The opinion of the court was delivered by: McCUSKEY, District Judge.
Plaintiff Mary Robb brings this action against her former
employer, Defendant Horizon Credit Union ("Credit Union"), based
on the Credit Union's decision to fire her in March of 1996.
Specifically, she alleges that the Credit Union violated the
Americans With Disabilities Act ("ADA"), and the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"). In addition, Plaintiff
alleges a third count of retaliatory discharge under Illinois
law. The Credit Union moved for summary judgment on all counts on
October 15, 1998(# 23). For the following reasons, that motion is
GRANTED as to all counts.
Until March of 1996, Plaintiff worked for the Credit Union. At
that time, Steve Senger ("Senger") was its president, but
Plaintiff reported directly to the Credit Union's comptroller,
Craig Althoff ("Althoff").
In the years leading up to 1996, Plaintiff suffered from
depression intermittently, and was treated by her general
physician with anti-anxiety drugs. Although Plaintiff had
generally been able to manage her depression and stress, she lost
that ability sometime in late 1995. At that time, her husband had
been on strike for many months, causing him to become physically
and verbally abusive. In addition, Plaintiff was raising her
young grandson. To make matters worse, Plaintiff was upset to
learn that her son, who was serving in the military, would soon
be shipped to Bosnia.
That month, Plaintiff's doctor diagnosed her with depression,
and referred her to a psychiatrist, Dr. Rohi Patil. Dr. Patil
noted that Plaintiff was suffering from a stressful personal
life, sleeplessness, vomiting,
diarrhea, and migraine headaches. He also noted that she was
suicidal, and put her in the hospital. Thus, on January 2, 1996,
Plaintiff's husband informed the Credit Union that Plaintiff had
been hospitalized and would be unable to return to work for some
During Plaintiff's hospitalization, Senger called Dr. Patil to
ask him when Plaintiff could return to work. He also called
Plaintiff to ask whether her illness was work-related, and to
find out how long she would be in the hospital. Plaintiff felt
that during this call, Senger was angry and annoyed with her, and
his tone scared her. Eight days later, Plaintiff spoke with
Senger again, and they discussed Plaintiff's medical leave and
At some point after Plaintiff went on medical leave, Senger
asked Althoff to document his conversations with Plaintiff.
Althoff could not recall ever making notes like that for any
other employee, but he complied with Senger's request. He
recalled that Senger made this request sometime after Althoff
told Senger that Plaintiff's doctor had referred her to a
On January 26, 1996, Plaintiff was discharged from the
hospital, but returned a few days later for previously scheduled
bladder surgery. By March 11, Plaintiff's situation had improved,
and she returned to work. Plaintiff asserts that at that time,
she was able to perform all of the tasks of her job, but was
still taking medication to treat her depression. Upon her return,
her co-workers did nothing to welcome her back, and instead
gossiped that Plaintiff had suffered a "nervous breakdown."
Although Senger and Althoff had talked about making Plaintiff's
return to work normal, they did nothing to ensure that the other
employees would make her comfortable. Senger recalled saying
hello to her that first day back, but nothing else.
On March 15, Plaintiff went to a co-worker's office to discuss
work, and spoke with her for about five minutes. At some point,
after the conversation turned to grandchildren, Senger appeared.
Within seconds, he told Plaintiff to go back to her department.
Later that afternoon, Senger scolded Plaintiff for having a
personal conversation at work, and warned her not to do it again.
He then ordered her to write a memorandum stating that she
understood this direction. Plaintiff asked Senger to allow her to
wait until the next morning to write the memorandum, but he
insisted that it be done that day. When she gave him the
memorandum later that day, Senger was not satisfied, and told her
Shortly after that incident, Althoff showed Plaintiff telephone
records and asked her to explain certain calls she had received
on the Credit Union's toll-free line during the last three months
of 1995. Plaintiff admitted that she received a personal call
from her son. Senger also reviewed the records, but did not look
to see whether other employees had made personal calls as well.
He knew that Plaintiff's son had business with the Credit Union,
and that some of his calls might have been related to that
business rather than to personal matters. Moreover, Senger knew
that other employees received personal calls at work on the
toll-free number. In those instances, the employee would simply
reimburse the Credit Union for the cost of the call. Senger did
not know whether Plaintiff had paid for the one call she admitted
The following week, Plaintiff had a doctor's appointment
scheduled during business hours. In advance of the appointment,
Althoff gave Plaintiff permission to leave work early that day
and make up the time by coming in early the following morning, a
privilege that workers in Althoff's department frequently
enjoyed. When Senger learned of this arrangement, however, he
overrode Althoff's decision, even though he knew that other
employees were allowed comparable privileges. In addition, around
that time, Senger changed Plaintiff's lunch hour, even though
Plaintiff had been taking her lunch at the same time for years.
On March 25, Senger and Althoff met with Plaintiff. Senger told
Plaintiff that they had come to a "crossroads," and that he did
not like the memorandum she had written earlier that month. He
then gave her three options: write a memorandum of apology,
resign, or be terminated. Plaintiff wrote the memorandum. The
next day, Senger called Plaintiff into his office. Senger was
upset with her second memorandum, which stated that Senger made
her write it to avoid being fired. He told her to gather her
personal belongings and return her keys, and that he was firing
In his deposition, Senger admitted that he knew of no instance
since her return that month in which Plaintiff was late, had been
rude, or had not gotten along with co-workers. He also had no
indication that she had not been loyal to the Credit Union or had
a bad work attitude. Nevertheless, he issued no warning, nor did
he ask Althoff for his opinion before firing Plaintiff. He stated
that he did this ...