A Madison County man says his position as an assistant to the dean of the school of engineering at Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville was abolished because he is a middle-aged, black man.

Ronald D. Banks filed a lawsuit Sept. 2 in Madison County Circuit Court against the Board of Trustees of Southern Illinois University, Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville and the state of Illinois.

Banks, a 51-year-old black man, claims he was hired on March 1, 1994, to his position as assistant to the dean of the school of engineering.

Even though Banks performed all of his job duties and complied with the terms of his contract, he was notified on Oct. 18, 2007, that his position was being abolished and that he was being terminated, according to the complaint.

"That in terminating Plaintiff's employment, the Defendants intended to discriminate unlawfully and did discriminate unlawfully against the Plaintiff because of his race, color and/or age," the suit states.

When his position was abolished, Banks claims he should have been entitled to another position at the university, but was not offered a reassignment.

Because of his termination and the university's refusal to reassign Banks, he has lost back pay and front pay and endured mental anguish, according to the complaint. He also suffered embarrassment, humiliation, loss of the enjoyment of life and inconvenience, the suit states.

Banks is seeking liquidated and compensatory damages, back and front pay, job reinstatement or reassignment to another position at the university, plus pre-judgment interest, attorney's fees, costs and other relief to which he is entitled.

Edward J. Szewczyk of Callis, Papa, Hale, Szewczyk and Danzinger in Granite City will be representing him.

Madison County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-916.

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