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 Hendricks.
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 fact.
“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 II.”
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 state’s attorney.
District Judge Phil Gilbert planned a scheduling conference on May 26.