The City of Evanston has failed in efforts to get a sex and age bias suit by a former city attorney dismissed by a federal court judge.

Judge John W. Darrah ruled last week that three of the four claims alleged by former Interim First Assistant Corporation Counsel Elke Tober-Purze can go forward.

Tober-Purze, twice promoted after being first hired by the city in 2003, claims she was passed over for promotion to the job of corporation counsel in November 2009 when City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz hired current Corporation Counsel Grant Farrar for that job.

Retained then as deputy city attorney, she says she was fired by Farrar in August 2010, despite having received excellent performance evaluations and never having been disciplined.

Tober-Purze alleges in her suit that she was paid less than male attorneys at the city and that older female employees were dismissed and replaced with younger ones.

She also says she was denied accrued vacation time when she left the city’s employment and that the city retaliated against her for filing a complaint with the state labor department over that issue.

In issuing his ruling, Judge Darrah noted that in reviewing a motion to dismiss the plaintiff only has to allege facts that state a plausible claim for relief. Far more evidence would be required to prove a case at trial.

Related story

Attorney told she was ‘not that pretty’ can advance sex bias claim against city (Bloomberg Law)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Culture of bias and discrimination

    I hope that the Evanston City Council will take a close look at this situation. There is a culture of bias and discrimination towards women and people of color within the City.

    Numerous claims have been filed in the last five years and there has been an exodus of exceptional employees, because of the environment. There is a leadership issue that needs to be addressed.

  2. Please give examples

    You claim there is a "culture of bias and discrimination towards women and people of color within the City." Can you please provide specific examples? Also, when you suggest that there is a leadership issue, do you mean the Mayor, City Manager, City Council ?

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