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CECILIO v. ALLSTATE INS. CO.

November 14, 1995

MARLEY S. CECILIO, Plaintiff,
v.
ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANY, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SHADUR

 Marley Cecilio ("Cecilio") has sued Allstate Insurance Company ("Allstate"), charging it with national-origin discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII ("Title VII," 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2 and e-3) and with age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA," 29 U.S.C. § 623(a) and (d)). After Allstate moved for summary judgment under Fed. R. Civ. P. ("Rule") 56, both sides have complied with this District Court's General Rule ("GR") 12(m) and 12(n) *fn1" and the motion is fully briefed and ready for decision. For the reasons stated in this memorandum opinion and order, Allstate's motion is granted and this action is dismissed.

 Summary Judgment Standards

 Familiar Rule 56 standards impose on Allstate the burden of establishing the lack of a genuine issue of material fact ( Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986)). For that purpose this Court is "not required to draw every conceivable inference from the record--only those inferences that are reasonable"--in the light most favorable to Cecilio ( Bank Leumi Le-Israel, B.M. v. Lee, 928 F.2d 232, 236 (7th Cir. 1991) and cases cited there). While "this general standard is applied with added rigor in employment discrimination cases, where intent is inevitably the central issue" ( McCoy v. WGN Continental Broadcasting Co., 957 F.2d 368, 370-71 (7th Cir. 1992)), that does not negate the potential for summary judgment in cases where a movant plainly satisfies the Rule 56 standards ( Washington v. Lake County, 969 F.2d 250, 254 (7th Cir. 1992)). In those terms summary judgment is appropriate if the record reveals that no reasonable jury could conclude that Cecilio was treated in a statutorily prohibited discriminatory or retaliatory fashion ( Kirk v. Federal Property Management Corp., 22 F.3d 135, 138 (7th Cir. 1994)).

 As with every summary judgment motion, this Court accepts nonmovant Cecilio's version of any disputed facts. What follows, then, is a version of the facts culled from the parties' submissions, with any differences between them resolved in Cecilio's favor. In that respect, however, GR 12(n) requires Cecilio to cite to the record (1) if she wants to demonstrate any errors in Allstate's version or (2) if she wants to rely on any additional facts. To the extent that Cecilio either (1) fails to make the required citations to the record or (2) merely offers theories or speculations instead of facts, GR 12(n) directs this Court to accept Allstate's version as uncontroverted.

 Facts

 On February 6, 1984 Cecilio, a 41-year-old Filipino woman, was hired by Allstate as a computer systems analyst and was given responsibility for maintaining computer systems in Allstate's Direct Marketing Center branch located in Northbrook, Illinois (C. 12(n) PP1, 2, 6, 7; Cecilio Aff. PP2-5; Cecilio Dep. 49, 55, 75). In September 1985 she was promoted to Marketing Project Coordinator, a job in which she was responsible for a unit of four or five employees who processed data contained on magnetic tapes (C. 12(n) P13), and by February 1987 she had been promoted to the position of Project Manager (C. 12(n) P15). At the time of that promotion she was transferred to a different branch of the Allstate entity--Allstate Enterprises, Inc. ("Enterprises")--and moved to an Allstate office in Arlington Heights, Illinois (C. 12(n) PP15, 16).

 Cecilio stayed with Enterprises until she was transferred in 1989 to the Direct Response unit (a branch of Allstate responsible for soliciting potential customers for health and life insurance), where she continued to hold the position of Project Manager (C. 12(n) PP15, 20). When she arrived at Direct Response, Cecilio was placed under the supervision of Maryanne Fauley ("Fauley") (C. 12(n) P20).

 In January 1991 Fauley gave Cecilio a Progress Development Summary ("PDS") in which Cecilio was rated "acceptable but needs improvement" (A. Ex. 5). *fn2" That negative evaluation (Cecilio's previous performance ratings had been on the "meets" expectations level) came as a surprise to Cecilio, who felt that it wrongly assessed her performance and was a product of Fauley's discriminatory attitude towards her (A. 12(m) PP23, 25; C. 12(n) P27; Cecilio Dep. 193).

 
Overall, Marley's performance is acceptable but needs improvement. In order to provide her with the opportunity to develop and strengthen her technical and administrative skills and abilities, Marley is being transferred to the Life Corporate Systems Department ["Life Systems"] effective December 1. This is a temporary assignment for twelve months. A more disciplined and structured systems environment will hopefully provide Marley with the experience and training needed to successfully accomplish the accountabilities of a Project Manager.

 When the PDS was actually written up, Cecilio had already been transferred to Life Systems (the transfer occurred in November 1990, Cecilio Dep. 197), where she was placed under the supervision of Yvonne Sharpe ("Sharpe") rather than Fauley (C. 12(n) P28). Under Sharpe's supervision, between December 1990 and May 1991 Cecilio received special training "provided to address the areas of concern covered in [Cecilio's] last PDS..." and designed to allow her to develop the skills necessary for her to succeed as a project Manager (A. Ex. 6 at 3; C. 12(n) P28).

 In May 1991 Sharpe gave Cecilio a PDS that rated Cecilio's improved performance at a "meets" expectations level, but noted that "Marley should understand that she has not been given the full compliment [sic] of assignments expected of a Systems Project Manager" (A. Ex. 6 at 3). In that regard the PDS stated that Cecilio's training period would cease at the end of May 1991 and that "if she demonstrates her ability to independently continue at a 'meets' level using the knowledge she has obtained, during the next two months she will be given a full load over the summer and be re-evaluated (PDS only) under the accountabilities of a Systems Project Manager at the end of the year" (id. at 4; C. 12(n) P29).

 In August 1991 Cecilio was assigned to work as a Systems Project Manager in the Direct Certificate Administration unit ("DCA") and was placed under the supervision of Thomas Klein ("Klein"), a Senior Division Director (C. 12(n) P31; Cecilio Dep. 274-75). As Senior Division Director Klein had 16 Project Managers and Senior Project Managers reporting to him, including African-Americans and Hispanics and--in terms of age--persons over 40 (C. 12(n) P31).

 In November 1991 Klein assigned Cecilia responsibility for all of the DCA unit (C. 12(n) P30). Cecilio as Systems Project Manager and her staff of eight or nine employees provided the computer assistance needed for the Direct Response unit to market life insurance policies (id.; Cecilio Dep. 282).

 In December 1991 Klein met with Cecilio and expressed some concerns he had with her performance relating to production problems and staff training (A. 12(m) P35; Klein Aff. P7). In January 1992 Klein told Cecilia that she was not performing well and that if he had to evaluate her performance then, he would rate her as "needs improvement" in at least three different categories (C. 12(n) P37). And in February 1992 Klein gave Cecilia a PDS in which her performance was rated as "acceptable but needs improvement" (id.; A. Ex. 7 at 10). At that time Klein met with Cecilia to discuss her performance and told her that she was having difficulty in several areas, including managing her unit, projecting appropriate time estimates for the projects her unit was doing, adequately planning out projects and appropriately setting unit priorities (C. 12(n) P37). At some point in the meeting Klein called in Debbie Sampson ("Sampson," a member of Allstate's human resources department) and both Klein and Sampson told Cecilio that she had the capacity to improve her performance (C. 12(n) P39; Sampson Aff. PP3, 4). During the course of the meeting Klein also set several performance goals for Cecilio to attain over the next 60 days (C. 12(n) P38, A. Ex. 7 at 8-9):

 
1. Marley must effectively demonstrate she can balance her sensitivity toward her staff with the Allstate corporate goals and objectives.
 
2. Marley must finalize and effectively administer the training programs of her staff.
 
3. Marley must become more customer focused. She must make the effort to listen to and to understand the (internal) customer.
 
4. Marley will be given projects or assignments which are abstract and not defined at a detailed level. As a Systems Project Manager, she should effectively plan and accumulate estimates on her project activities.
 
5. Marley will be expected to meet the requirements and defined outputs of these tasks without extensive involvement on the part of management.
 
6. Marley must become more effective in identifying the needs and priorities of her coworkers by actively seeking their input.

 And the PDS said that if Cecilio did not improve her performance within the 60-day time frame, she would be put on "requires immediate improvement" status (A. Ex. 7 at 8).

 Each PDS form has a space for "employee comments," to be filled in after the supervisor and employee meet to discuss its terms. In this instance Cecilio wrote in that section (C. 12(n) P39; A. Ex. 7 at 10):

 
Tom [Klein] and I, and later with Debbi Sampson--talked about this review and spoke candidly about performance issues. Under the circumstances, and working with the ...

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