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YOUNG v. CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY

February 8, 2002

CHRISTOPHER K. YOUNG, PLAINTIFF,
V.
CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ian H. Levin, Magistrate Judge.

  MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Christopher K. Young ("Plaintiff") seeks recovery in an Amended Complaint against Defendant Chicago Transit Authority ("CTA") for unlawful discriminatory employment practices in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000 et seq. and the American with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. Before the Court is Defendant CTA's motion for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants the motion for summary judgment.

BACKGROUND FACTS

I. PLAINTIFF'S TERMINATION

Plaintiff began working for the CTA as a part-time bus operator on November 6, 1997. Def.'s LR 56.1(a)(3) St. ¶ 2. Plaintiff was assigned to the CTA's North Park bus garage located at 3112 West Foster Avenue in Chicago, Illinois. Id. ¶ 3.

On December 4, 1999, Plaintiff was working bus run 249 which operated on Clark Street. Def.'s LR 56.1(a)(3) St. ¶ 22. Plaintiff's bus run began at approximately 8:31 p.m. on December 4th, and ended at approximately 6:19 a.m. on December 5, 1999. Id. ¶ 23. At about 12:31 a.m. on December 5th, Plaintiff slipped on the wet pavement and injured his ankle as he attempted to board his bus. Id. ¶ 24. Plaintiff continued working and reported the incident to the manager on duty, Eileen Jensen, at the end of his shift. Id. ¶ 25. Plaintiff informed Ms. Jensen that he was okay and did not indicate that he had been injured. Id. ¶ 26. Plaintiff did not request medical attention at that time. Id.

On December 6, 1999, Plaintiff reported to work and informed Melvin Jackson, Bus System Transportation Manager, that his ankle was hurting and that he was unable to work. Def.'s LR 56.1(a)(3) St. ¶ 28. Mr. Jackson requested that Plaintiff complete several written reports regarding his injury. Id. ¶ 29. Plaintiff completed a Miscellaneous Incident Report and an Employee's Report of Injury on Duty wherein he reported that during his December 4, 1999 run 249 he exited his bus to perform an inspection and that at 12:31 a.m. on December 5, 1999, as he attempted to board his bus, he twisted his ankle. Id.

Because of his claim of injury, Mr. Jackson ordered Plaintiff to submit to drug and alcohol testing pursuant to the CTA's drug testing policies and procedures. Def.'s LR 56.1(a)(3) St. ¶ 32. Pursuant to the CTA's Drug and Alcohol Policy and Testing Program for Safety Sensitive Employees (effective January 1, 1995),*fn1 the position of bus operator is a "safety-sensitive" position for purposes of CTA's drug testing policies and procedures. Id. ¶ 30; Ex. D. Furthermore, the CTA's Drug and Alcohol Policy and Testing Program for Safety Sensitive Employees provides in pertinent part:

g. Non-FTA [Federal Trade Administration] testing:

Also separate from any FTA requirements, the Authority requires that all employees covered by this policy submit to a drug and alcohol test:
i. In the event of an accident or any other incident involving a possible claim of injury or property damage not otherwise covered by the regulations.

Ex. D, CTA Drug and Alcohol Policy and Testing Program for Safety Sensitive Employees, p. 14-15.

Because Plaintiff did not object to taking a drug and alcohol test, Mr. Jackson notified the CTA's Control Center Manager and requested that a technician from SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories be dispatched to the North Park garage to test Plaintiff.*fn2 Def.'s LR 56.1(a)(3) St. ¶¶ 33, 34. Plaintiff submitted to a breathalyzer and provided a urine sample to Ms. Violet McBride, a collection site technician for SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories on December 6, 1999.*fn3 Id. ¶ 36. Subsequent to Plaintiff's testing, Ms. McBride took the specimen to SmithKline Beecham Clinic Laboratories for analysis. Id. ¶ 39. The results of the urinalysis proved positive for the presence of cocaine metabolites. Id. ¶ 40.

Plaintiff did not return to work until December 22, 1999. Def.'s LR 56.1(a)(3) St. ¶ 41. When Plaintiff reported for work that day, he had been signed out of the North Park bus garage sick book and was instructed to report to the CTA Medical Department by Mr. Walter Thomas, CTA's North Park Garage Manager. Id. Plaintiff reported to the CTA Medical Department where Dr. Irma Realiza, CTA's Medical Review Officer, informed Plaintiff that his urinalysis had tested positive for cocaine metabolites. Id. ¶ 42. During their meeting, the CTA relates that Plaintiff did not mention anything to Dr. Realiza regarding potential irregularities in the drug testing procedure.*fn4 Id. ¶ 43. Dr. Realiza then advised Ms. Cynthia Florence, Manager, Industrial Due Process, of Plaintiff's positive drug test and gave Ms. Florence copies of her written reports. Id. ¶ 44. Ms. Florence notified Plaintiff that he had violated the CTA Drug and Alcohol Policy and Testing Program for Safety-Sensitive Employees, other CTA rules, and that he was being suspended indefinitely. Id. ¶ 45. Plaintiff was instructed to report for further disposition regarding his suspension on January 6, 2000. Id.

On January 6, 2000, Plaintiff appeared pursuant to his Suspension Notification for an interview with Ms. Florence regarding his positive December 6, 1999 drug test. Def.'s LR 56.1(a)(3) St. ¶ 46. Plaintiff was represented by Local 241 Vice-President Lee Robinson who was also present at the interview. Id. At the interview, Ms. Florence asked Plaintiff to account for his positive test result. Florence Aff. ¶ 11. The CTA states that Plaintiff denied any drug use and told Ms. Florence that he had no problems with the collection and processing of his urine specimen.*fn5 Id. ¶ 48. Plaintiff acknowledged that he was aware of the CTA's policy regarding the use of drugs and alcohol. Id. ¶ 47. Mr. Robinson indicated that since Plaintiff had denied any drug use, the union would make arrangements to have the split sample (specimen) tested.*fn6 Id. ¶ 50. A second interview was scheduled for February 2, 2000 in order to discuss the split sample test results. Id. ¶ 51.

On February 2, 2000, Plaintiff appeared before Ms. Florence for an interview, and again, he was accompanied by Mr. Robinson. Def.'s LR 56.1 (a)(3) St. ¶ 52. Mr. Robinson verified that Plaintiff's split urine specimen had tested positive for cocaine metabolites. Id. ¶ 53. At the end of the February 2, 2000 interview, Ms. Florence informed Plaintiff that she was recommending him for discharge. Id. ¶ 55. Ms. Florence was recommending that Plaintiff be discharged because of his positive December 6, 1999 drug test and his ineligibility for the CTA's Employee Assistance Program ("EAP").*fn7 Id. ¶ 57. Ms. Florence further recommended Plaintiff's discharge because he violated the following CTA rules: General Rules 7a, b, c (obedience to rules); 14a, e (personal conduct); 24 (use of best judgment); Executive Orders 89-08 and 89-20, Attachment H of the 1996-1999 CTA-ATU Collective Bargaining Agreement; and CTA/FTA Drug and Alcohol Policy and Testing Program for Safety Sensitive Employees. Id. Finally, Ms. Florence instructed Plaintiff to meet with Mr. Robert Gierut, Vice-President, Employee Relations, for discharge consideration, informed Plaintiff that his discharge hearing was scheduled for February 10. 2000 at 9:00 a.m. and, according to the CTA, told Plaintiff that if he failed to report as instructed he discharged by mail.*fn8 Id. ¶ 55.

On February 10, 2000, Plaintiff's discharge hearing was held. Def.'s LR 56.1(a)(3) St. ¶ 58. Mr. Gierut and Mr. Robinson were present; however, Plaintiff did not report for the hearing. Id. ¶ 58, 59. Mr. Gierut considered Plaintiff's positive drug test as a bus operator a direct threat to the health and safety of CTA's passengers. Id. ¶ 60. Based upon Plaintiff's failure to report for the discharge hearing, his positive drug test and the fact that Plaintiff was not eligible for CTA's EAP, Mr. Gierut prepared a written Notice of Discharge for Plaintiff, which union executive Mr. Robinson also signed. Id. ¶ 61. Ms. Florence, subsequently, mailed the Notice of Discharge to Plaintiff at the home address he had previously provided to her. Id. ¶ 62.

II. PLAINTIFF'S DIABETES

Plaintiff is a Type II diabetic. Def.'s LR 56.1(a)(3) St. ¶ 5. Throughout Plaintiff's employment with the CTA, Plaintiff took oral hypoglycemic medication to control his Type II diabetes. Id. ¶ 9. In February, March, July, and September of 1999, Plaintiff provided the CTA's Medical Department with notes from his personal physician, Dr. Pinakin Amin, indicating that Plaintiff could perform his duties as a bus operator and that he did not have any medical restrictions. Id. ¶ 12. Moreover, Plaintiff never made a medical request for an accommodation to the CTA's Medical Department or to the CTA's Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") Accommodation Committee. Id. ¶ 13. Furthermore, Plaintiff never submitted medical documentation to the CTA indicating that he had any type of medical restriction.*fn9 Id. ¶ 14.

III. PLAINTIFF'S PART-TIME EMPLOYMENT

Pursuant to Section 3.6 of the 1996-1999 CTA-ATU Collective Bargaining Agreement, part-time bus operators are eligible to be considered for available full-time bus operator positions on a seniority basis (determined by "entered service date"). Def's LR 56.1(a)(3) St. ¶ 15. The CTA explains that it did not transition Plaintiff to full-time status during his employment bccause the CTA first had to transition other, more senior part-time employees who had earlier entered service dates than Plaintiff. Id. ¶ 19.*fn10 For example, on December 26, 1997 and January 9, 2000, the CTA transitioned fifty part-time operators (on each date) to full-time status who had entered service dates of no later than September 30, 1997 and October 16, 1997, respectively. Id. ¶¶ 16, 17. As of February 10, 2000, (Plaintiff's discharge date), no part-time bus operator who had been hired on or after November 6, 1997 (Plaintiff's entered service date) had been given the opportunity to transition to full-time employment. Id. ¶ 18. Furthermore, between January 1, 1998 and June 14, ...


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