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ATTEBERRY v. DEPARTMENT OF STATE POLICE

September 30, 2002

TRACY L. ATTEBERRY, PLAINTIFF,
V.
THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE POLICE, SUE JANSKY, KENNETH HALL AND JAMES HOWELL, DEFENDANTS.



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

  OPINION

An employee experiencing a medical condition without medical restrictions is not similarly situated to an employee experiencing a medical condition with medical restrictions.

In 1999, Tracy L. Atteberry, f/k/a Tracy L. Garrett, requested to work light duty during her healthy pregnancy. Because her employer, the Illinois State Police (ISP), failed to provide light duty detail to Plaintiff everyday, she sued claiming she was discriminated against based on sex and pregnancy in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e), et seq. (Title VII). She claims similarly situated employees were provided light duty everyday. Plaintiff also alleges that the ISP retaliated against her, in violation of Title VII, because she reported the discrimination to the ISP's EEO office and Plaintiff's collective bargaining representative. Lastly, Plaintiff claims two of her superiors, Suzanne Jansky and Kenneth Hall, violated 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection clause by treating her differently than other similarly situated male employees.*fn1
The Court concludes Plaintiff's retaliation claim is legally insufficient. As to her discrimination claims, she has failed to prove she was similarly situated to any other employee given light duty. While Plaintiff was experiencing a medical condition, her condition resulted in no medically-based restrictions. Unlike her fellow employees who were physically incapable of performing some aspects of their jobs, Plaintiff's request for light duty was not based on any inability to carry out her duties. Plaintiff has not proven she was treated worse than any other employee who experienced a medical condition without medical restrictions. Therefore, Defendants' Motion for Summary Judgment is allowed.

BACKGROUND

In April 1999, Plaintiff informed her superiors that she was pregnant. On April 22, 1999, Dr. George J. O'Neill, Plaintiff's obstetrician-gynecologist, drafted a letter that was forwarded to Plaintiff's superior, Lieutenant Suzanne Jansky. The letter stated:

To Whom It May Concern:

Tracy Garrett is an obstetrical patient of mine. Her EDC is 11/29/99. She is to have light duties. She is not to carry a gun belt or do patrol work. She is to have a sedentary job until 6-8 weeks post-partum.
On April 23, 1999, Jansky informed Plaintiff that no light duty was available. On April 24, 1999, Plaintiff contacted the ISP's EEO office and her collective bargaining representative to report this alleged discrimination.*fn2 On May 6, 1999, a second letter written by Dr. O'Neill was given to Plaintiff's superiors. It stated:

To Whom it May Concern:

Tracy Garrett is an obstetrical patient of mine. Her EDC is 11/29/99. She is not to carry her gun belt or do patrol work. She is to have light duties. She may carry her gun. She may work where there is a restroom available. She may do truck inspections, investigations, she can walk and write tickets and do background checks.
Plaintiff alleges that despite this letter, she was physically capable of performing numerous functions with the ISP. Plaintiff claims she was discriminated against by Defendants when she was denied the opportunity to work available duties within her physical disability, denied training opportunities and required to use personal days, vacation days, holidays and sick time rather than work.*fn3 Plaintiff alleges that other employees who requested light duty were allowed to work and/or allowed to attend training and were not required to use personal time.
Plaintiff alleges after the ISP received her doctor's letters, she was forced to use 46 "500 time days." Defendants assert Plaintiff was provided 42 days of medical duty work status from May 5, 1999 to August 29, 1999 and only used 12 days of sick time. Plaintiff was assigned to the Illinois State Police Academy on August ...

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