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3 docs sue county over layoffs

Friday, April 18, 2008
Crain's Chicago Business
by Mike Colias

(Crain’s) — Three doctors who were laid off amid widespread layoffs at Cook County’s health system last year are suing the county, claiming officials ignored their seniority in making the job cuts.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in federal court in Chicago, also claims the county “has a longstanding practice of underpaying and overworking black and female physicians.” Two of the plaintiffs, orthopedic surgeon Vietta L. Johnson and oral surgeon Karen Nash, also are suing the Cook County Bureau of Health Services for sex and race discrimination.

Dr. Johnson and another physician, orthopedic surgeon Daniel Ivankovich, also claim county health officials violated their First Amendment rights by targeting them as part of the layoffs because of their support of a union drive at Provident Hospital.

All three were let go in April 2007, the lawsuit says. The county ignored the law and its own employment policies by firing them while doctors with less seniority were spared, the suit claims.

The three are seeking an unspecified amount in damages and back pay.

A county spokeswoman said she had not seen the suit and couldn't immediately comment.



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