Search Site

Zion District 6 Employees File Lawsuit Claiming Retaliation After Blowing Whistle on Food Theft

A pair of former food service employees for Zion District 6 in Chicago have filed a lawsuit against the school district after claiming they were fired and retaliated against in other ways after helping the district investigate a food service manager who was ultimately charged with felony theft.

The lawsuit was filed on August 30, right after that former manager, Karen Bennett, pled guilty to felony official misconduct and took on an alternative prosecution agreement in which she will complete community service and submit a formal apology to the district.

Case background

The two whistleblowers, Tyra Gaitan and Amy Glade, claim they assisted the district’s HR in investigating Bennett. Gaitan initially reported Bennett for allowing employees to take home food and to leave without clocking out. Gaitan and Glade both claim to have been verbally abused and threatened by Bennett, who also requested they make changes to state-required documents used for audits.

In their complaint, the pair also claim that even though they helped the district in the investigation upon promises they would be protected from retaliation, Gaitan saw significant increases in workload and both were fired less than two months after Bennett’s resignation.

Bennett had worked for the district for 21 years, and her attorney stated she never took anything for herself, and that the behavior in question was her allowance of subordinates to take home food that was going to be thrown out anyway. If Bennett failed to successfully complete her requirements under the alternative prosecution agreement, she could be sentenced for a Class 3 felony, which would result in much more significant penalties than the program fees, community service and $5,000 restitution she agreed to pay the district.

For more information about how to begin your whistleblower retaliation claim, contact an experienced attorney at Kardell Law Group.

Awards & Honors
Our Office
  • Dallas Office
    4514 Cole Ave
    Dallas, Texas 75205
    Phone: 214-306-8045
    Fax: 469-729-9926
As Seen In
In his new book, "Standing Up to China: How a Whistleblower Risked Everything for His Country," former client & Author, Ashley Yablon, quotes Attorney Steve Kardell about Whistelblower Law.
  • "Steve Kardell was terrific in representing me in some very adversarial discussions with Citigroup and also later represented me in my testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission."  -Richard Bowen, Citigroup Whistleblower

  • "Incredible knowledge of employee related concerns and equally brilliant knowledge of health care regulations, standards of practice. I would recommend this firm to anyone."  -V.B.

  • "Reaching out to Steve Kardell was the best decision I made. His ability to provide immediate insight and direction was very powerful, and a huge relief during a very stressful time period. For anyone struggling with a whistleblower situation, I would highly recommend at least speaking with Steve. After a 10 minute call with him, I had a better understanding of what I was dealing with. Even better, he gave me some immediate hope. In the end Steve did a better job than I thought was possible. Steve was able to get in contact with people in my organization, that I didn’t have access to. Because of his years of experience, he already has contacts in many organizations in Dallas. The entire situation was handled peacefully. I was impressed by his ability to “keep the peace”–rather than creating a battle with the organization. The reason I didn’t reach out to a lawyer initially, was because I thought it would mean an immediate end to any hope of a positive relationship with the company. Steve was able to address my concerns, and in the end I was able to continue to work for them."  -KS

  • "Never thought my career would end like it did after 30 years of service. I was part of the first round of the so called reduction of force. I asked myself how can I be part of this with 30 years of seniority. How did they pick these 90 plus employees? Now, the culture of this organization made you question every decision they made. It wasn’t what you knew it’s was a culture of who you know. Nonetheless, I did not accept their severance package. I immediately starting looking for an attorney who would take on my case. After the initial call to Steve I had hope again. He was open and honest about everything and reassured me he would do his best for me, and he did. I had an awesome outcome. Thanks Steve you’re the best."  -S.S.