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Firefighter sues City of Belleville for allegedly violating Civil Rights Act

By Michael Abella | Feb 17, 2017


EAST ST. LOUIS — A firefighter and paramedic is suing the City of Belleville for allegedly terminating his employment after he sought to use accumulated sick leave and vacation time following surgery.

Larry Horne filed a complaint on Feb. 13 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois against the City of Belleville, alleging it violated Titles I and VII of the Civil Rights Act.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that on Feb. 9, 2014, he was injured while pulling a large fire hose up a hill. After undergoing arthroscopic surgery, he requested to use his accrued sick leave and/or vacation time, but he was denied. His employment was terminated on Dec. 5, 2015.

The complaint states that on Jan. 20, 2016, the municipality rescinded its termination but still refused to allow him to go on a sick leave, in contrast to white employees who were permitted to use accumulated sick leave and vacation time either in place of or in addition to workers' compensation disability benefits.

As a result, he has suffered financial injury and a loss of employment benefits, the suit states.

The plaintiff alleges the City of Belleville refused to allow him to exercise his right to use accumulated sick leave to supplement workers’ compensation benefits during his absence.

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks compensation for past and future pecuniary losses, costs and attorney fees, including the pre-filing administrative expenses and such other relief as the court deems necessary and proper.

He is represented by Thomas W. Duda of Law Offices of Thomas W. Duda in Palatine.

U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Illinois case number 3:17-cv-00154

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