We recently received summary judgment in the Circuit Court of Cook County, Illinois in favor of Chicago based restaurant operator and franchisor in a lawsuit by a former manager who claimed he was terminated because he refused to work while ill with a flu virus.
The employee sought compensatory and punitive damages and claimed that his termination was a retaliatory discharge pursuant to Title 77, Section 750.000(a) of the Illinois Administrative Code. This section prohibits employees from working in areas within a food service establishment where it is likely a disease or infection would be spread. The court noted that requiring restaurant employees to work while ill would violate section 750.500(a) and undermine the public’s interest in preventing the spread of communicable diseases. Summary judgment was granted in favor of the employer because the only “evidence” supporting the employee’s contention was his subjective belief of his assertions. The record contained substantial evidence demonstrating that plaintiff was in fact terminated for poor performance.