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04/13/89 Faith Whitaker, v. the Human Rights

April 13, 1989

FAITH WHITAKER, PETITIONER-APPELLANT

v.

THE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION ET AL., RESPONDENTS-APPELLEES



APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FIRST DISTRICT, FOURTH DIVISION

540 N.E.2d 361, 184 Ill. App. 3d 356, 132 Ill. Dec. 621 1989.IL.519

Petition for review of order of Human Rights Commission.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE LINN delivered the opinion of the court. JOHNSON and McMORROW, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LINN

Petitioner, Faith Whitaker, filed a charge with the Illinois Department of Human Rights challenging her termination from employment with the University of Illinois (the University). Following a hearing, the administrative law Judge recommended dismissal of the complaint on the grounds that it was not timely filed. The Human Rights Commission (Commission) adopted the ALJ's recommendations and dismissed the complaint. Subsequently, the Commission denied Whitaker's request for rehearing before the full Commission. Whitaker then filed the pending petition for review with this court.

Whitaker challenges the dismissal on several grounds. She asserts that the Commission erred in finding the 180-day filing requirement to be jurisdictional. She urges this court to construe the requirement as a statute of limitations subject to a discovery rule and other equitable tolling doctrines. In addition, Whitaker contends that the ALJ's Conclusions of law are inconsistent with her findings of fact and therefore are arbitrary and against the manifest weight of the evidence.

We affirm the decision of the Human Rights Commission.

Background

Faith Whitaker, a black woman, began working for the University of Illinois in Chicago in 1976, starting as a clerk typist II. In the next few years she received promotions and favorable work evaluations.

In 1980 Faith Whitaker was again promoted, this time to a position titled "Housing Administrator II." She worked at the University's student housing office, assigning students to rooms, supervising the clerical staff in the housing office, establishing procedures and advising students regarding matters handled by the housing office. Her duties were 50% administrative and 50% clerical.

In July 1982 William Schnackel became the University's director of housing and Whitaker's supervisor. In September of that year Schnackel hired Jo Ann Campbell as resident director. Campbell is white. Whitaker trained Campbell to perform most of the duties that she had been performing. Campbell was additionally responsible for all aspects of residents' lives in the women's residence hall and student residence hall. In the fall of 1982, Schnackel reassigned the duty of making room assignments from Whitaker to Campbell. In April 1983 Schnackel reassigned the remainder of Whitaker's administrative duties to Campbell and directed Whitaker to perform clerical functions.

In early 1983 Whitaker responded to a confidential questionnaire, stating that she was dissatisfied with the general climate of racism in the housing office and also expressing dissatisfaction with the reduction of her administrative duties.

On June 23, 1983, Schnackel told Whitaker that she was to be laid off in 30 days because of budgetary problems and because her position was no longer "appropriate." Whitaker could find no comparable job opportunities at the University's personnel office. Accordingly, ...


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