Twenty-five former state employees are suing Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich for improperly firing them last year.
The federal suit seeks at least 500 thousand dollars total for lost wages, vacation and other time off. Blagojevich fired the workers shortly after taking office a year ago. He says George Ryan, his predecessor as governor, manipulated personnel rules to keep them working after he left office.
The employees say they did nothing wrong and got no hearing before termination. They say Blagojevich harmed their reputations by calling them "henchmen" of Ryan and through other public comments.
The state Civil Service Commission ruled in favor of reinstating the employees in September. Blagojevich appealed in court. A Blagojevich spokeswoman had no immediate comment.