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Appeals panel: Park District must pay after bias claim
by Matt Simonette
2020-04-14

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A federal appeals panel has ruled that Chicago Park District must pay $300,000 to an employee, who is lesbian, who sued the District on the grounds that she was both surveilled and terminated as a result of anti-Latinx bias.

The plaintiff in that case, Lydia Vega, filed her suit years ago and won, but litigation to determine the extent of her damages and back pay has continued. Vega was also awarded her job back, a determination that CPD has not argued.

CPD fired Vega, a longtime District employee with no disciplinary issues, in 2012 on the basis of allegations that she had falsified timesheets. She sued in 2013, maintaining that not not only did the District wrongfully terminate her, but they subjected her to harassment as they investigated their claims.

In the most recent ruling, first reported by Cook County Record, a panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago ruled that CPD must pay $300,000 in damages to Vega. She had asked for a higher amount, but $300,000 is the maximum amount in damages allowed by law in her situation. The ruling was issued April 7.

The panel also ordered that the federal judge who presided over the case demonstrate how they arrived at a determination that Vega be awarded an additional $55,000 as a "tax component."

Cook County Record's article is at cookcountyrecord.com/stories/530107362-appeals-panel-chicago-park-district-can-t-slide-on-300k-award-in-hispanic-ex-supervisor-s-discrimination-suit .


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