Hillmann v. City of Chicago, No. 14-3438 (7th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Hillmann began working for the Chicago Parks District in 1973. Later he became a Department of Streets and Sanitation truck driver. In 1984 he developed cervical radiculopathy, a work-related injury. In 1995 he entered into an accommodation agreement with the city and was reassigned as chief timekeeper. He never performed all of the duties required by the job description, but he performed the essential functions and other tasks as directed by his supervisor. In 2000 a new supervisor gave Hillmann duties that required use of his injured arm.. Hillmann experienced various difficulties until his position was eliminated in 2002, in a city-wide reduction in forces. He sued, alleging that he was targeted because he asserted his rights under the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. 12101. A jury found in Hillmann’s favor on the IWCA claim and awarded damages. The judge rejected the ADA claim. The Seventh Circuit ruled in favor of the city; neither claim should have been tried. To prevail on his claim that he was discharged for exercising his rights under the IWCA, Hillmann needed to prove causation. No evidence suggests that the RIF decision-maker knew about Hillmann’s claim. The ADA claim likewise fails for lack of proof of causation. Hillmann has no evidence that the city withheld raises or targeted him for the RIF based on his ADA accommodation.