Former SWIC employee’s racial discrimination lawsuit removed to federal court

Heather Isringhausen Gvillo Oct. 20, 2015, 1:10pm


The SWIC Board of Trustees removed to federal court a former employee’s lawsuit alleging racial discrimination for being replaced when her department underwent reorganization.

Donna Marie Moody filed her lawsuit on June 29 against Southwestern Illinois College, also known as SWIC.

According to the complaint, Moody, an African-American female, claims she was employed at SWIC from 1989 until June 2014 when she was discharged. During that time, she worked as a multicultural-related department director from 1994 until 2014. As part of her duties, she alleges she initiated and led mentoring and retention programs for students and led diversity-related training workshops.

Moody claims she was informed that her department would undergo reorganization in August 2013 but she would still have a position. However, she alleges she was fired and replaced by a Caucasian worker after expressing concerns about the transition, the suit states.

Moody alleges her employer engaged in retaliatory conduct by placing her on administrative leave on Nov. 15, 2013, issuing a reprimand in December 2013, micromanaging her performance, demoting her and ultimately discharging her on June 30, 2014, according to the lawsuit.

The plaintiff claims no Caucasian employees lost their jobs in the reorganization. As a result, she alleges she was fired based on her race, the suit states.

She seeks declarative and injunctive relief, reinstatement or front pay, judgment in her favor for compensatory damages, attorney’s fees and costs.

The Board of Trustees filed a notice of removal to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois on Sept. 15 through attorney Garrett Hoerner of Becker, Hoerner, Thompson & Ysursa in Belleville.

The defendant argues that removal is proper because the federal court has jurisdiction over the plaintiff’s claims of the Illinois Human Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993.

Moody is represented by The Law Office of Sarah Swatosh in St. Louis.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number 15-L-374

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