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Article updated: 2/12/2013 11:12 AM

Jury awards $1 million to DuPage deputy

By Sara Hooker Josh Stockinger

A deputy who claimed that DuPage County Sheriff John E. Zaruba failed to promote her because she did not support him politically was awarded $1 million in federal court Monday, officials said.

Susan Lakics filed suit against Zaruba and the county in 2009 alleging politics and sexual discrimination repeatedly kept her from being promoted beyond her position as a deputy between 1997 and 2009.

On Monday, jurors agreed with Lakics' claims that politics influenced her career within the department. They did not support her sexual discrimination claim.

In the next 30 days, the county will file a motion for a new trial and pursue other post-trial options, state's attorney spokesman Paul Darrah said. But the county is ultimately prepared to appeal.

"We do feel we have solid legal grounds," Darrah said. "While we respect the jury's service, we are disappointed in the verdict."

In the suit, Lakics says a fallout occurred between her husband, the former mayor of West Chicago, and Zaruba. After, Zaruba treated her differently than other non-politically affiliated employees.

Lakics said she was denied opportunities to attend classes, passed up for promotions for lesser qualified employees and was subject to retaliation such as downgrading her reviews.

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