Heather Isringhausen Gvillo Oct. 1, 2013, 6:40am

Madison County Circuit Judge Barbara L. Crowder ordered back pay and reinstatement to a secretary in the State's Attorney's office who had been terminated last year for allegedly making racist remarks and threatening blackmail.

Crowder ordered the county to reinstate Andrew Kane to employment in his former position of Secretary II in State’s Attorney’s  Tom Gibbons' office. She also ordered that Kane be paid wages he would have made from Jan. 23 through July 26 in the amount of $17,407. 04, interest at a rate six percent in the amount of $217.59 and Kane’s costs of bringing this action in the amount of $318. Kane was also awarded accrued time off and restored employee benefits.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) filed the lawsuit on behalf of Kane against Madison County and Gibbons, claiming they did not abide by a January 2012 arbitrator's decsion.

The complaint was filed by Chicago attorney Melissa J. Auerbach of Cornfield and Feldman.

According to the complaint, Kane was discharged on May 2, 2012, from his position with the State’s Attorney’s office as “Secretary II” in the Felony Division, which pays approximately $35,000 per year.

According to the defendants’ response to Kane’s motion for judgment, Kane was discharged after allegedly participating in racist actions. Kane allegedly placed a photo of Aladdin in a co-worker’s office and referred to him as Aladdin. Kane was also blamed for mentioning "blackmail" in the office on April 13, 2012.

Following his termination in May 2012, Kane filed a grievance in accordance with terms of a collective bargaining agreement, the suit states. The discharge grievance claimed Kane’s discharge was without just cause under provisions of that agreement.

On Jan. 22, an arbitrator sustained Kane’s grievance and restored him to service, but without compensation for lost time.

The State’s Attorney’s office was given 90 days to appeal or modify the arbitration award.

Because Kane wasn’t reinstated in a timely manner, Crowder entered a judgment in favor of Kane.

According to the defendants’ response, they recognize that Kane was to be reinstated earlier this year. However, they argue that restoring Kane to the workplace has been a difficult process as he was “found responsible and disciplined for conduct which is intolerable in the State’s Attorney’s Office.”

“The State’s Attorney has been struggling with how to reinstate Mr. Kane and at the same time protect other employees in the office and protect the integrity of the duties, responsibilities, and functions of the State’s Attorney’s Office,” the response states.

The State’s Attorney’s Office further requested additional time to comply with the arbitration award to come up with a reinstatement process and position for Kane.

John L. Gilbert of Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard P.C. in Edwardsville represents the defendants.

Madison County Circuit Court case number 13-MR-135

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