CITGO wins summary judgment on former employee's wrongful termination claim
Clients CITGO Petroleum Corporation
Jones Day obtained summary judgment on behalf of CITGO Petroleum Corporation in a wrongful termination action brought by a former employee alleging he was terminated in retaliation for exercising his rights under the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act. The plaintiff's employment was governed by a collective bargaining agreement which dictated his loss of employment after his eighteen months of contractually-provided, seniority protected leave expired. The plaintiff argued that CITGO retaliated against him by refusing to provide him light duty work, thereby preventing him from returning to work during his protected leave.
The court held that the plaintiff's focus on light duty work precluded relief, because he could not recover for allegedly retaliatory actions taken prior to his termination. Even considering the plaintiff's theory, the court held that there was no "evidence from which a reasonable juror could conclude that O'Dell's filing of a workers' compensation claim caused CITGO to deny him the opportunity to return to light duty before the eighteen-month period expired."
O'Dell v. CITGO Petroleum Corporation, No. 1-18-cv-00113 (N.D. Ill.)