US Steel worker sues for not being recalled

Kelly Holleran Oct. 13, 2011, 2:59am

A Madison County man has filed suit against his former employer, alleging he was laid off in retaliation for making a complaint about his employer's actions that he thought violated the Illinois Human Rights Act.

Mark Dowdy claims he requested an investigation into actions United State Steel Corporation employees were making that he believed to violate the Illinois Human Rights Act. Dowdy made the request in May 2008 after he had been working for the company for more than 18 years.

Following his request, Dowdy was transferred to the coke ovens in the summer of 2008, where he was commended for his excellent work, according to the complaint filed Oct. 4 in Madison County Circuit Court.

Later that year, in December 2008, many United States Steel Corporation employees were laid off, including Dowdy. In 2009 and 2010, a majority of the former employees were recalled to their jobs.

Dowdy, though, was not an employee who was asked to return to work, the suit states. Instead, he was told he could either voluntarily terminate his employment with United States Steel Corporation or that he could wait until Sept. 9, 2011, to collect retirement benefits, the complaint says.

Dowdy claims he would have been allowed to return to work if he had not made his previous complaints.

"But for defendant's perceiving plaintiff as disabled when he was not, and plaintiff's prior efforts to assert rights pursuant to the Illinois Human Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, defendant would have recalled plaintiff from lay off at least by June 2010," the suit states.

Because of United States Steel's failure to recall Dowdy to work, he has lost wages and benefits and experienced emotional distress, humiliation, embarrassment, pain and suffering, the complaint says.

In his complaint, Dowdy is seeking compensatory damages of more than $75,000, punitive damages of more than $75,000, costs, attorney's fees and other relief the court deems just.

Lee W. Barron of Alton will be representing him.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 11-L-1012.

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