Village of Bellwood Board of Fire & Police Commissioners v. Human Rights Commission


Court: Appellate Court of Illinois, First District. Third Division. Judgment affirmed

Date published: Jun 28, 1989


Petitioner, Village of Bellwood Board of Fire and Police Commissioners (Bellwood), appeals from the orders of the Illinois Department of Human Rights (Commission) finding that respondent, Craig Kincaid, proved his allegations of racial harassment and discriminatory discharge and ordering that Bellwood pay back pay, damages, attorney fees, and costs. Bellwood initially maintains that the Commission lacked the authority to review its final decision to terminate the employment of a probationary police officer. Bellwood contends that in the event the Commission’s review was proper, the decision of the Board must be upheld unless it is against the manifest weight of the evidence; that the findings that Kincaid was subject to racial harassment and that his discharge was racially motivated are against the manifest weight of the evidence; that the award of $10,000 in damages for emotional suffering was erroneous; and that the Commission abused its discretion in awarding attorney fees and costs.

On May 10, 1982, Kincaid filed a charge of discrimination with the Commission against the Bellwood board, alleging racial discrimination in his discharge as a probationary police officer. Kincaid’s charge was based on the following facts. Kincaid, a black male, was hired by Bellwood in March 1981, to serve as a probationary patrolman. He completed his preliminary training and began on June 11, 1981.



The Commission ruled that Kincaid had refuted Bellwood’s reasons for claiming unlawful discrimination and that the ALJ’s finding of pretext was not contrary to the evidence. Kincaid has also sustained his burden of establishing that Bellwood engaged in unlawful discrimination, resulting in his racially motivated discharge. Bellwood challenged the Commission’s award of damages of $10,000, $57,457.60 attorney fees, and costs in the amount of $3,318.37.

The Commission found that the $10,000 award was not unreasonable, as the conduct demonstrated was vicious, continuous, and outrageous. The Commission had ample evidence to show that Kincaid was deprived of employment and sustained emotional harm as a result of that conduct. The Commission found that the amount ordered Bellwood to pay for his attorney fees was not unreasonable, and the Commission agreed with its decision insofar as it directed Bellwood to pay attorney fees and costs for the appeal work.

Kincaid requested the court to award him appellate attorney fees and costs, which the court held in Johnson v. Human Rights Comm’n that under the pre-1987 HRA, an award of fees and costs for appellate representation is not authorized. The court affirmed that the Commission’s decision was proper and denied Kincaid’s request for fees and costs of appellate representation.

For the foregoing reasons, the decision of the Commission is affirmed.

Judgment affirmed.

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