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BIBBS v. BOARD OF TRUSTEES FOR THE UNIV. OF ILLINO

July 7, 1998

DEBRA BIBBS, Plaintiff
v.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CASTILLO

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

 Plaintiff Debra Bibbs sues defendant Board of Trustees for the University of Illinois for race discrimination and failure to promote under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. Bibbs alleges that the Defendant discriminated against her because of her race by giving her an unfair evaluation and by involuntarily transferring her to a position with no identified duties or job description. Currently before the Court is the Defendant's motion for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.

 I. BACKGROUND

 The following undisputed facts are taken from the parties' Local General Rule 12 statements of material facts and accompanying exhibits. *fn1"

 Bibbs' Employment at the University of Illinois Medical Center

 Debra Bibbs began working at the University of Illinois ("Medical Center") in 1976 as a Clerk-Typist. (Def.'s Facts P 2). The Defendant promoted Bibbs numerous times during her tenure and on June 6, 1993, the Defendant promoted Bibbs to the position of Health Center Administrator. (Def.'s Facts P 6). Following her promotion, Bibbs reported to Bruce Elegant. Elegant, the Chief Operating Officer of the Medical Center, was also the acting Executive Director of the Medical Center at the time of Bibbs' promotion. (Pl.'s Dep. 10, 11).

 On April 4, 1994, the Defendant hired Sidney Mitchell as the Executive Director of the Medical Center. (Def.'s Dep. 6). Elegant resumed his role as Chief Operating Officer, but recommended that Mitchell retain Bibbs as Health Center Administrator. Following Mitchell's appointment, Mitchell interviewed Bibbs and invited her to continue working for him in the same capacity. (Pl.'s Dep. 119-20). Initially, the arrangement appeared to be a good one. In his August 25, 1994 review of Bibbs' performance, Mitchell found Bibbs to be "a true asset to [the Medical Center]" and recommended that she receive a 3.5% merit increase. Mitchell gave Bibbs high marks in the areas of confidentiality, supervision of clerical staff, supervision of supplies, knowledge and use of the computer, and budgeting. While Mitchell commended Bibbs' scheduling and communication skills and her execution of Mitchell's travel arrangements and reimbursement, he noted that Bibbs should "proofread all typed items before giving them to me", "find out more about the content of the meetings and pull anticipated materials from the files", and complete reimbursement paperwork "on a more timely basis."

 Unfortunately, the working relationship between Mitchell and Bibbs began to deteriorate. By January of 1995, Mitchell was repeatedly complaining about Bibbs' performance deficiencies. (Pl. Dep. 124). These complaints included errors in scheduling meetings, difficulty in locating files, typographical errors, and problems with Mitchell's travel arrangements. (Pl. Dep. 124-33). Bibbs denies that she was responsible for any of the problems. (Pl. Dep. 128).

 Defendant Hires Linda Chufar As His Administrative Assistant

 In approximately February of 1995, Mitchell hired Linda Chufar as his Administrative Assistant. (Pl. Dep. 128). While Chufar held the higher title, Bibbs' salary was slightly higher because of her years of employment with the Medical Center. (Pl. Dep. 168). Even though Bibbs didn't apply for the position, Mitchell admits that had considered hiring her. He decided against it, however, because he believe that Bibbs lacked the skills for the position. Specifically, Mitchell stated that Bibb's inability to prioritize, to act independently, and to deal with people compared with Chufar's outstanding recommendations and intimate knowledge of the entire University system tipped the scales in Chufar's favor.

 Bibbs was required to work for and report to Chufar. Bibbs concedes that their relationship "wasn't the best," and that the two had several disagreements and communication breakdowns. Pl.'s Dep 146. Bibbs contends that she informed Mitchell that a number of the problems that he accused her of were actually caused by Chufar. Approximately five months after Chufar's appointment, Bibbs asked Mitchell why she was not selected for Chufar's position. (Pl.'s Dep. 140). According to Bibbs, Mitchell responded that he needed an assistant to write speeches, policies, and procedures for him (Pl.'s Dep. 141), and believed that Chufar could perform these duties more effectively than Bibbs. (Def.'s Dep. 79). Bibbs admits that she had never written speeches before. Bibbs further alleges that Mitchell said that "overall he needed a mother."(Pl.'s Dep. 141).

 On June 28, 1995, the Associate Vice-Chancellor sent a memo to all Deans, Directors, and Department Heads detailing the fiscal year 1996 open range support staff policy for the University. (Ex. 10). The document explained that the University had received appropriations of 3% for salary increases during fiscal year 1996. Increases beyond that amount would be considered "open range" increases and were to be funded internally. (Ex. 10).

 In August 1995, Mitchell reorganized the Medical Center executive staff and eliminated Bibbs' Health Center Administrator position reporting to Mitchell. (Def. affidavit, Exhibit 12). Bibbs was reassigned as Health Center Administrator to Interim Service Line Administrator Steve Straka effective August 1995. There was no change in pay or civil service status as a result of this change. (Def. Facts para. 32). Following the reassignment, Bibbs was moved and re-moved to temporary work stations. Except for a two-month transitionary period, Bibbs was always on the same floor as her supervisor.

 During September 1995, Bibbs received a performance evaluation from Mitchell covering the period of July 1, 1994 through June 30, 1995. (Ex. 6). Bibbs' received an overall rating of 3.0. (Ex. 6). This rating fell into the category of "fulfills expectations," and that category is used for "strong performance." (Ex. 6). Mitchell recommended that Bibbs receive a salary increase of 4%. (Ex. 7). However, Mitchell also provided a detailed statement of Bibbs' secretarial shortcomings, specifically typing, scheduling, filing, and travel arrangements. (Def.'s Facts. Para. 41). Bibbs denied that any of Mitchell's complaints were true. (Pl.'s Dep. 135). Bibbs received a rating in this category of "meets some expectations." (Ex. 6).

 On September 22, 1995, Bibbs filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC and on February 12, 1997, Bibbs received the Right to Sue letter from the U.S. Department of Justice. (Pltf's Answers to Interrogatories, p.3-4). Bibbs initiated this litigation on or about May 9, 1997, claiming that the defendant violated Title VII. In her amended complaint, Bibbs alleges that she was given unfair performance evaluations and was involuntarily transferred to a position with no identified duties or job description because of her race. Bibbs alleges that the "Defendant has not treated non-black employees in this manner and has constructive demoted Plaintiff." Am. Compl. P 10. Defendant denies these allegations and filed this motion for summary judgment.

 ANALYSIS

 I. SUMMARY JUDGMENT ...


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