge Alonso wrote on June 21. “Although the parties dispute whether it was the Village or the Board that made the final hiring decision, it makes no difference at this point. Both entities acted on a recommendation by Chief [John] Franklin to promote three part-time officers… to full-time officers ... In this case, plaintiff has put forth evidence from which a jury could infer that Chief Franklin’s decision as to whom to recommend was biased.”
The district court previously dismissed an age discrimination asserted against individuals in the board.
Remus is represented in the action by attorney Patrick J. Walsh, of the Walsh Law Group, of Chicago.
The Dolton defendants are represented by attorneys John B. Murphey and Amber M. Samuelson, of Rosenthal, Murphey, Coblentz & Donahue, of Chicago.
Franklin is represented by attorney Denise Watson-Wesley Coleman, of Watson-Wesley Coleman L.C., of St. Louis.