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Jury: Village did not discriminate

Published: Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

LAKEMOOR – The village of Lakemoor did not discriminate against an employee when it laid him off, a jury decided.

Leslie Nejedly was 69 years old when the village of Lakemoor eliminated his job in July 2009. He was the senior building inspector for the village, a position that was brought back this past year on a part-time basis.

Nejedly sued the village, saying he was discriminated against because of his age in violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act. He said the village kept the other building inspector in the two-employee department, who was younger and less qualified.

Four other village employees also were laid off around the same time.

Shortly after the layoffs, the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 filed a complaint with the state labor board, saying the village tried to suppress unionization when it laid off three of the employees, including Nejedly, after they attended a union meeting.

The village settled in that case, paying about $25,000 to each employee, because it would have cost more to fight it, Village President Todd Weihofen said.

In the age discrimination case, though, the village “decided to take a stand,” he said.

Nejedly’s position was eliminated because of budgetary concerns and a lack of construction in the area, the village told the jury.

A two-day trial ended last week with the jury siding with the village after two and a half hours of deliberation, according to a news release from the village.

This means the village will not have to pay the requested compensation of at least $135,000, according to the release.

The village “never doubted the outcome,” Weihofen said. “Discrimination of any kind is unacceptable in any form and will not be tolerated in any village department.”

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