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Strobeck v. Ill. Civil Service Com.

OPINION FILED MARCH 27, 1979.

ARTHUR R. STROBECK, JR., PLAINTIFF-APPELLEE,

v.

ILLINOIS CIVIL SERVICE COMMISSION ET AL., DEFENDANTS-APPELLANTS.



APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. ARTHUR L. DUNNE, Judge, presiding.

MR. PRESIDING JUSTICE STAMOS DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied May 1, 1979.

This appeal arises from an administrative review by the circuit court of Cook County, Law Division, of proceedings conducted by defendant Illinois Civil Service Commission (hereinafter referred to as the Commission). Plaintiff, Arthur R. Strobeck, Jr., an employee of defendant, Illinois Department of Labor, had been discharged from employment by the Commission due to Strobeck's unauthorized absence from work. The circuit court of Cook County reversed the decision of the Commission and ordered Strobeck reinstated to his former position without loss of compensation or seniority. The circuit court also denied defendants' petition for rehearing and stayed the enforcement of its reversal order. It is from these orders that defendants appeal.

Plaintiff had been a certified employee of the Department of Labor holding the position of Employment Security Manpower Representative II. Plaintiff was employed in the Department's Evanston office.

In June of 1976, plaintiff requested and received approval for a vacation leave which was to commence July 12, 1976, and continue until July 19, 1976. At approximately 4:30 p.m. on July 6, 1976, plaintiff's supervisor, Joan Roberts, received a communication concerning all leaves. Roberts, after receiving the communication, announced that all leaves had been rescinded by the Department. The contents of the announcement were subsequently reduced to a memorandum, which was duplicated and distributed to office personnel.

Plaintiff failed to appear at his office on July 7, 8 and 9 and did not report to work during his vacation leave. Pursuant to these absences the Department sought to discharge plaintiff from employment. The discharge was based upon the following charges:

1. Unauthorized absence from 7-7-76 to 7-13-76, in violation of Rule 3-350, Department of Personnel, and failure to provide justifiable reason for the absence when given an opportunity to do so before the Department of Labor, Bureau of Employment Security.

2. Participation in an illegal work stoppage at the Illinois Department of Labor, Bureau of Employment Security from 7-7-76 to 7-13-76.

3. Instigation of an illegal work stoppage at the Illinois Eepartment of Labor, Bureau of Employment Security from 7-7-76 to 7-13-76.

A hearing on these charges was held before the Commission. Robert Gammie, Joan Roberts, Lorraine De Meulenaere, Paul Kuick, Emerson Jackson, Sylvia Swidler, Irving Senn, John Dooley, Lois Johnson, Arthur White, Vitian Morris, Johanna Ellison, Margaret Hershberger and Robert Duback testified at the hearing. Plaintiff testified in his own behalf.

Robert Gammie testified that he was the manager of the office which employed plaintiff. Gammie was aware of plaintiff's membership in the local union (1006) and had discussed union activities with plaintiff. He stated that plaintiff carried on union conversations on the telephone and handed out union literature in the office.

Gammie authorized plaintiff's six-day vacation leave. Gammie indicated that he never informed plaintiff that the Department rescinded all leaves.

Gammie also stated that plaintiff was absent from work commencing July 7, 1976, due to a labor dispute. Gammie indicated that he never saw plaintiff picket the Evanston office.

Joan Roberts testified that Mr. Gammie was her immediate supervisor at the Evanston office. She was plaintiff's immediate supervisor and a member of local union 1006. Roberts further indicated that when plaintiff informed her that a strike was forthcoming, this was the first notification of the strike received by her.

Roberts stated that on July 6, 1976, she announced to the office that all approved leaves had to be "resubmitted" and that sick leaves had to be accompanied by a physician's statement upon return to work. She announced that these policies took immediate effect. Roberts stated that she was not certain if plaintiff was at his desk at the time of the announcement.

Lorraine De Meulenaere testified that she was secretary to Mr. Gammie at the Evanston office. She was present in the office on July 6, 1976, when Joan Roberts announced that all leaves had been rescinded. She further testified ...


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