showing by plaintiff that defendant's reason was pretext and defendant harbored a discriminatory motive in deciding to terminate her. There is no material question of fact that defendant terminated plaintiff's employment due to the valid reason that she did not provide a physician's release to return to work and thus failed to comply with defendant's short-term medical leave policy.
After reviewing the evidence presented in the light most favorable to plaintiff, this court finds that plaintiff has not presented sufficient evidence that she qualifies as an individual with a disability covered by the ADA or sufficient evidence of discrimination by defendant to raise a genuine issue of material fact. Accordingly, defendant's motion for summary judgment on Count I is granted.
II. Retaliatory Discharge (Count II)
In order for plaintiff to establish a prima facie case of retaliation, she must establish that: (1) she engaged in statutorily protected expression; (2) she suffered an adverse action by defendant; and (3) there is a causal link between the protected expression and the adverse action. Hunt-Golliday v. Metropolitan Water Reclamation Dist. of Greater Chicago, 104 F.3d 1004, 1014 (7th Cir. 1997). If plaintiff is successful in demonstrating a prima facie case, the burden shifts to defendant to articulate a nondiscriminatory reason for her termination and then plaintiff bears the burden of showing that the proffered reason is pretextual and that in actuality a discriminatory motive was the determining factor behind plaintiff's termination. Id.
As stated above, defendant articulated a legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for terminating plaintiff's employment. Plaintiff violated defendant's short-term medical leave policy by not providing a release to return to work submitted by a physician. Defendant explicitly told plaintiff that she needed to be released to return to work by her physician and failure to comply would result in termination from active employment. Plaintiff has presented no evidence to dispute the fact that her failure to comply with the policy was the reason for her termination. There has been no showing by plaintiff that defendant's reason for termination was pretext or that there was any retaliatory motive on the part of defendant. Accordingly, defendant's motion for summary judgment on Count II is granted.
Based on the above stated reasons, defendant's motion for summary judgment is GRANTED. This case is dismissed in its entirety. All other pending motions are moot.
JAMES F. HOLDERMAN
United States District Judge
DATED: March 17, 1997