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WASHINGTON v. JENNY CRAIG WEIGHT LOSS CENTRES

May 8, 1998

Diana Washington, Plaintiff,
v.
Jenny Craig Weight Loss Centres, Inc., Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: NORGLE

OPINION AND ORDER

 CHARLES R. NORGLE, SR., District Judge:

 Before the court is Defendant's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment. For the following reasons, Defendant's motion is granted.

 I. BACKGROUND *fn1"

 On February 27, 1992, Defendant, Jenny Craig Weight Loss Centres, Inc. ("Jenny Craig"), hired Plaintiff, Diana Washington ("Washington"), as a receptionist at its Centre located in Joliet, Illinois ("Joliet Centre"). Initially, Washington interviewed with the Centre Director at the Joliet Centre, Linda McCorkle ("McCorkle"), for a position as a Weight Loss Counselor ("counselor"). However, McCorkle advised Washington that the only position available was that of a receptionist. McCorkle further advised Washington that receptionists are normally promoted to counselors within three to four months, and that Washington would be next in line for the promotion. Washington was the only black employee at the Joliet Centre until the summer of 1994.

 Between February 1992 and January 1993, Washington informed McCorkle of her desire to be promoted from receptionist to counselor. Nevertheless, McCorkle refused to promote her and hired three white individuals instead as counselors. In addition, McCorkle made racially discriminatory comments towards Washington and disciplined her more strictly.

 As a result, Washington advised various members of Jenny Craig's Regional Task Force, which supervised the Joliet Centre, of McCorkle's discriminatory conduct. Washington also arranged for her Regional Supervisor, Joann Capezio-Augur ("Capezio"), to interview a black client of the Joliet Centre, Karen Kennedy ("Kennedy"). Kennedy informed Capezio that she believed that McCorkle had problems with people of different races and that McCorkle discriminated against blacks; Capezio then advised Jenny Craig's corporate headquarters.

 Washington also complained to Capezio that McCorkle refused to promote her from receptionist to counselor. After Washington threatened to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), Capezio arranged for Washington to be promoted to the position of counselor; Washington was promoted on February 5, 1993.

 Thereafter, McCorkle and her assistant, Barbara Pecky ("Pecky"), caused Washington's client schedules to be changed. These changes adversely affected Washington's relationship with her clients and her income. Washington informed her new Regional Supervisor, Stacey Sawyer Koroluk ("Koroluk"), about the schedule manipulations and the disparate treatment she endured. Washington also told Koroluk that she was considering going to the EEOC.

 In May of 1993, Washington called Jenny Craig's Human Resources Department in California and advised the head of the department, Marguerite Agrella, that "McCorkle had called her a 'nigger' and had treated her in racially discriminatory manner." (Pl.'s 12(N) Stmt. at P 16.) Agrella promptly advised Capezio of Washington's complaint of race discrimination and directed Capezio to contact both Washington and McCorkle. Capezio took no further action.

 On March 8, 1994, a white client of the Joliet Centre, Rose Chappel ("Chappel"), advised Koroluk that "McCorkle talked to the 'Black counselor' [Ms. Washington] '. . . like a dog.'" Id. at P 19 (alteration in original). Koroluk also documented that another employee at Joliet Centre, Marie Esposito, reported that Washington was "picked on."

 On March 9, 1994, Washington filed a race discrimination charge with the EEOC.

 On March 28, 1994, another client of Joliet Centre, Marie Lynch, telephoned Koroluk and reported that she observed McCorkle treat Washington in a discriminatory manner and heard McCorkle refer to Washington as a "nigger." On March 28, 1994, Kennedy informed Koroluk, as she had advised Capezio, that she believed that McCorkle discriminated against black clients and employees. In early April of 1994, Chappel also notified Koroluk that she heard McCorkle call Washington a "nigger."

 On April 4, 1994, Jenny Craig terminated McCorkle because of, among other things, her racially offensive conduct. Washington continued to work for Jenny Craig. On January 12, 1995, Washington was promoted from counselor to Program Director. At about the same time, Margaret Colarossi ("Colarossi") became the new Centre Director at the Joliet Centre.

 After Colarossi became the Centre Director, Washington alleges she was subjected to the following acts of discrimination: (1) she was criticized for her poor body language; (2) she was not provided with company information; (3) she was required to cover shifts for the other white, Program Director, Megan Burke; (4) she was prohibited from earning commissions by providing client consultations; and (5) she was prohibited from talking with the other employees at the Joliet Centre. Washington allegedly complained to Koroluk about Colarossi's discriminatory conduct, but Koroluk allegedly took no remedial action.

 On March 25, 1995, Washington filed a retaliation charge with the EEOC.

 On May 18, 1995, Washington saw Dr. Mony Sarcu for headaches caused by job related stress. Washington also saw a psychologist, Dr. Melvin Hess. On July 5, 1995, Washington requested a leave of absence, advising Jenny Craig that she was "'being treated for a continuous migraine brought on by job related stress.'" (Pl.'s 12(N) Stmt. at P 35.) On July 20, 1995, Washington provided a doctor's note from Dr. Hess to Jenny Craig which stated that she suffers from symptoms of severe depression. On August 29, 1995, Washington provided another note from Dr. ...


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