Another former Oakton instructor sues for age discrimination

 
 
Updated 4/1/2016 10:37 AM
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  • Oakton Community College is the subject of two federal age discrimination lawsuits after the Des Plaines-based school laid off some 80 part-time employees last year.

      Oakton Community College is the subject of two federal age discrimination lawsuits after the Des Plaines-based school laid off some 80 part-time employees last year. Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer, 2006

Another former Oakton Community College instructor has sued for age discrimination after he wasn't retained in the midst of some 80 firings last year at the Des Plaines-based school. Donald Krzyzak's federal lawsuit is the second; Daniel Filipek sued the school on the same basis last month.

Krzyzak, 81, and Filipek, 68, both of Mount Prospect, argue in court filings that they and the other fired Oakton part-timers are members of a "protected class" since they are age 40 or above.

Oakton dismissed about 80 part-time employees, including 50 adjuncts, at the end of the spring 2015 semester in response to a 2013 state law that imposes penalties on public colleges that employ part-time instructors who have retired from full-time teaching jobs at other institutions.

Krzyzak and Filipek were receiving pensions through the State University Retirement System while working at Oakton. Filipek said he and Krzyzak didn't exceed earning limits, and as such, didn't expose Oakton to financial penalties.

College officials have argued they don't have the capability or resources to effectively track earnings limits. The Illinois Department of Human Rights ruled Jan. 12 there was "not substantial evidence" to support the allegations. College officials have declined to comment on litigation on the matter.

The litigation comes as an unfair labor practice charge related to the adjunct firings was dismissed this week by the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board's executive director. The charge, filed in May 2015 by the college's Adjunct Faculty Association, said the firings violated the union's contract and should've been subject to bargaining. But the college said there's a provision in the contract that allowed it not to rehire the instructors. The union has until April 11 to appeal.

A decision is also expected in about a month in the arbitration of 18 union members' grievances related to their firings.

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