The opinion of the court was delivered by: Keys, United States Magistrate Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion for
Summary Judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56.
For the reasons set forth below, this Court grants Defendant's
Plaintiff Antoinette Korotko-Hatch began working for Defendant
John G. Shedd Aquarium ("the Aquarium") in 1983 at the age of 44.
(Defendant's 12(M) Statement of Uncontested Facts [Def.'s 12(M)]
¶¶ 6, 15; Plaintiff's 12(N)(3)(b) Statement of Additional Facts
[Pl.'s 12(N)(3)(b)] ¶ 155.) In 1985, she became Coordinator of
Volunteer Services and received a salary increase every year
thereafter until she was terminated. (Def.'s 12(M) ¶ 12; Pl.'s
12(N)(3)(b) ¶ 155.)*fn1 Her primary duties included recruiting
new volunteers, speaking at community functions, preparing and
distributing brochures and flyers, and supervising the
volunteers. (Pl.'s 12(N)(3)(b) ¶¶ 157-58.) Her other duties
involved: developing, planning, and conducting individualized
orientations for volunteers; developing training materials for
volunteer-run outreach programs; and managing volunteer-conducted
special-group tours. (Pl.'s 12(N)(3)(b) ¶ 158.) Ms. Korotko-Hatch
also developed a public outreach program at nursing homes and
hospitals, and trained and assigned the volunteers. (Pl.'s 12(N)
The Volunteer Services Department and Ms. Korotko-Hatch were
recognized and complimented for their outstanding work. (Pl.'s
12(N)(3)(b) ¶ 165.) The Department received three United Way
"Heart of Gold" Awards, and in 1994 the Brookfield Zoo sent the
Aquarium a letter praising Ms. Korotko-Hatch for her work. (Pl.'s
12(N)(3)(b) ¶ 165; Plaintiff's Memorandum in Opposition to
Summary Judgment [Pl.'s Mem.Opp.] at Ex. AKH1.) Although Ms.
Korotko-Hatch and the Aquarium differ as to the number, they
agree that the number of volunteers at the Aquarium increased
during her thirteen-year employment. (Pl.'s 12(N)(3)(b) ¶ 162;
Def.'s 12(M) ¶ 162.)
Nanette Schonberg was Ms. Korotko-Hatch's supervisor and signed
her performance evaluations for 1993 and 1994. (Def.'s 12(M) ¶¶
68-69, 83; Deposition of Antoinette Korotko-Hatch [Pl.'s Dep.] at
575, May 28, 1998.) For the evaluation period covering 1993, Ms.
Korotko-Hatch received an overall performance rating of "More
Progress Needed."*fn2 (Def.'s 12(M) ¶ 70.) She received a rating
of "Meets Expectations" in three of the seven areas under the
category of Performance Characteristics, including Job Knowledge,
Work Quality and Initiative. (Pl.'s 12(N)(3)(b) ¶ 201.) She
received a rating of "Progress Needed" under Adherence to
Policies, Relationships, Resource Utilization and Supervision
categories. (Defendant's Memorandum of Law in Support of Summary
Judgment [Def.'s Mem.Supp.] at Ex. NS4; Pl.'s 12(N)(3)(b) ¶ 202;
Def.'s 12(M) ¶ 72; Defendant's Response to Plaintiff's
12(N)(3)(b) [Def.'s Resp.] ¶ 220.) Under Adherence to Policies,
Ms. Schonberg stated that, although "Toni is a stickler for
adherence to policies by the volunteers, and adheres to most
policies and procedures," she has a "habit of bypassing her
supervisor and going directly to the Director on matters. . . ."
(Pl.'s 12(N)(3)(b) ¶ 204; Def.'s Mem.Supp. at Ex. NS4; Pl.'s
Mem.Opp. at Ex. AKH7.) Although Ms.
Korotko-Hatch disagreed with her 1993 performance rating, (Pl.'s
12(N)(3)(b) ¶ 203; Pl.'s Mem.Opp. at Ex. AKH8.) she signed the
evaluation but noted her own attached commentary. (Pl.'s
12(N)(3)(b) ¶ 200; Pl.'s Mem.Opp. at Ex. AKH7 -8.) Ms. Schonberg
recommended in the 1993 evaluation that Ms. Korotko-Hatch
delegate some of her duties to employee staff and utilize the
facility's other resources. (Pl.'s Mem.Opp. at Ex. AKH7; Pl.'s
12(N)(3)(b) ¶ 207.) Other comments in the 1993 evaluation
included that Ms. Korotko-Hatch "has a high sense of loyalty to
the institution. . . . [and] has much to offer to the Aquarium."
(Pl.'s Mem.Opp. at Ex. AKH7; Pl.'s 12(N)(3)(b) ¶ 211.) However,
Ms. Schonberg emphasized in the evaluation that Ms. Korotko-Hatch
"needs to focus her attention on management and administration
and spend less time trying to do training and educational
duties," and Ms. Korotko-Hatch stated in her deposition that this
comment was one of the Aquarium's concerns. (Def.'s 12(M) ¶ 71;
Pl.'s Dep. at 535, May 28, 1998; Pl.'s Mem. Opp. at Ex. AKH7.)
The Aquarium underwent a reorganization when Ted Beattie became
the President and CEO in 1994. (Def.'s 12(M) ¶¶ 18, 28.) As part
of the reorganization, Mr. Beattie initiated changes in the
various departments, which involved expanding programs and
promoting or hiring new managers. (Def.'s 12(M) ¶¶ 27-30.) Mr.
Beattie treated Ms. Korotko-Hatch as a member of the management
team and solicited her opinion regarding problems at the
Aquarium. (Pl.'s 12(N)(3)(b) ¶ 178.) One of his goals was to
remove some decision-making authority from individual managers
and commit to a team approach. (Def.'s 12(M) ¶ 31.) He thought
that less individual authority would require departments to
interact more with one another and ultimately improve the
Aquarium's success. (Def.'s 12(M) ¶¶ 32-33.)
One of Ms. Korotko-Hatch's duties, conducting special tours,
was transferred to Lisa Pluta Woolford and Lindsey Foster, who
were women in their "twenties."*fn3 (Affidavit of Antoinette
Korotko-Hatch [Pl.'s Aff.] at ¶ 35; Deposition of Antoinette
Korotko-Hatch ["Pl.'s Dep."] at 85-86, Mar. 20, 1998.) When Ms.
Korotko-Hatch asked Ms. Foster and Ms. Pluta about the
reassignment, Ms. Forster stated, "[i]t's a young group," and Ms.
Pluta agreed. (Pl.'s Dep. at 86, Mar. 20, 1998.)
In early 1994, Ms. Schonberg rejected Ms. Korotko-Hatch's
proposed format for the Aquarium's newsletter because she wanted
"something more youthful." (Pl.'s Mem.Opp. at 20; Pl.'s Dep. at
57, Apr. 8, 1998.) She stated that "[w]e have got to start
thinking youthful . . . and this newsletter is too academic. . .
." (Pl.'s Dep. at 58, Apr. 8, 1998.)
For the 1994 evaluation period, Ms. Korotko-Hatch again
received an overall rating of "Progress Needed." (Def.'s Mem.
Supp. at Ex. NS5.) The evaluation stated that Ms. Korotko-Hatch
worked well with the volunteers and succeeded in selecting
appropriate people. (Def.'s Mem.Supp. at Ex. NS5.) However, under
the Overall Performance section, Ms. Schonberg stated that "[a]t
this time, some of the short term goals have not been totally
met." (Def.'s Mem. Supp. at Ex. NS6.) Other concerns that Ms.
Schonberg stated in the evaluation were that Ms. Korotko-Hatch
had not responded to her requests in a timely manner, resisted
the internal changes, and needed to improve relationships with
other managers. (Def.'s Mem. Supp. at Ex. NS5.)
Under the Relationships part of the 1994 evaluation, Ms.
Schonberg stated that:
(Def.'s Mem.Supp. at Ex. NS5.) Ms. Schonberg further stated in
the evaluation that Ms. Korotko-Hatch failed to complete many
assigned tasks. (Def.'s 12(M) ¶¶ 101-02; Mem.Supp., Pl.'s Dep. at
601-602, May 28.) Ms. Korotko-Hatch's goals for the following
year included becoming more flexible with changes, improving
relationships, and completing tasks timely and appropriately.
(Def.'s 12(M) ¶ 86; Def.'s Mem.Supp. at Ex. NS5.) Ms.
Korotko-Hatch and Ms. Schonberg together agreed to these goals.
(Def.'s 12(M) ¶ 93; Def.'s Mem.Supp., Pl.'s Dep. at 589, May 28,
1998.) In her deposition, Ms. Korotko-Hatch stated that, although
she was aware of the comments she received in her evaluation,
she, nonetheless, made no effort to improve her relationships.
(Def.'s 12(M) ¶ 97; Def.'s Mem.Supp., Pl.'s Dep. at 592, May 28.)
In April of 1995, Ms. Schonberg revised Ms. Korotko-Hatch's
evaluation to "Meets Expectations," because Ms. Korotko-Hatch
"followed up with departments . . . and ha[d] been working hard
on directives from Ted." (Pl.'s 12(N)(3)(b) ¶ 221; Pl.'s Mem.Opp.
at Ex. AKH11.) Ms. Korotko-Hatch then received a salary increase
from $34,200 to $35,500. (Pl.'s 12(N)(3)(b) ¶ 222; Pl.'s Mem.Opp.
at Ex. AKH11.)*fn4
As part of the reorganization, Mr. Beattie decided to form a
separate Public Interpretation Department.*fn5 (Def.'s 12(M) ¶
124.) Ms. Korotko-Hatch disagreed with Mr. Beattie and told him
that Public Interpretation should remain within the Education
Department. (Def.'s 12(M) ¶ 124.) Mr. Beattie hired Lisa Woolford
and Betsey Starinchak, women in their twenties, to run the new
Public Interpretation Department. (Pl.'s Aff. ¶ 35; Def.'s 12(M)
¶ 127.) Ms. Korotko-Hatch again disagreed with Mr. Beattie's
decisions and told him that she believed that Ms. Woolford was
not qualified and lacked organizational skills, and that Ms.
Starinchak was too immature for her position. (Def.'s 12(M) ¶¶
128-130; Def.'s Mem.Supp., Pl.'s Dep. at 471, May 28.) However,
Mr. Beattie assessed their educations and skills and concluded
that they were well qualified to handle running the new program.
(Def.'s 12(M) ¶ 127.) Mr. Beattie expected Ms. Korotko-Hatch to
support Ms. Woolford and Ms. Starinchak's efforts to devise and
implement their new program utilizing volunteers. (Def.'s 12(M) ¶
On September 6, 1995, C.L. Kaiser, a manager in the new Public
Interpretation Department, wrote a memo to Mr. Beattie describing
three meetings that had occurred between herself, Ms.
Korotko-Hatch, and the new Public Interpretation managers (Ms.
Starinchak and Ms. Woolford). (Def.'s 12(M) ¶ 132; Def.'s Mem.
Supp. at Ex. NS18.) Although the Public Interpretation Department
managers wanted to proceed with their agenda regarding
recruitment and training of volunteers, they were unable to do so
because Ms. Korotko-Hatch's volunteer department deemed their
agenda to be unworkable. (Def.'s 12(M) ¶ 132; Def.'s Mem. Supp.
at Ex. NS18.) Upon receipt of this memo, Mr. Beattie sent a memo
dated September 8, 1995 to Ms. Korotko-Hatch, Ms. Starinchak, and
Ms. Kaiser, directing that Ms. Korotko-Hatch cease interference
with Public Interpretation's new program and with the training
and management of volunteers in that department.
(Def.'s 12(M) ¶ 133; Def.'s Mem.Supp. at Ex. NS19.) Mr. Beattie
concluded from this incident that Ms. Korotko-Hatch would not
cooperate and that she wanted to "block and interfere with" Ms.
Woolford's and Ms. Starinchak's new programs. (Def.'s 12(M) ¶
134.) Ms. Korotko-Hatch stated in her affidavit that she
recruited a large number of volunteers and placed them in Public
Interpretation, but many of these volunteers were displeased, and
the Department's volunteer staff eventually decreased by half.
(Pl.'s 12(N)(3)(b) ¶¶ 196-97; Pl.'s Mem.Opp., Pl.'s Aff. at ¶
The Aquarium also contained an Outreach Program, which was
designed to educate the public about the Aquarium and, prior to
Mr. Beattie's reorganization in 1994, was administered through
the Volunteer Services Department. (Def.'s 12(M) ¶¶ 20-21.) After
the reorganization, the Outreach Program moved from Volunteer
Services to the Education Department. (Def.'s 12(M) ¶ 27; Def.'s
Mem.Supp., Affidavit of Nanette Schonberg ["Schonberg Aff."] at ¶
17.) Mr. Beattie promoted Bert Vescoloni to Director of the
Education Department. (Def.'s 12(M) ¶ 109.) Ms. Korotko-Hatch
again disagreed with Mr. Beattie's decision and told him that Mr.
Vescoloni lacked organizational skills. (Def.'s 12(M) ¶ 110.) Mr.
Beattie expected Ms. Korotko-Hatch to cooperate and respect his
decision to move the Outreach Program to the Education Department
under Mr. Vescoloni. (Def.'s 12(M) ¶ 111.) On numerous occasions
during Ms. Korotko-Hatch's last year of employment, Mr. Vescoloni
and his staff requested information from her regarding the
Outreach Program; however, Ms. Korotko-Hatch refused to cooperate
and instead criticized Mr. Vescoloni's ability to do his job.
(Def.'s 12(M) ¶ 112.)
For example, on December 15, 1994, Mr. Vescoloni sent Ms.
Korotko-Hatch a memo requesting information regarding the
Outreach Program. (Def.'s 12(M) ¶ 113; Def.'s Mem.Supp. at Ex.
NS7.) Ms. Korotko-Hatch did not even respond to his request until
February 5, 1995, when she stated in a memo that she planned to
have the information to him by May of 1995. (Def.'s 12(M) ¶ 114;
Def.'s Mem.Supp. at Ex. NS8.) Following her memo, Bill Street,
who worked under Mr. Vescoloni, sent a memo to Ms. Korotko-Hatch
requesting that she provide specific information about the
program, including program objectives, lists of volunteers, and
budget figures for 1995. (Def.'s 12(M) ¶¶ 115-17; Def.'s
Mem.Supp. at Ex. NS9.) After receiving no response, Mr. Street
sent another memo to Ms. Korotko-Hatch requesting the same
information by the following Friday. (Def.'s 12(M) ¶ 118, Def.'s
Mem. Supp. at Ex. NS10.) On November 9, 1995, at Ms. Schonberg's
request, Ms. Korotko-Hatch provided some numbers, but did not
provide the information that he requested. (Def.'s 12(M) ¶ 119,
Def.'s Mem.Supp. at Ex. NS11; Schonberg Aff. ¶ 32.) Almost one
year from the initial request from Mr. Vescoloni, on November 16,
1995, Mr. Street sent Ms. Korotko-Hatch another memo thanking her
for compiling the numbers, but again requesting that she provide
the specific information that he initially requested. (Def.'s
12(M) ¶ 120; Def.'s Mem.Supp. at Ex. NS12.) About a month later,
on December 12, 1995, Mr. Street sent Ms. Schonberg a memo
indicating that he still had not received the information that he
had requested back in February. (Def.'s 12(M) ¶ 121; Def.'s Mem.
Supp. at Ex. NS13.) Mr. Beattie believed that Ms. Korotko-Hatch
failed to cooperate for selfish reasons, and (Def.'s 12(M) ¶
122), she was terminated two weeks later, on December 31, 1995.
(Def.'s 12(M) ¶ 1.)
In Mr. Beattie's view, Ms. Schonberg had given Ms.
Korotko-Hatch a number of tasks to complete over the course of a
year and a half which Ms. Korotko-Hatch failed to accomplish.
(Def.'s 12(M) ¶ 139; Def's Mem.Supp., Beattie Dep. at 27-28.)
Furthermore, Mr. Beattie and Ms. Schonberg had received numerous
complaints about her from other managers that indicated her
inability or refusal to ...