Oak Park settles on whistleblower termination case

Oak Park to pay $115K to former employee

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

The Village of Oak Park has settled a case with a former employee who sued the village claiming she was discriminated against and fired for being a whistleblower working to expose fraud.

The lawsuit was settled with no admission of guilt from the village or former village employee Jacquelyn Jamison, who worked in the village's human resources department. But the village has agreed to pay her $115,000 to end the legal dispute.

The village could not immediately be reached for comment. Jamison's attorney Michael Leonard called the settlement "a nice vindication for Mrs. Jamison."

"The village ultimately got it right and agreed to compensate her for what we were alleging was wrongful termination," Leonard said in telephone interview.

The lawsuit stems from Jamison's termination in February 2016 after 18 years working at the village.

The village issued a press release shortly after her termination, stating that she had improperly taken information from a village government spreadsheet file with health insurance data of village employees.

She sued in March of that year, stating that she took the information because she believed the village was engaged in fraud because money appeared to be missing in the village's health insurance fund.

Jamison sent the information to her private Gmail account in December 2015, which she said in the lawsuit was a common practice at the time and not in violation of Oak Park's policies and procedures.

The specifics of the allegations were never made public.

Leonard said in 2016 that it was their belief that the fraud went back "several years."

The termination letter given to Jamison in early 2016 accused her of "gross negligence" and "frequently inaccurate work product."

Leonard said at the time that releasing the termination letter was an effort by the village to suggest "that she's done something with people's data."

"I think it's a pretty pathetic statement on how the village would treat an employee who's worked for the village for a couple of decades," Leonard said in 2016.

Jamison also filed complaints in 2017 with the Illinois Department of Human Rights, claiming she was fired in part due to her race and age.

That claim was dismissed, with the department noting a lack of evidence to support the allegations.

tim@oakpark.com

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