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Jones v. State of Illinois et al

May 25, 2011

JONES
v.
STATE OF ILLINOIS ET AL



Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge Amy J. St. Eve than Assigned Judge

CASE TITLE

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint [24] is denied. Defendants must answer the First Amended Complaint on or before 6/13/11. Status hearing set for 7/28/11 is stricken and reset to 6/16/11 at 8:30 a.m.

O[ For further details see text below.] Notices mailed by Judicial staff.

STATEMENT

Plaintiff Leslie James Jones, Sr. ("Jones" or ("Plaintiff"), has filed suit against Defendants the Illinois Department of Human Services ("DHS") and the Illinois Department of Central Management Services ("DCMS" or "CMS"), alleging that his termination from DHS constituted a violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 ("the ADEA"). (R. 13.) On April 22, 2011, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss, arguing that a prior settlement agreement between Plaintiff and DHS precludes the instant proceedings. (R. 24.) In the alternative, Defendants argue that the Court should dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint as to CMS because Plaintiff and CMS never had an employer-employee relationship as required by the ADEA and because Plaintiff failed to exhaust his administrative remedies by filing a charge as to DCMS with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). (Id.) For the reasons explained below, the Court denies Defendants' motion to dismiss Plaintiff's First Amended Complaint ("the Complaint").

Continued...

Courtroom Deputy KF

Initials:

BACKGROUND

According to his Complaint, Plaintiff is a Chicago resident whom DHS employed from July 16, 2008, through February 22, 2010. (R. 13 at 2.) DHS is an Illinois agency that provides Illinois residents a variety of support services, including treatment for alcohol and drug abuse, emergency food and shelter, supplemental nutritional assistance, and support for community mental-health programs. (Id.) DCMS is also an Illinois agency, which provides services to other state agencies. (Id.) It provided personnel-managements services to DHS, which included services pertaining to DHS's hiring and subsequent firing of Plaintiff. (Id.)

Jones further alleges that he has attended and obtained credit toward a bachelor's degree from Indiana State University, Laney College, Merritt College, and Indiana University South Bend, and is merely three credit hours short of obtaining such a degree from Indiana University South Bend. (Id. at 3-4.) In 2007, Jones voluntarily resigned from his position with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services when it emerged that his employment application erroneously provided that Indiana University South Bend had awarded him a baccalaureate degree. (Id.) DCMS advised him at the time that his resignation would preserve his eligibility for future employment by the State of Illinois. (Id.) In 2008, "DHS and/or DCMS" invited him to apply for a position with DHS.

Plaintiff alleges that he applied for the DHS position on May 25, 2008, accurately stating that his bachelor's degree from Indiana University South Bend was pending. (Id. at 4.) DHS subsequently hired him. During his ensuing employment, Jones performed well. (Id. at 5.) DHS promoted him and gave him a certificate of achievement. (Id.) Nevertheless, DHS terminated Plaintiff, then 53-years old, on February 22, 2010, on the purported ground that he had falsified his application for DHS employment.

According to the Complaint, Defendants' proffered reason for terminating Jones was a pretext for age discrimination. (Id. at 6.) Jones alleges that he observed a pattern of age bias throughout his employment with DHS, contending that people substantially younger than him most frequently obtained promotions, and that DHS was less frequently disciplined younger employees for their poor employment performance. (Id. at 5.) The Complaint contrasts Jones's situation with that of one of his former, and younger, co-workers, whom DHS hired at approximately the same time and who falsified his employment application by concealing a prior ...


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