APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT
510 N.E.2d 141, 156 Ill. App. 3d 1030, 109 Ill. Dec. 520 1987.IL.899
Appeal from the Circuit Court of Lake County; the Hon. Henry C. Tonigan, Judge, presiding.
JUSTICE NASH delivered the opinion of the court. REINHARD and UNVERZAGT, JJ., concur.
DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE NASH
Plaintiff, Daniel DeFosse, appeals from a judgment entered upon a jury verdict returned in favor of the defendant, Cherry Electrical Products Corporation, in a contract action in which plaintiff sought damages for wrongful termination of his employment and disability benefits. Plaintiff's primary contention on appeal is that the jury was improperly instructed.
Plaintiff was employed by the defendant as foreman of its twist screw machine department. He became disabled and began receiving disability benefits on April 5, 1982. On May 7, 1982, defendant terminated plaintiff's employment and his disability pay, whereupon plaintiff filed a complaint in the circuit court against the defendant in which he alleged the existence of an employment contract and defendant's breach thereof.
At trial, it was established that plaintiff suffered from hydrocephalus when he was employed by the defendant in September 1978, at which time he brought his medical condition to defendant's attention and inquired about disability benefits. In discussing these and other employee benefits in detail with the plaintiff, the personnel manager gave plaintiff a "Group Benefit Plan" booklet and a "Welcome to Cherry" booklet. Plaintiff testified that he read the booklets and that the benefits package was an important factor in his decision to take the job.
The Group Benefit Plan booklet contains a description of disability benefits, and provides that full-time, salaried employees are eligible for disability pay after 90 days' employment provided they submit a physician's statement of disability. Under the short-term disability coverage, an employee is entitled to receive his full salary for a period of time which is based upon his length of employment, the maximum period of short-term benefits being 13 weeks from the time the employee becomes disabled. After 13 weeks, long-term disability coverage goes into effect, and the employee is entitled to receive at least 50% of his salary as long as he remains disabled or for the maximum duration for payment of benefits, which is based upon the employee's age.
The "Welcome to Cherry" booklet sets forth company policies and procedures, including a "Resolution of Disagreement" procedure which provides:
"Even with the best intent there occasionally develop disagreements between an employee and his supervisor. In the event this occurs, the following steps have been developed to resolve the disagreement.
1. Discuss your situation with your supervisor.
2. If you cannot resolve your situation request permission to see a member of Personnel. Your supervisor is ...