Illinois Appellate Court Ruling Affecting Labor Unions’ Termination of Employees

September 9, 2019

In a recent case, Dorothy Crawley v. The Board of Education of the City of Chicago, the 1st District Appellate Court ruled that the termination of a Chicago school teacher, who called in sick but in reality, actually went on a vacation, was warranted under the state’s School Code.

Although the Defendant submitted a physician’s note that said she should take time off for some of the days missed, other days were undisputedly taken as sick days, which the defendant took when she wasn’t ill.  The Court labeled such behavior “irredeemable.”

Relying on recent precedent, the court defined “irredeemable” as “immoral” behavior which “indulge[s] a basic character flaw.”  The court had previously defined “immoral” conduct as “shameless” behavior showing “moral indifference.”  The ruling upheld the precedent that based on “immoral” behavior, the defendant’s continued employment with the board was “untenable.”

The case could have broad implications for employers with “just-cause” provisions in their employment agreements, including employers who work with unions, or other public sector organizations.

For information on whether this ruling could apply to your own labor agreements and for best practice procedures, contact the attorneys at Rock Fusco & Connelly, LLC.