DuPage 911 operator sues, saying employer discriminated against him

A 911 telecommunicator is suing DuPage Public Safety Communications, saying it has discriminated against him because of his race and ethnicity.

Pedro M. Perez also says in the lawsuit that officials with the agency, commonly called Du-Comm, retaliated because of his discrimination complaint.

Perez filed the lawsuit on Monday in DuPage County Circuit Court.

A representative of Du-Comm said the agency has not been notified of the lawsuit and declined to comment on it.

Du-Comm answers 911 calls and dispatches police, fire and emergency medical services for 44 agencies throughout DuPage County.

In the lawsuit, Perez listed his race as Mexican and his ethnicity as Mexican/Hispanic. He said he began working for Du-Comm in September 1997.

In January 2022, he filed complaints with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Illinois Department of Human Rights. The IDHR dismissed his complaint in January 2024, according to the lawsuit.

Perez said he was disciplined for using the Signal encrypted messaging app to broadcast in-progress crime and emergency communications to other departments when others who did so were not punished, according to the lawsuit. At the time, the lawsuit states, there was no policy prohibiting the use of the app.

In April 2021, Perez reported another worker was sexually harassing co-workers. He also told managers that another co-worker was likely high on painkillers while taking calls and making radio dispatches. He alleges management did not like his complaints, so they retaliated against him, according to the lawsuit.

Perez also alleges that he was told in July 2021 to stop speaking to callers in Spanish, even though he had done so for years. When a supervisor suggested that Perez become certified to speak in Spanish to callers, managers rejected the idea, according to the lawsuit.

Perez also states in the lawsuit that he was sexually assaulted by a co-worker, suffering unspecified injuries. He says he reported it to the DuPage County state’s attorney’s office, who told him to report it to police, which he did. The worker was suspended but continued to sexually harass Perez and other workers, according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

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