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Former Illinois Workers Sue To Get Jobs Back

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Eight former Illinois workers are suing Gov. Bruce Rauner's administration, alleging they lost their jobs for political reasons.

The workers were laid off from the Illinois Department of Transportation, The State Journal-Register reported.

The governor's administration last year said the layoffs were partly a case of "cleaning up past hiring mistakes and personnel practices." Rauner said the employees were illegally hired patronage workers under previous Democratic governors.

The lawsuit filed in federal court Friday argues that the layoffs were part of a deliberate "attempt to deprive the plaintiffs of their employment in retaliation for not being supporters of Gov. Bruce Rauner and the Republican Party."

The workers were reassigned with the same job description to IDOT's headquarters in Springfield on April 21, 2017. The employees continued to receive at least acceptable job evaluations until July 12, 2017, when they were told that they were being laid off because there wasn't enough work for them to perform, according to the lawsuit.

"The assertion that each plaintiff was laid off for lack of work is a pretense to terminate them," the lawsuit states. "The real reason for the termination of these plaintiffs was that they were employed by the prior administration (under then Governor Patrick Quinn who was a member of the Democratic Party) or that they refused to become affiliated with the Rauner administration."

The former employees are seeking their jobs back, as well as lost wages and benefits.

The Rauner administration didn't respond to the newspaper's request for comment.

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