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Man alleges Forest Preserve violated whistleblower law
by Matt Simonette
2019-08-29

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A man is suing the Forest Preserve District of Cook County ( the District ), among others, alleging that he was unlawfully terminated from his District job for whistle-blowing.

John Regalado, who is gay, sued the District, Cook County and District Superintendent Arnold Randall on July 15, accusing them of firing him in Aug. 2018 in retaliation for his notifying the Cook County Office of the Independent Inspector General ( OIIG ) that a colleague had provided false testimony in their investigation of a sexual harassment case. According to the complaint, Regalado was fired by Randall mere hours after his OIIG notification.

"When I was terminated [Randall] told me that 'they wanted to go in a different direction,'" Regalado, who had been director of facilities and fleet for the District in Maywood, said. He alleges he told Randall that the investigation, which centered around an employee Regalado oversaw, "was conducted by the OIIG without the correct information that I brought to light."

The investigation centered around an incident involving one man simulating sex with another, and surveillance footage of the incident; a colleague told investigators that she'd told Regalado about others viewing the footage. Regalado maintains that the colleague never told him that, and he notified OIIG and District officials to that effect.

He is alleging violation of the Whistleblower Act as well as retaliatory discharge and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Regalado asks for his job back, as well as back pay, back benefits and court costs. The suit was filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County.


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