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DANA HOFFMAN-DOMBROWSKI v. ARLINGTON INTERN.

February 14, 2000

DANA HOFFMAN-DOMBROWSKI, PLAINTIFF,
V.
ARLINGTON INTERNATIONAL RACECOURSE, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Alesia, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the court is defendant Arlington International Racecourse, Incorporated's motion for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c). For the following reasons, the court grants defendant's motion for summary judgment.

I. BACKGROUND*fn1

Plaintiff Dana Hoffman-Dombrowski ("Dombrowski") has worked for defendant Arlington International Racecourse, Incorporated ("Arlington") since June of 1982. Arlington owns and operates intertrack wagering and off-track betting facilities throughout Illinois. Dombrowski brought this suit against Arlington pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. In Count I, Dombrowski alleges that Arlington discriminated against her because of her sex when it failed to promote her and transferred her employment to another location. In Count II, Dombrowski alleges that Arlington retaliated against her for complaining about discriminatory practices in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3.

The matter is currently before the court on Arlington's motion for summary judgment. Arlington contends that it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law on Count I and Count II because (1) Dombrowski has failed to establish her prima facie case and (2) even if Dombrowski has established her prima facie case, Arlington has legitimate nondiscriminatory reasons for not promoting her and for transferring her employment.

In order to understand this court's opinion, one must be aware of a number of facts. For the sake of clarity, a recitation of these facts is in two parts. Part A discusses the relevant history of the operations at Arlington. Part B discusses events which relate to Dombrowski's employment discrimination claims.

A. History of operations at Arlington

In early September of 1997, Arlington announced that it would not hold live horse racing for the 1998 race year at its racecourse located in Arlington Heights, Illinois. Therefore, Arlington determined that its Trackside*fn2 location would be the only mutuel wagering open at that location during 1998. Accordingly, Arlington needed a larger staff at Trackside and added the position of assistant general manager. These changes led to unique staffing challenges for Arlington, which required it to identify employees whom it wanted to retain and to not lay-off. (Def.'s 12(M) Statement at 4, ¶¶ 20-21.)

On October 17, 1997, Arlington transferred Rita Supergan, Joy Spindler, Bob Maramba ("Maramba"), Wendy Stevens ("Stevens"), and Dan Majchrzak ("Majchrzak") from the live meet to Trackside. During these transfers, Arlington promoted Maramba and Stevens each to the position of assistant manager and Majchrzak became the assistant general manager. (Pl.'s 12(N) Statement at 4, ¶ 25; Pl's Ex. 16.) Prior to Majchrzak's transfer, he was the assistant director of mutuels at the live meet which, in some respects, was more complex than his new position. Furthermore, during the off-season for live meets from 1993 to 1995, Majchrzak supervised Dombrowski at Trackside.

Around this same time, Arlington transferred Dombrowski and Lisa Shirk from Trackside to other off-track betting facilities ("OTB's"). According to Arlington, it made this decision after determining where their strengths could be utilized. (Def.'s 12(M) Statement at 7, ¶ 31; Def.'s Ex. D at 118:3-9 & 119:2-11.)

B. Events relating to Dombrowski's employment

Dombrowski began her work at Arlington as a union member, working information windows at Trackside. Between 1983 and June of 1996, Dombrowski held the positions of assistant money room head, floor supervisor, assistant mutuel manager, auditor, and building manager. During this time, she also had responsibilities as a "head trainer."*fn3 In June of 1996, Arlington promoted Dombrowski to one of the three assistant manager positions at Trackside.

Also, in June of 1996, Arlington hired Scott Lager ("Lager") as the general manager of Trackside. Shortly thereafter, Dombrowski allegedly told Scott Mordell ("Mordell"), the chief executive officer, and Linda Kica ("Kica"), the human resources director, of her belief that Arlington did not promote her to the general manager position because of her gender. Dombrowski also contends that she informed Jim Stumpf ("Stumpf"), the vice president of off-track operations, and Lager of her belief in July of 1996. (Pl.'s 12(N) Statement at 2, ¶ 13.)

In April of 1997, Lager heard rumors that a customer and a former employee had been in the manager's office at Trackside with Dombrowski and two other assistant managers. Thus, on April 14th, Lager sent a memorandum to the Trackside managers stating that the Trackside offices were for use by management and executives only, and not for use by non-Arlington employees. Shortly after this memorandum, Lager installed a security camera in the office. While viewing one of the tapes, Lager observed Dombrowski kissing a non-employee customer in the office. (Def.'s Ex. B at 99:4-10 & 100:9-12; Pl.'s Ex. 2 at 99:4-10.) Following this incident, Lager once again observed Dombrowski interacting with the same non-employee ...


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