Portrait studio worker claims retaliatory discharge

Andrea Dearden Sep. 5, 2012, 2:00am

A St. Clair County portrait studio is accused of firing one of its employees after she complained about the company's working conditions.

Dawnell Mireles filed a lawsuit Aug. 22 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Portrait Innovations Inc., Johnny Grasso, Meredith Zimmer and Kacey Williams.

Mireles says she worked for Portrait Innovations in St. Clair County and reported several unlawful activities by her employer to the Illinois Department of Labor. Those unlawful acts allegedly included not allowing employees to take breaks, not allowing employees to take time off work during certain times of the year, not providing a safe place for Mireles to use her breast pump while at work and improperly handling and disposing of the chemicals used during the photographic process.

Mireles says she was fired from her job in August 2010 and claims it was because of the complaints she filed with the state. She accuses the company and her supervisors of retaliatory discharge and intentional interference with economic advantage. Mireles asks for more than $200,000 in damages for loss of income and benefits, including court costs.

Attorneys Michael J. Brunton and Mary M. Stewart of Collinsvile represent Mireles.

St. Clair County Circuit Court Case No.12-L-438

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