Blog Archive

Blog Archive : April 2006

Jose Aspera posted a blog on Apr 27, 2006

Update on Lewis Firefighters’ Case

On April 27, 2006 we asked our trial judge to immediately order the City to begin remedial hiring of class members. We also asked the judge to prohibit the City from taking down the eligibility list derived from the 1995 written entrance exam. We hope that the judge will rule on our motion soon.


There are nearly 7000 African Americans in our plaintiff class, so we cannot always take all of your phone calls. When there is any significant development in the case, we will post notice of the development on this website and take steps to reach class members without internet access

Miguel Alvarez posted a blog on Apr 12, 2006

Chicago Lawyers’ Committee Settles Racial Harassment Case

Local brick masonry firm Ceisel Masonry will pay $500,000 to resolve a racial harassment case brought by the Chicago Lawyers' Committee, Howrey, LLP and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Plaintiffs, who worked as laborers and bricklayers, were regularly referred to as "f--ing Mexicans," "spics," and "wetbacks" by their foremen. In addition, the portapotties used by Ceisel Masonry workers, but provided by a general contractor, frequently contained racial graffiti. The consent decree provides that the company will revise its harassment policy, train its workforce on harassment and discrimination law, forward any complaints of harassment to the EEOC, and evaluate its supervisors with respect to their compliance with the new harassment procedures. Howrey attorneys Abigail Peluso, Todd McLawhorn and Kenneth Kliebard were instrumental in the litigation and in obtaining the favorable settlement.

Jose Aspera posted a blog on Apr 12, 2006

Hispanic Workers Called “Spics” and “Wetbacks” Sue Local Masonry Firm for Harassment



For immediate release.

For further information contact:

Laurie Wardell at Chicago Lawyers' Committee For Civil Rights Under Law, 312-630-9744, lwardel


CHICAGO ... On April 13, 2006 a class of Hispanic workers filed a lawsuit in federal court in Chicago against their employer, Ceisel Masonry of Northbrook, Illinois, alleging that the workers had been subjected to racial and ethnic harassment. The workers are represented by the Chicago Lawyers' Committee For Civil Rights Under Law, a non-profit civil rights organization, and by the Chicago office of Howrey LLP, an international law firm which is donating its time pro bono to the case.


Laurie Wardell, Director of the Employment Opportunity Project at the Chicago Lawyers' Committee, described the suit, saying, "Our complaint alleges that managers at every level of the company called Hispanic workers names such as 'wetbacks,' 'spics' and 'border jumpers.' In this workforce, the color of a worker's skin truly defined his status and permeated his time on the job."


The lawsuit seeks a harassment free workplace and compensatory and punitive damages. A separate case has been filed against the same employer by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the two cases will be consolidated under a single federal judge.


For over 35 years, the Chicago Lawyers' Committee, through its 40-plus member law firms and staff, has fought to eliminate discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations. For further information about the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, contact Clyde Murphy or Laurie Wardell at 3 12-630-9744, or visit


Founded in 1956, Howrey LLP, is a top international law firm with over 575 attorneys. It is one of the most frequently used law firms in the nation among Fortune 250 companies according to the National Law Journal's survey of "Who Represents Corporate America?" Howrey is consistently highly ranked in each of its three practice areas of Intellectual Property, Antitrust and Global Litigation. In addition to its formidable reputation among the world's leading law firms, last year, Howrey attorneys and staff contributed more than 65,000 hours to pro bono matters. The firm has been recognized for its leadership by many state bar associations and independent groups. In its recent recognition of Howrey as an "A-List " firm for the second year in a row, American Lawyer ranked Howrey #10 nationally in Pro Bono. As the winner of the 2003 Thomas L. Sager Award from the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, Howrey is equally committed to the ideals of diversity.


100 North LaSalle Street, Suite 600 Chicago, Illinois 60602

312.630.9744 (voice) 312.630.1127 (fax)

Jose Aspera posted a blog on Apr 9, 2006

Upcoming Event: Officers' and Directors’ Roles and Responsibilities for Nonprofit Boards

Community Economic Development Law Project


CPAs for the Public Interest



Officers and Directors Roles and Responsibilities for Nonprofit Boards


Legally, good intentions are not enough. To ensure a rewarding experience when you volunteer to serve on a nonprofit board, you must be a “prudent person.” If you are a current or potential board member or a nonprofit director, attend this workshop to learn the legal concepts that define board member responsibilities under Illinois law.


Presenter Michael Mosher established the firm Mosher & Associates with the goal of serving the legal needs of charitable, religious and educational organizations throughout the Chicago area and around the country. During the past twenty years, the firm has concentrated on legal and tax issues affecting nonprofit tax-exempt organizations, including a wide range of corporate employment and multi-state regulatory laws.


When: Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Registration: 8:30 a.m.

Workshop: 9:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Where: Illinois CPA Society/CPAs for the Public Interest Office

550 W. Jackson, Suite 900

Cost: $30.00


Registration: RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED. Call Member Services at 1.800.993.0407 and register for event PI64. (A major credit card is required at time of registration or a check must be mailed in prior to the event).


For more information: Contact Jody Adler with the Community Economic Development Law Project at 312.939.3638 or via email at