SWIC accused of violating ADA in federal suit

Steve Gonzalez Oct. 16, 2008, 2:34am

A former custodian at Southwestern Illinois College (SWIC) filed an employment discrimination suit alleging the institution violated the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Robert Dickerson claims he was terminated from SWIC after he filed a discrimination complaint that alleged SWIC violated the ADA by refusing to award him a full time position.

According to the complaint filed Oct. 9 in federal court, Dickerson had and still has a mental impairment which substantially limits his major life activity of learning. Under ADA, that makes him disabled, the suit claims.

Dickerson claims that on Aug. 14, 2007 he applied for two open positions for full time custodian, but SWIC filled the two spots with employees having qualifications which were inferior to his experience and qualifications.

He started his employment with SWIC on a part-time basis in November 1999.

Dickerson claims that after SWIC learned he had filed a discrimination complaint he was terminated from employment on Sept. 10.

"That the Defendants intentionally engaged in unlawful employment practices and/or acted with malice or reckless indifference to the federally protected rights of the Plaintiff by discriminating against the Plaintiff because of his actual or perceived disability and by retaliating against the Plaintiff for exercising his right to file a Charge of Discrimination," the complaint states.

He is seeking a judgment seeking an amount which will fairly and reasonably compensate him for his liquidated damages, pecuniary loss, non-pecuniary loss and all other compensatory damages.

In addition, Dickerson is seeking punitive damages and back pay, front pay, reinstatement to the appropriate job and work shift, attorney fees, expert witness fees and all other expenses of litigation and any and all other equitable relief to which he is entitled.

He is represented by Edward Szewczyk of the Callis Law Firm in Granite City.

U.S. District Judge G. Patrick Murphy has been assigned to the case.

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