Hostile work environments that result in adverse treatment of employees or termination can become the basis for a lawsuit. 

A college in the suburbs outside of Chicago was sued for racial discrimination and retaliation by an employee.

College employee endured various acts of discrimination

The woman who brought the case worked as an administrator at the college for almost twenty years in various positions. The plaintiff claims that South Suburban College docked her pay, excluded her from meetings, limited her job duties, and eventually terminated her for discriminatory reasons. Despite the fact that she was qualified for the positions she held and always did a satisfactory job, she says that she was treated worse than all of her white colleagues. 

The case goes into further detail about how the school’s president, along with approval from the board of trustees, would allow widespread misconduct, and fail to hold high ranking employees and administrators accountable. There were numerous allegations of misconduct over the course of the plaintiff’s tenure that she claims were never investigated at all. The labor lawsuit alleges that this misconduct and lack of accountability created an environment where there were consistent discriminatory practices without any kind of oversight or repercussions. 

The plaintiff identifies one specific incident where her own troubles began. She says that in October 2017, she complained to the college president about racial discrimination that was affecting a colleague. From that moment on, she claims that she was targeted and her relationship with the president started to become troubled. Pay stipends were denied to her and she was given less responsibility in the following months. She also learned at this time that non-black employees in similar roles received a much higher salary than her own. The president apparently broke university protocol by personally investigating the plaintiff’s complaints and dismissing them without merit. 

A lawyer for the school was contacted, but he said that he had not fully read the lawsuit and declined to comment until he knew exactly what was happening. Both the president and chairman of the college could not be reached at all. 

South Suburban is a two year college that has locations in South Holland and other parts of the Chicago metro area. Approximately 4,000 students are enrolled with over 200 faculty members at any given time. Department of Education data shows that approximately two thirds of the students at the college at any given time are either black or Hispanic. The school does not provide demographic information for its faculty members. 

Get help from a local lawyer in the state of Illinois

There are attorneys who focus their practice on issues such as discrimination, retaliation, and unpaid wage claims. You can browse the directory on and contact a lawyer in your city. 

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