Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. James
C. Murray, Judge, presiding.
PRESIDING JUSTICE ROMITI DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:
Plaintiff after her discharge from employment received unemployment compensation insurance. She filed a civil rights suit (42 U.S.C. § 1981 et seq. (1976)), against the employer. This suit was settled. The agreed order while specifically for "damages" was keyed to her salary; she was also restored to her position and her employment benefits were restored. The employee's list of losses for which she sought reimbursement if the case was settled listed as the major claim salary loss of $17,600. The Department of Labor found that the settlement was in fact for back pay or wages and thus that she was required to return the $5,229. The circuit court reversed. We reverse and render judgment for the Department of Labor.
Arlene Shimkus, plaintiff, was discharged from her position as an administrative assistant at Cermak Memorial Hospital on November 8, 1979. Claiming that she was wrongfully discharged, plaintiff filed a civil rights action in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois against Cook County Hospital, Cook County Prison Health Services, Cook County Board, William J. Silverman, individually and as an agent of Cook County Hospital, and Robert Dean, individually and as an agent of Cook County Hospital and Cook County Prison Health Services.
During negotiations to settle the civil rights claim, plaintiff's attorney sent a letter to the assistant State's Attorney representing the defendants, listing the losses sustained by plaintiff for which reimbursement was sought in order to settle the claim. The letter reads as follows:
"Pursuant to our conversation, I am listing herein the losses sustained by Arlene Shimkus for which she seeks reimbursement in the event we are able to settle this cause of action:
1. Salary loss $17,600.00
2. Sick time loss with no pay 1,600.00
3. Pension benefits 1,496.00
6. Employment search expenses 650.00 (15.00 each week)
7. Insurance expenses - life 211.20 (19.20 per month)
8. Insurance expenses - health 550.00 ...