The opinion of the court was delivered by: Norgle, District Judge.
Plaintiff Margo Rudd ("Rudd") filed the instant action alleging
wrongful discharge in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, as amended ("Title VII"). See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2
et seq. Before the court is Defendant Chicago Association For
Retarded Citizens, Inc.'s (CARC) Motion for Summary Judgment. For
the following reasons, the motion is granted.
In April of 1982, Tim Monahan ("Monahan"), CARC's Director of
Children Services, noticed certain deficiencies in Rudd's
performance. On April 2, Monahan sent Rudd a letter regarding
deficiencies in record keeping that he discovered during a visit
the previous day. Five days later, Monahan suspended Rudd without
pay because she improperly closed the school the previous day.
Without citing to the record, Rudd claims that she was never
suspended and that her pay was reinstated.
More warnings followed in 1984 from Douglas Brandow
("Brandow"), Monahan's successor. In March of that year, Brandow
sent Rudd a letter regarding her failure to implement new staff
hours at the school as she had been instructed to do. In May,
during a meeting with Rudd, Brandow expressed his lack of
confidence in Rudd's performance as Director, and he informed her
that if she did not improve she would be subject to suspension or
dismissal. Nevertheless, problems persisted.
In late 1984, Brandow suspended Rudd without pay for approving
the installation of a light on school property without
administrative approval. In February 1985, he withheld four days'
pay from her paycheck because Rudd had taken leave days, and
compensation had not been approved for those days. During the
following school year, Brandow warned Rudd twice, once for
dismissing students and staff before the end of a school day, and
for handling staff disciplinary issues in an unprofessional
manner. Further warnings followed in later years. Eventually, in
1987, Brandow placed Rudd on CARC's progressive disciplinary
policy. And later that year, after various incidents, Brandow
placed Rudd on the "second step" of CARC's disciplinary policy.
Prior to Brandow's actions against her, Rudd began complaining
about him. Rudd kept notes of six incidents between June of 1986
and April of 1987. One brief note on Rudd's personal calendar
page for January 27, 1987, relates to his sexual behavior. It
states that Brandow "[p]laced hands inapprop. in front of
genitals, 3:15 p.m." (Rudd Dep., Ex. 17.) Other notes relate to
work-related issues and are essentially a record of events and
conversations Rudd had with Brandow. In short, Rudd believed that
Brandow was arbitrary in his decisions. One note reflects her
frustration as she refers to Brandow as a "[b]astard." (Id. at
In January 1988, Rudd sent a memorandum to Otto Whitehill
("Whitehall"), CARC's Executive Director, wherein she alleged
that during a recent directors' meeting, "Mr. Brandow
demonstrated overt, vulgar, lowerbody gyrations. Mr. Brandow
constantly `accidentally' kicked my legs and ankles and only
excused himself on one occasion." (Rudd Dep., Ex. 20.) Rudd
claimed that the situation was "intolerable" and requested a
meeting with Whitehill. Id. In May 1988, Rudd sent a similar
memorandum to Brandow and requested a meeting with him. In June
1988, Rudd met with Brandow and Kristin MacRae ("MacRae"), CARC's
Director of Human Resources. At the meeting, Rudd presented them
with a memorandum outlining her complaints against Brandow. She
claimed that she had been "subjected to extreme and persistent
cruel harassment" by Brandow. (Rudd Dep., Ex. 15.) She further
claimed that she was "professionally slandered" and that she was
disciplined in violation of her rights. (Id.)
On July 15, 1988, Rudd sent MacRae a memorandum stating that
she would schedule a meeting with her to discuss the issues
presented in the previous meeting. Rudd noted that several
members of her staff requested to meet with MacRae regarding
Brandow's behavior toward her. MacRae informed Rudd that if any
staff members wanted to schedule an appointment with her they
were welcome to do so. No staff members contacted MacRae
directly, but on July 20, 1988, she received a letter signed by
four of Rudd's subordinates requesting a meeting at the school.
On July 25, 1988, Mary Garcia ("Garcia"), the school secretary,
contacted MacRae by a separate letter and requested that she not
be included in the complaint against Brandow. She further stated
that she did not witness any of the conduct Rudd claims she had.
In a phone conversation several weeks later, Garcia informed
MacRae that Rudd was harassing her and trying to get her to say
things about Brandow that were not true.
Shortly thereafter, on September 23, 1988, MacRae received
another memorandum from staff members requesting a meeting with
her. This memorandum was initialed only by the school's social
worker, JoAnn Statum ("Statum"), and Garcia. During this time,
Rudd was preparing statements for the four complaining employees.
She first prepared handwritten statements and then typed
statements dated July 1988.*fn2 All alleged inappropriate
behavior by Brandow. Three days later, Garcia again contacted
MacRae to inform her that Rudd forced her to type a letter
containing falsehoods about Brandow.
MacRae subsequently met with Whitehall to discuss the matter.
They were concerned that Rudd was intimidating staff members in
furtherance of her complaints against Brandow. On October 17,
1988, Garcia again contacted MacRae to inform her that she wanted
to be disassociated with Rudd's complaint. MacRae received a
similar letter from Thelma Johnson ("Johnson"), a teacher, and
one of the four individuals who signed the original letter.
MacRae also received a packet from another signatory, Ruth
Couderc ("Couderc"), the school Matron. Couderc had refused to
sign the statement that Rudd had prepared and requested that she
sign. Couderc returned the document to Rudd, explaining: "I
return this original document, not dictated or prepared by me,
unsigned as the allegation or charge is untrue and was never
witnessed by me." (Rudd Dep., Ex. 23.) Couderc mailed copies to
Ultimately, one statement was signed by Statum, who had earlier
canceled a scheduled meeting with MacRae. The 1988 statement
alleged that Brandow behaved unprofessionally during a meeting in
1986. Brandow allegedly placed his foot on Statum's desk so that
"his genital area was in direct view" of her face, and at some
point "manipulated" his crotch area. (Def.12(M) Statement Ex. K.)
CARC immediately initiated an investigation. Brandow denied the
allegations in a meeting with Whitehill. On October 19, 1988,
Whitehill and MacRae met with Statum. During the meeting, Statum
said that there had been an incident with Brandow, but she did
not consider it sexual harassment. To her it was an "invasion of
her space." (Id. Exs. M & N.) Statum told Whitehill and MacRae
that she signed the letter only because of pressure by Rudd.
In the next two months, MacRae received calls from Theresa
Scott ("Scott"), and Barbara Zuick ("Zuick"), two teachers at the
school. Both informed her that the allegations were lies. Scott
further noted her concerns in this matter because Rudd was her
supervisor, and Zuick informed MacRae that Rudd threatened to
charge her with insubordination when she refused to sign a
statement. In December 1988, Rudd submitted various memoranda
describing Brandow's inappropriate conduct. Included with her
submissions was a cover letter with signature lines for six
employees, which Rudd explained was "to verify that each staff
read and received a copy of the documented incidents." (Rudd
Dep., Ex. 21.) The signature lines were for the four individuals
who signed the initial letter to MacRae, as well as for Scott and
Zuick. Garcia, Statum and Scott signed the cover letter
indicating they "read and received" the statements. Johnson,
Zuick and Couderc's lines were not signed; however, Rudd added
notations that they were either mailed or received.
On the same day that MacRae received Rudd's packet, Rudd sent a
memorandum to Zuick regarding her rejection of the statement. In
the memorandum, Rudd stated:
It was my responsibility as Director of Mary Alyce
School to ask you additional questions about Mr.
Brandow [sic] alleged behavior in your presence. You
stated to me that "you might have said Mr. Brandow
was nervous," gives credence to the fact, [sic] the
[sic] behavior was discussed with me by you at times
so stated in the memo.
Mrs. Zuick, please be aware that this is the second
incident where you have attempted to recant your
statements to me regarding facts which you personally
related to me.
Mrs. Zuick[,] I am legally obligated to submit
statements of this nature to the Department of ...