Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

OGLESBY v. COCA-COLA BOTTLING CO.

October 28, 1985

FRANK OGLESBY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
COCA-COLA BOTTLING COMPANY OF CHICAGO/WISCONSIN, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Shadur, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Frank Oglesby ("Oglesby") sues his former employer, Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Chicago/Wisconsin ("Coca-Cola"), under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 ("Section 1981"), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e to 2000e-17 ("Title VII") and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 629-634 ("ADEA").*fn1 Oglesby asserts Coca-Cola discriminated against him on the basis of his race (black) and his age (45) by harassing him on the job and ultimately forcing him to resign.

Coca-Cola has now moved for summary judgment under Fed.R.Civ.P. ("Rule") 56. For the reasons stated in this memorandum opinion and order, its motion is granted.

Facts*fn2

In November 1975 Coca-Cola hired Oglesby (then 38) as an account manager at its Alsip, Illinois division ("Alsip"). Oglesby held an associate's degree in business administration from Kennedy-King College (1970) and had done further course work in business, marketing and accounting at Governor's State University without taking a degree (Oglesby Dep. [hereafter simply "Dep."] 3-4).*fn3 In early 1979 Oglesby was promoted to the position of route manager.

Alsip served as a sales and distribution center for Coca-Cola soft drinks (Coca-Cola, Tab, Sprite, Fresca and Mello Yello, Dep. 42) in the southern part of Chicago and the south suburbs. Actual sales of the products were effected by the drivers who left Alsip in the morning with loaded trucks to serve their regular assigned routes. Each route manager (such as Oglesby) supervised four or five routes and reported in turn to a region manager, each of whom supervised up to five route managers. At the top of the pyramid was the vice president of sales.

During most of Oglesby's tenure as a route manager, Duane Hallstrom ("Hallstrom") was vice president of sales and Ed Jancauskas ("Jancauskas"), a white male four years Oglesby's junior, was Oglesby's region manager (P.Int. 8(c) supp. response). In mid-October 1982 Jancauskas was transferred to another Coca-Cola division and Octavus Morgan ("Morgan"), a black male 15 years Oglesby's junior, was brought in to replace him (Morgan Dep. 81; Hallstrom Dep. 174; P.Int. 8(c) supp. response). Morgan had been a region manager at Coca-Cola's Niles, Illinois division immediately before the transfer (Morgan Dep. 5). Hallstrom chose him over a white candidate because (Hallstrom Dep. 177):

  He was the better choice. He was familiar with the
  territory. He was black and I served [sic — should be
  "surveyed"?] the territory and I thought Morgan would
  be better for the area I had served [sic].

Oglesby had a substantial history of unsatisfactory performance before Morgan arrived on the scene at Alsip. Less than four months after that arrival and after "numerous conversations" with Oglesby (Morgan Dep. 81),*fn5 Morgan determined Oglesby was not a satisfactory employee and decided to terminate him. Morgan spoke to Hallstrom at about 8 a.m. January 25, 1983 to "bring[] him on board as far as my feeling about Frank's performance" (Morgan Dep. 83). Hallstrom backed up Morgan's decision "as far as the termination" (Morgan Dep. 84).*fn6

Hallstrom had his secretary type up a letter of resignation for Oglesby to sign (Hallstrom Dep. 180). He also prepared a "statement from Frank Oglesby and his acceptance of the severance program, his acceptance of the several packages in turn for his resignation" (Hallstrom Dep. 181). That statement, dictated to Hallstrom by Coca-Cola's personnel director (Hallstrom Dep. 181-82), called for:

1. Salary continuous [sic] through February 15, 1983.

  2. Payment of three weeks' vacation pay which
     represents my 1983 vacation.
  3. Employees benefit coverage through March 31,
     1983.

In addition the statement recited (the "Release"):

  In exchange for the above, I hereby release Coca-Cola
  Bottling Company of Chicago and all owners, officers
  and employees of the Company, referred to herein from
  any claim now and in the future with respect to
  employee benefits, insurance, salary or any other
  claim related to employment.

Events came to a head late that afternoon. Morgan called Oglesby into Hallstrom's office at about 4 p.m. and told him his deficiencies as an employee had led Morgan "to the conclusion at that point that he cease his employment with the company as a route manager" (Morgan Dep. 89). According to Morgan and Hallstrom — who joined the meeting — Oglesby was offered the option to "sign [the resignation and Release] or resist" (Morgan Dep. 108). He was told if he did not sign "he would be terminated and he had the option to determine which route he wanted to take" (Morgan Dep. 108).

It is undisputed that there was virtually no discussion. According to Hallstrom, Oglesby simply said, "Okay, I will resign" (Hallstrom Dep. 179). Oglesby claims he was so enraged by the proceedings that he was "at a complete blank" (Dep. 139). He did not read the papers (Dep. 141):

  I was in such a rage that they asked me to resign, I
  just signed a bunch of papers. I just wanted to get
  out of there since they asked me. I was so mad so I
  don't realize what I did.

Roberson ultimately took over Oglesby's position.*fn7

Oglesby charges he was a victim of race and age discrimination manifesting itself through harassment (beginning in mid-1982) and ultimately his termination. Oglesby's testimony identified 10 separate forms of alleged harassment:

    1. He was required to return to the office from the
  field earlier in the day than other route managers
  (Dep. 62).
    2. He received complaints from his supervisor
  (Jancauskas) that his reports were overdue (Dep. 64).
    3. He was assigned a "raggedy van" to drive, while
  other route managers got new vans (Dep. 65).
    4. He was required at least once to drive a
  delivery truck when one of his route drivers was
  absent, a job "the other people didn't have to do"
  (Dep. 66).
    5. He was told not to drink alcohol while on the
  job, though his bosses occasionally drank alcohol
  during working hours (Dep. 71). He stopped drinking
  during work hours when asked to do so, but he felt
  harassed by "the way it was put to me" (Dep. 72).
    6. He was "written up" for failing to have his key
  account book*fn8 up to date, though stores on his
  routes were being boycotted and thus would not stock
  Coca-Cola products (Dep. 75-76).*fn9
    7. He was "picked on" for failing to collect a
  past-due account, even though the account had not
  originally been on one of his routes and had only
  recently been shifted into his district (Dep. 84-85).
    8. He was occasionally required by Jancauskas to
  wear a driver's uniform while in the field, though
  other route managers were not similarly required to
  do so (Dep. 85-86).
    9. He received a written complaint from Jancauskas
  for allowing three drivers on the due bill*fn10 to
  take their trucks out for deliveries, though he
  thought he had an oral agreement with Jancauskas that
  the drivers would be permitted to drive (Dep. 88).
    10. He received complaints that he had "no control
  over [his] men" and that his men were not doing their
  jobs properly out on the street (Dep. 97), although
  the boycott had made it difficult to get the stores
  to stock any ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.