A discrimination suit brought by former Public Works employee Charles Weeks against the Village of Oak Park was settled out of court last month. The village did not admit any fault as part of the terms of the settlement, said Village Attorney Ray Heise.
Neither Heise nor Weeks’ attorney Rhonda Stuart could release the financial terms of the settlement due to confidentiality. However, Heise said it was a “very low amount” and that it would have cost the village “10 times as much, or more” to go to trial.
“The court encourages settlements when possible. The willingness of the plaintiff to settle for a very low amount made this a good business decision,” Heise said.
Overall, Stuart said her client is “happy with the results.”
According to court documents, settlement conferences began in early June and court proceedings formally ended on Nov. 18.
Weeks was fired two years ago after the village determined he was physically unable to perform his job operating a street sweeper because of a sleep disorder, according to the lawsuit.
However, Weeks claimed that the village accommodated white employees with disabilities, and also argued that he could have performed his job despite the disorder. Weeks also stated in his suit that the village retaliated against him after he filed an earlier claim of race and disability discrimination against the village.
Weeks’ case predates a raft of five lawsuits filed by former Public Works employees in July of last year. Those suits put forth a number of allegations, including age, national origin and race discrimination, retaliation and harassment. The suits not only accused village officials of misconduct, but also fellow employees.
A status hearing in those cases was last held in October.