A hearing is scheduled April 16 in a lawsuit involving two former East St. Louis demolition department workers who claim various city officials spread rumors about them, costing them their jobs, in retaliation for their whistleblowing.
Sheila Thomas and Marcus Johnson filed a lawsuit Dec. 17 in St. Clair County Circuit Court against Tommy Dancy, Delbert Marion, Alvin Parks Jr., Deletra Hudson and the city of East St. Louis.
According to the complaint, Thomas and Johnson worked for the city’s demolition department when councilman Robert Eastern III and Dancy allegedly harassed Thomas. Johnson witnessed the alleged harassment and agreed to testify for Thomas.
Thomas filed a formal complaint against East St. Louis, the suit says. After she sued, Dancy and Marion accused Thomas and Johnson of issuing dump tickets to contractors for personal use, according to the complaint.
The plaintiffs contend they are innocent, and Dancy and Marion allegedly spread rumors to retaliate against Thomas and Johnson for their reporting of the alleged sexual harassment, the complaint says.
Because of the defendants’ allegations, Thomas and Johnson claim they lost their jobs, have been unable to secure subsequent employment and suffered harm to their reputations.
In a Jan. 18 answer to the complaint, the defendants stated they had a “valid non-pretextual reason for the termination of the plaintiffs.”
The defendants also stated the plaintiffs are not entitled to punitive damages, and the plaintiffs failed to mitigate their damages.
Brian L. Polinske of Polinske and Associates in Edwardsville represents the plaintiffs.
Heidi Eckert of Hinshaw & Culbertson in Belleville represents the defendants.
The case is assigned to St. Clair County Circuit Judge Andrew Gleeson.
St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 12-L-663