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January 31, 1991

GENERAL ELECTRIC CAPITAL AUTO LEASE, INC., f/k/a GENERAL ELECTRIC CREDIT AUTO LEASE, INC., an Illinois Corporation; and JEROME BURD, Individually and as an agent for and on behalf of GENERAL ELECTRIC CAPITAL AUTO LEASE, INC., Defendants

Brian Barnett Duff, United States District Judge.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: DUFF



 1. Background

 1. General Electric Capital Auto Lease, Inc. (GECAL) is a corporation doing business in and organized under the laws of the State of Illinois, with its principal place of business in Barrington, Illinois.

 2. Phyllis Cline resides in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. She worked for GECAL from August, 1987 through May, 1988.

 3. Jerome Burd resides in Cary, Illinois and has worked for GECAL in various capacities since January, 1977. Between May, 1981 and February, 1989, Mr. Burd was GECAL's National Collections Manager.

 4. GECAL was, at all relevant times, an employer as defined by 42 U.S.C. § 2000e.

 2. Ms. Cline's Employment at GECAL

 5. Marilyn Sabounghi, Ms. Cline's neighbor, referred her to the job. Ms. Sabounghi also worked in the Collections Department. Ms. Cline interviewed with Mr. Burd, the Area Collection Manager, Karen Sweeney and Madelaine Ewing, another collector in the department.

 6. Mr. Burd and Ms. Sweeney both told Ms. Cline that the work in the Collections Department, requesting payments from people who had become delinquent on their auto leases, was stressful.

 7. Ms. Cline began working for GECAL as a regular, full-time 30-day collector in August, 1987. Her starting salary was $ 15,500 per year.

 8. During her tenure with GECAL, Ms. Cline had a series of immediate supervisors. They were: Ms. Sweeney, George Benson, Ann Philbin and Marilyn Sabounghi. Those supervisors, referred to as "Area Collections Managers", reported to Mr. Burd. Mr. Burd, in turn, reported to Rick Weissner, the "Receivable Controls Manager". Mr. Weissner reported to the Vice President of Operations, who reported, finally, to the President, James Giacomini.

 9. Collectors, including Ms. Cline, were responsible for calling lessees who were delinquent in making payments on their accounts. Some of those lessees would use abusive and profane language to the collectors, including Ms. Cline. The collectors' performance was measured by the number (or dollars) of delinquent accounts they collected.

 10. Ms. Cline often worked overtime, and, true to her co-workers' predictions, the work was stressful.

 11. In January, 1988, Ms. Cline received a 3.6% merit increase ($ 558/year).

 12. In April, 1988, Ms. Cline received another merit increase, this time for 4.5%, or $ 725 per year.

 13. Ms. Cline received a "fully satisfactory" performance appraisal, which was approved by Mr. Burd, on March 9, 1988 (Joint Exhibit 4).

 14. She also received a formal written performance appraisal on March 24, 1988 (Joint Exhibit 5). Mr. Burd approved her overall "satisfactory" appraisal.

 15. Ms. Cline went on medical disability leave on May 17, 1988 and never returned to work at GECAL.

 16. Prior to her employment with GECAL, Ms. Cline had been consistently employed since 1971.

 3. Mr. Burd's Treatment of Department Employees

 18. Mr. Weissner, Mr. Burd's supervisor, observed this incident, but did not respond to it.

 19. At least one female co-worker called Ms. Cline "Syphilis", and the name appears in a note apparently intended to be friendly which some of Ms. Cline's co-workers sent to her while she was on her medical leave from GECAL.

 20. Mr. Burd called Ms. Cline "Syphilis" when he telephoned her to monitor her progress during her medical leave.

 21. Ms. Cline and other workers in her department both saw and heard Mr. Burd yell at workers in the department about work related matters.

 22. The evidence at trial demonstrated, however, that Ms. Cline was the subject of particular cruelty at Mr. Burd's hands. Aside from the derogatory nicknames he insisted on using to refer to her, Mr. Burd:

 a. Hit Ms. Cline in the arm in January, 1988. The blow was strong enough to leave a mark on Ms. Cline's arm for several hours.

 b. Hit Ms. Cline on the head with a file.

 c. Speculated about Ms. Cline's sexual relationship with her husband, including asking whether she and her husband were "getting it on" or whether she was "getting enough at home".

 d. Referred to Ms. Cline's husband (named "Bob") as "Billy-Bob", despite Ms. Cline's repeated requests that he not do so.

 e. Once yelled at Ms. Cline to "sit your ass back down" while Ms. Cline was on the phone with a lessee.

 f. Made derogatory comments about Ms. Cline's dress and appearance, including ordering her not to wear a particular dress to work because he hated the color, telling her that she looked like a streetwalker, and telling her that her shoes were the ugliest he had ever seen.

 g. Monitored the time she spent in the restroom, told her she could spend no more than five minutes there, and banged on the door when he decided she had been there long enough.

 h. Refused to believe Ms. Cline when she told him she had attempted to call in when car trouble caused her to be late to work one day. Mr. Burd docked Ms. Cline's pay for the time she missed, despite the fact that he himself checked the line she had tried to call on, and found that it was not working.

 23. Ms. Cline, as any reasonable person would have been, was embarrassed and humiliated by Mr. Burd's treatment of her.

 24. The evidence at trial also demonstrated that Mr. Burd treated other women in the department with similar derision:

 a. He made fun of Maddie Ewing's large breasts, her dress and her appearance, all in front of other department employees.

 b. Mr. Burd hit Ms. Ewing on the head with a metal pen more than once, called her "short shit" ...

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