Longtime Lynwood Employee Discharged by New Mayor, Lawsuit Alleges
The Village of Lynwood fired an employee for reporting to the Illinois State Police and the U.S. Department of Labor his suspicions that high-ranking village officials violated the law, according to a new lawsuit filed in federal court by Jeff and his law firm.
Josh Watson worked for the Village of Lynwood as a project manager for nearly a decade. According to the complaint, while he was off work on medical leave, Josh received information that Mayor Jada Curry may have violated the law by using LEADS criminal history information for an improper purpose. Under federal and state law, LEADS criminal history information may only be used for criminal justice purposes. The complaint alleged Josh was informed that Mayor Curry directed an employee to provide her with LEADS criminal history information even after Mayor Curry was advised the request violated the law.
Josh also suspected Lynwood mishandled his request for leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act. The complaint alleged that, after Josh made a report to the U.S. Department of Labor, Lynwood was cited for violations in handling Josh’s FMLA leave.
When Josh returned to work in March 2022, he was told to meet with Mayor Curry. According to the complaint, at the meeting Josh was told it was not his job to report LEADS violations. Mayor Curry then allegedly told Josh “they are getting rid” of his position. Josh alleged he was offered a severance agreement “as a thank you for almost ten years of hard work” if he resigned immediately and waived his legal rights. Josh claims that, when he refused to sign the severance agreement, Mayor Curry discharged him immediately.
The lawsuit alleges that Josh was discharged unlawfully for reporting to the government that he believed Lynwood violated the law. The complaint seeks relief under the First Amendment. the Illinois Whistleblower Act and the Family and Medical Leave Act.
The case was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and captioned as Josh Watson v. the Village of Lynwood, et al. Case No. 22 C 4106.
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NOTICE: The information contained in this post comes from allegations made in a legal complaint which was filed in the public record with the court. Please note that this is a contested matter. As a result, it is expected that the allegations will be opposed or denied by other parties and the court has not ruled one way or the other as of the date of this statement.