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On August 28, 2014, Judge James McCarthy issued a decision in Crawley v. Chicago State University, Case No. 10 L 12657 (Cook County, Ill., Law Div.), affirming payment of over $3 million to Plaintiff James Crowley (“Plaintiff”), a former Chicago State University (“University”) Senior Legal Counsel, following a jury trial on his whistleblower retaliation claim under the Illinois State Official and Employee Ethics Act (“Ethics Act”).  We previously reported on the jury’s award in our March 18, 2014 post.

An Illinois state court of appeals recently held that the Cook County Department of Public Health (“Cook County”) was not liable for common law retaliatory discharge because plaintiff/appellant failed to identify a cognizable “public policy.”  Lucas v. County of Cook, Case No. 09 L 11982 (1st Dist. March 5, 2013). This decision underscores the height of the hurdle employees face in attempting to show a public policy has been violated, as general references to safety and health simply will not do–particularly in the wake of the Illinois Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Turner v. Memorial Medical Center, 233 Ill. 2d 494 (2009).