CHICAGO — A county court judge Tuesday denied a request by Kmart workers to issue a contempt ruling against the mass-market retailer in an ongoing invasion-of-privacy case filed by the workers earlier this year.

The ruling by Judge Dorothy Kinnaird means discovery will proceed in the case, filed by 56 Kmart employees, members of the Teamsters Union, over a spying campaign at the retailer’s Manteno, Ill., warehouse.

The workers allege their privacy was violated by Kmart’s hiring of a company, Confidential Investigative Consultants Inc., whose employees befriended Kmart workers and then filed reports about them to management.

Two documents received by the plaintiffs as evidence in the case were found to have been altered, although both sides agreed the alterations took place before the lawsuit was filed.

“I haven’t seen that Kmart or CIC destroyed evidence,” Kinnaird said.

The judge set Sept. 14 as the date for the next hearing.

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