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Walinski v. Morrison & Morrison

OPINION FILED MAY 23, 1970.

NANCY C. WALINSKI, PLAINTIFF-APPELLANT,

v.

MORRISON & MORRISON ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLEES.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. JOHN J. KELLY, JR., Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE PERLIN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

The central question in this case is whether a civil action for damages may be maintained for a violation of the rights set forth in article I, section 17, of the Illinois Constitution. The circuit court of Cook County dismissed a damage action based upon an alleged violation of this constitutional provision. Plaintiff appeals, contending that it was the intention of the framers of the 1970 Illinois Constitution that money damages be available to remedy such a deprivation of rights.

We reverse.

Article I, section 17, states:

"All persons shall have the right to be free from discrimination on the basis of race, color, creed, national ancestry and sex in the hiring and promotion practices of any employer or in the sale or rental of property.

These rights are enforceable without action by the General Assembly, but the General Assembly by law may establish reasonable exemptions relating to these rights and provide additional remedies for their violation."

Plaintiff, Nancy C. Walinski, alleged in her amended complaint that she is a female and a college senior majoring in accounting; that on or prior to November 14, 1975, defendants, Morrison & Morrison, a certified public accounting firm, caused a job advertisement to be listed in her college placement service; that said job listing sought an individual for "part time general office work" at $3.75 per hour; and that plaintiff, following the advertisement's instructions, called the firm's telephone number and asked to speak with defendant, Joan Richards, an employee of Morrison & Morrison. The complaint then stated:

"6 That the defendant, Morrison and Morrison, through its agent, Joan Richards, summarily and wantonly refused the plaintiff an opportunity to be considered for the job by voluntarily admitting that she was looking for a male employee.

7 That plaintiff at all times pertinent to this complaint was fully capable of performing the duties of the job listed.

8 That the refusal of the defendant, Joan Richards, to give any consideration to the plaintiff's qualifications because of her sex constituted a violation of plaintiff's constitutional right guaranteed under Article I, Section 17, of the Illinois Constitution of 1970 * * * [and]

9 That the defendants' actions herein cited was a wanton breach of duty owed the plaintiff to refrain from discriminating against her in its employment practices as prohibited by said Article I, Section 17, of the Illinois Constitution of 1970.

WHEREFORE, the plaintiff prays that judgment be entered against the defendants for actual damages in the amount of $1,000.00 punitive damages in the amount of $4,000.00 plus costs of action."

In lieu of an answer, defendants filed a motion to dismiss this complaint pursuant to section 45 of the Illinois Civil Practice Act. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1975, ch. 110, par. 45). The motion argued that plaintiff's complaint failed to state "any allegations that are sufficient to warrant the relief prayed" and in support of this contention defendants called attention to the fact that article I, section 17, does not specifically provide for the remedy of damages. This motion was granted by the trial court.

Initially, defendants argue that the amended complaint fails to contain on its face sufficient factual allegations to support plaintiff's right to recovery in that it does not expressly allege that the violation of plaintiff's rights was the proximate cause of her ...


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