The opinion of the court was delivered by: Milton I. Shadur, Senior United States District Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Richard Tevlin ("Tev1in") has filed an action under Title VII
(42 U.S.C. § 2000e to 2000e-17), charging Metropolitan Water
Reclamation District of Greater Chicago ("District") with race
discrimination. Tevlin alleges that District failed to promote him based
on his race (white) and instead promoted a black employee.
Summary Judgment Standards
Familiar Rule 56 principles impose on parties moving for summary
judgment the burden of establishing the lack of a genuine issue of
material fact (Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23 (1986)).
For that purpose this Court must "consider the evidentiary record in the
light most favorable to the non-moving party . . . and draw all
reasonable inferences in his favor" (Lesch v. Crown Cork & Seal Co.,
282 F.3d 467, 471 (7th Cir. 2002)). And Pugh v. City of Attica,
259 F.3d 619, 625 (7th Cir. 2001) has echoed the teaching of Anderson v.
Liberty Lobby Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986):
A genuine issue of triable fact exists only it "the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a
verdict for the nonmoving party."
As with any summary judgment motion, this Court accepts each
nonmovant's version of any disputed facts, but only so long as it is
supported by record evidence. Where as here cross-motions are involved,
the principles of Rule 56 thus demand a dual perspective — one this
Court has sometimes described as Janus-like — that sometimes causes
the denial of both motions. That has unfortunately proved to be the case
here. In any event, what follows in the Facts section is culled from the
District is a body politic organized under the laws of the State of
Illinois (T. St. ¶ 3). Tevlin, a white employee of District, received
a right to sue letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on
his charge of discrimination against District, in which he asserted that
he had been discriminated against on the basis of race when a black
employee, Lucille Odoucha, ("Odoucha"), was promoted to an available
Treatment Plant Operator III ("TPO III") position at District's Kirie
Plant instead of Tevlin (T. St. ¶ 1).
Both Tevlin and Odoucha were Treatment Plant Operator IIs ("TPO IIs")
at the time of the promotion in question. There are only two written
requirements f or promotion from a TPO II to a TPO III (T. App. Tab 8,
Tab B at 2):*fn2
One year of service with the District as a Treatment
Plant Operator II. Civil service status as a Treatment
Plant Operator II.
All "reachable" candidates were then interviewed by a panel of District
representatives, who graded the applicants' answers to questions (D. St.
¶ 23). Those scores were compiled in an interview matrix that was
provided to District's General Superintendent John Farnan ("Farnan") for
his approval of the appointment to the TPO III position (D. St. ¶
23). Tevlin's average score on the interview matrix was 77.25 (D. Add.
St. ¶ 8), while Odoucha's was 70.25 (D. Add. St. ¶ 9). Farnan
testified that scores within five to ten points of each other are within
the same realm or same relative grouping (T. Ex. 6 at 34-35).
Tevlin and District disagree over other factors to be considered in the
decisionmaking process. Tevlin argues that other factors such as tenure
at the facility, disciplinary and service record, recommendations by
supervisors/plant managers and the EEO recommendation should be
considered (T. Mem. 8-9). District claims that the only factors that
"need be considered under the District's statutorily mandated framework
for promotions" are that the employee is "reachable" and whether the
General Superintendent deemed an affirmative action appointment
appropriate (D. Mem. 5). Moreover, District denies that any of the other
factors proposed by Tevlin make Tevlin more qualified for the appointment
than Odoucha (D. St. ¶ 36).
Tevlin had worked 17 years at the Kirie Plant (T. St. ¶ 21), while
Odoucha had never worked there (T. St. ¶ 21). Although service at a
particular plant is not required for promotion to the TPO III position at
that plant (D. Add. St. ¶ 33, T. Reply St. ¶ 33), Tevlin argues
that service at a particular plant is very important to the decision to
promote to TPO III (T.R. Mem. 2-3).
Tevlin's service ratings as a TPO II had always been "Exceeds
Standards," and he had never been disciplined (T. St. ¶ 22).
Odoucha's service rating as a TPO II was "Meets Standards" (T. Ex, 8D),
and she had received a written warning while working as a TPO II (D. St.
¶¶ 22, 23). Discipline does not automatically disqualify a candidate
from being promoted to a TPO III (D. Add. St. ¶ 52), but Tevlin
argues that her disciplinary warnings should be a factor against the
promotion of Odoucha (T. Mem. 8).
William Munch ("Munch") is the Assistant Chief Engineer in the
Maintenance and Operations Department (D. St. ¶ 15). Munch
recommended Tevlin rather than Odoucha for the TPO III position at Kirie
(T. St. ¶ 23). Lee Rakowski was the Plant Manager at Kirie, and he
too recommended Tevlin for the TPO III position at Kirie (T, St. ¶
29). Under District rules the "final selection [for a promotion] is the
responsibility of the various department heads with the approval of the
general superintendent [Farnan]" (T. St. ¶ 31).
According to EEO officer Frances Wilkins ("Wilkins"), "merit factors
being equal" means that a vacancy may be filled with a minority or female
employee "so long as that person is qualified for the appointment in
accordance with the statutory requirements imposed upon the District"
(D. Add. St. ¶ 15), which means that anyone who has passed the
promotional exam and is "reachable" has equal merit factors. In contrast,
Director of Personnel Matthew Menze believes that candidates with widely
disparate scores, for example ...