Chicago Woman Wins 2-Year Battle for Unemployment

Sharon Smiley finally wins her two year battle for unemployment from Equity Lifestyle Properties, Inc., after being fired for working through her lunch...after clocking out.

This story is for all those dedicated professionals out there that have been wronged by an employer that didn’t appreciate their service.  Those of you who have been in a situation of underhanded harassment will feel this the most. It’s those subtle nuances of intimidation that happen on the job that one cannot explain or prove that are the worst form of injustice.  But Sharon Smiley merely worked through her lunch and was fired for doing so.  Was someone overdoing their job as supervisor or what?

Smiley went to court three times to appeal her unemployment claim which was denied to her because of “insubordination,” according to ABC’s Good Morning America.  She hadn’t finished a project when it was time for her to take lunch, so she, first, clocked out at lunch time, then completed her task.  But her employer, after Smiley had worked for the company for a decade,  fired her because Human Resources said that her actions violated Illinois’ labor laws.

In the report it states that her job was so stressful at Equity Lifestyle Properties, Inc. that she had a stroke and was off work for almost three months, beginning in July 13, 2009.  Smiley also said:

“I knew you couldn’t eat lunch at your desk,” Smiley told ABC News. “I was under the impression that because I was punched out and I could do what I want.”

Smiley won an undisclosed lump sum and $528 per week until she started her newest position last month.  Read more on the case here.


-J.C. Brooks

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