Scott Credit Union claims that its termination of an employee who now alleges age discrimination was based on legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons unrelated to her age.
"Defendant would have made the same employment decisions regardless of Plaintiff's age," wrote attorneys Thomas Berry and Carrie Kinsella of Jackson Lewis in St. Louis in answer to a suit filed by Deborah Willis in Madison County in February.
"Plaintiff is not entitled to relief inasmuch as damages allegedly suffered or experienced were due, either in whole or in part to Plaintiff's own contributory or comparative negligence," Berry and Kinsella wrote.
Willis, represented by John H. Leskera of Collinsville, claims the credit union violated the Illinois Human Rights Act.
A case management conference was held before Circuit Judge Barbara Crowder on June 29, at which a trial date of July 17, 2017 was set.
According to the complaint, Willis began working for Scott as an assistant branch manager on Dec. 26, 2007, and was later named employee of the year for 2013. Then on April 27, 2014, she was relocated to the Highland facility, the suit says.
From September 2014 to Jan. 13, 2015, the suit states, Scott issued a series of charges against the plaintiff that did not qualify as formal discipline. She claims these charges were made for the sole purposes of creating a basis upon which Willis could be discharged and replaced with a younger employee.
In addition, the suit alleges, three longstanding employees were terminated, each of them older than 40, while three inexperienced employees, each younger than 40, replaced them. This shows a pattern of discrimination, the suit alleges.
Scott Credit Union denies the allegations, saying that it also terminated the employment of other employees not within the protected age group.
Willis seeks damages of more than $50,000, plus attorney fees and court costs.
Madison County Circuit Court case number 16-L-279