Lawyers representing 55 Illinois Department of Transportation workers laid off last week say the employees should be able to continue working for the agency in their staff assistant positions.
According to reports, the employees are members of the Teamsters union. Their positions were criticized by a state inspector general's report and are at the crux of a federal lawsuit alleging illegal hiring at the agency.
IDOT officials said the dismissals were designed to boost accountability. But the inspector general's report released on Friday found anti-patronage rules were ignored in hiring. The federal lawsuit seeks an investigation into IDOT and an independent monitor to oversee employment practices.
Attorney Carl Draper says the employees shouldn't be punished for being hired for work that needed to be done.