BENTON – Madison County state’s attorney Tom Gibbons
answered a retaliation suit from former employee Andrew Kane with praise for
the person who fired him.
His answer to the suit in U.S. district court denies that he
should have disciplined office manager Kevin Hendricks and admits
he raised his pay.
Kane regained his secretarial job through an arbitration award in 2013, but he resigned and sued Gibbons’s office and the
county in February.
As reason for his firing, Hendricks and Gibbons
have alleged that Kane made racist remarks and threatened blackmail.
Kane’s lawyer, Lee Barron of Alton, claims that when his
client was reinstated, Gibbons assigned him to a demeaning position under
Kane seeks damages from Gibbons’s office and the county.
Gibbons retained John Gilbert of Edwardsville, who filed an
answer on May 16.
“Defendant admits that it did not discipline Kevin Hendricks
because there was no legal basis or requirement that Kevin Hendricks be
disciplined as a result of the finding made by the Illinois Department of Human
Rights,” Gilbert wrote.
“The finding made by the Department of Human Rights merely
suggested that an issue of fact existed which required decision by a finder of
“Not disciplining Hendricks and even giving Hendricks a
raise and providing Hendricks with additional perquisites of employment do not
constitute and did not constitute a legal violation.
“Rather, any perquisites of employment provided to Hendricks
were provided to him on the basis of his performance and value to the state’s
attorney as an employee of the state’s attorney.”
Gilbert denies that the Department of Human Rights found
Gibbons violated the Human Rights Act.
He wrote that the arbitrator who reinstated Kane’s position
also imposed discipline on Kane nearly equivalent to nine months on suspension.
Gibbons reinstated Kane to a position consistent with a “Secretary
Gilbert wrote that the position was not demeaning and did
not constitute an adverse employment action under the Civil Rights Act.
He separately moved to dismiss Madison County as defendant,
arguing that Kane incorrectly identified the county as employer rather than the
District Judge Phil Gilbert planned a scheduling conference
on May 26.