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On March 5th, 2024, Kennedy Hunt P.C. filed a complaint in co-counsel with the Law Offices of Joan M. Swartz against Pet-Ag, Inc. for employment discrimination based on his race, sex, color, national origin, and ancestry in violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Our client is a Hispanic male of Mexican ancestry and a member of one or more protected classes under the Civil Rights Act. According to the lawsuit, our client was employed by the defendant from September 2015 to November 2022 as a Senior Director of Operations. 

In August 2021, our client got a new supervisor, D.B. According to the lawsuit: 

Commencing with the hiring of D.B. as Vice-President and General Manager of Defendant Pet-Ag, Inc., Defendant Pet-Ag, Inc., acting by and through D.B., engaged in a Pattern and Practice of Discrimination that targeted males for dismissal based on their race, color, national origin and/or ancestry. 

Per the lawsuit, D.B. terminated or attempted to terminate three male employees with foreign ancestry based on false accusations of poor performance and/or misconduct. In each instance, the fired employees were replaced with white females. 

The lawsuit also alleges the defendant subjected our client to a work environment that was unreasonable, hostile, and abusive toward our client, including false accusations of misconduct against our client, unwarranted criticism and false complaints, and denial of promotions and promotional opportunities based on sex and based on race, color, national origin, and ancestry.

Our client reported the pattern and practice of discrimination and hostile work environment in August 2022. In response, our client was warned things could “get worse before they got better.” In November 2022, the defendant terminated D.B.’s employment. According to the lawsuit, D.B.’s termination failed to abate the Pattern and Practice of Discrimination and Hostile Work Environment and our client continued to be targeted for dismissal by the defendant. 

Defendant repeatedly treated our client in a disparate manner. Our client engaged in protected activities protected under the Civil Rights Act, including advocating for greater diversity in the workplace, complaining of discrimination in the workplace, and filed charges of discrimination with the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

In response, according to the lawsuit, the defendant exhibited hostility, antagonism, and retaliation towards our client. 

Per the lawsuit: 

Defendant Pet-Ag, Inc. treated other similarly situated employees who did not engage in Protected Activities in a more favorable manner and treated [our client] less favorably and differently based on his engaging in Protected Activities.

According to the lawsuit, the defendant terminated our client’s employment in November 2022. Per the lawsuit, the stated reason for termination was related to the purchase of forklifts, an event that happened more than one year prior to the termination. The lawsuit alleges the stated reason for the termination was a pretext to cover-up the disparate treatment, pattern of discrimination, and retaliation. 

According to the lawsuit: 

Defendant Pet-Ag, Inc. engaged in the above-described discriminatory practice with malice and/or with reckless disregard and indifference to the federally protected employment rights of [our client].

The lawsuit seeks actual damages and punitive damages for equitable relief in the form of abatement and either front pay or reinstatement for Plaintiff’s attorney’s fees and costs. 

For more information, contact attorneys Sarah Jane Hunt and Ellen Bruntrager at sarahjane@kennedyhuntlaw.com. If you or someone you know has been a victim of discrimination, our skilled attorneys at Kennedy Hunt, P.C. may be able to help you. Fill out a questionnaire so we can understand your claim.