Woman explains discrimination lawsuit

News

DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — An area woman is speaking publicly for the first time since filing a lawsuit against the city, saying she’s not just fighting for her self.

Attorney Jeffrey Kulwin filed the suit in federal court in Urbana on behalf of 51-year-old Lisa Robinson. 

The suit follows a 2018-era decision by city officials to fire Robinson from her position with the Department of Engineering and Urban services. By then, Robinson had spent more than 20 years working for the city, having started her career there in 1994.

The lawsuit details racial- and age-related harassment against a long-time city employee. Monday, Lisa Robinson said the harassment has stopped, but that is not stopping her from taking this to court.

This lawsuit specifically asked for city officials to put procedures in place to stop discrimination and harassment based on race, as well as an “independent monitor” to oversee the policies.

Robinson said she was denied access to files and other information because of her race and age. Two years ago, city officials fired her from her job at the Department of Engineering and Urban Services; later, a union arbitrator ruled there were no grounds for termination and Robinson got her job back after several months, this time with the police department.

Robinson said all of the behavior stopped after her boss, former director of Public Safety, Larry Thomason retired last year.

She shared a statement Monday about why she is filing the lawsuit now.

“What happened to me was wrong. Discrimination and retaliation should not be tolerated at work, especially when working for the city,” Robinson said. “Second, I wanna make sure what happened to me does not happen to any other Danville employee,”

Former Mayor Scott Eisenhauer and current Mayor Rickey Williams, Jr., who were both named in the lawsuit, declined to comment.

Two of her former bosses are also named as defendants, including Thomason, and director of the Engineering and Urban Services Department, David Schnelle.

In addition to starting new policies, Robinson’s lawsuit also wants the court to declare Danville City officials, “intentionally violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).” She is also asking for damages to cover attorney’s fees, court costs, lost pay and benefits.

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