The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ruben Castillo, United States District Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiff Kathryn Grevas ("Grevas") sued the Village of Oak Park,
Illinois ("Village") under the Americans with Disabilities Act,
42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq., and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., claiming that the Village
discriminated against her because she suffered from depression and
because of her race. Presently before the Court is the Village's motion
for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c).
After careful consideration, we grant the Village's motion in its
entirety. (R. 38-1.)
In August 1999 Grevas, a Caucasian, applied for and was offered a
position as Executive Secretary in the Village's Human Resources
department. (R. 39. Def.'s Facts, ¶¶ 13-15.) Rodney Marion, who is
African-American, is the Director of the Human Resources department.
(Id. at ¶¶ 3, 14.) He is responsible for hiring within the
department, as well as assigning duties based on the strengths of the
employee and the department's needs. (Id. at ¶ 3.) Aside from
Grevas, the department included the following individuals: (1) Marion was
the Director, (id. at ¶ 3); (2) Colleen Temesvari, a Caucasian, was
the Human Resources Representative, (id. at ¶ 4); (3) Phleace
Crichlow, an African-American, was the Employee Relations Assistant,
(id. at ¶ 5); and (4) Estella Sanders and Jacquelyn Jamison, who is
African-American, held the position of Administrative Secretary at
various times during Grevas's tenure at the Village, (id. at ¶¶
Grevas started working at the Village on September 13, 1999; the first
of her employment were probationary and she, like other
members of the Human Resources department, were not members of any
collective bargaining unit. (Id. at ¶ 19.) Marion met with Grevas to
explain her job duties and responsibilities. (Id. at ¶ 20.) As part
of her job, Grevas was required to perform various clerical and
secretarial duties, including but not limited to typing and filing
Marion's correspondence, typing other department documents such as job
descriptions and union contracts, and maintaining and processing Village
employee forms. (Id. at ¶ 22.) Grevas also provided secretarial
support to Crichlow and Temesvari. (Id. at ¶ 23.) Other
qualifications of Grevas's job included establishing and maintaining
effective working relationships with her co-workers, other Village
departments and outside agencies. (Id. Ex. 17, Executive Secretary Job
Description.) Grevas reported to Marion and he periodically reviewed her
performance. (Id. at ¶ 22.) At the end of Grevas's probationary
period in March 2000 Marion allowed her to continue her employment with
the Village, and also gave her a four percent salary increase. (Id. at
At some point after Grevas's probationary period, Marion began noticing
problems with Grevas's performance at work. For example, Grevas was
responsible for processing employee status forms, which notify the
Village Payroll department of changes affecting employees' salaries or
benefits (Id. at ¶ 31.) In July 2000 personnel from other
departments complained to Marion that employee forms processed by Grevas
routinely contained errors, were submitted more than once and were often
submitted late. (Id. Ex. 11, Munizza Aff. ¶ 4, Ex. 12, Peters Aff.
¶ 4.) Other Human Resources department personnel also noticed
shortcomings in Grevas's work; Colleen Temesvari testified in her
deposition that Grevas exhibited incompetency in many areas of her work,
including a lack of timeliness in executing certain forms and inefficient
prioritization of office tasks. (Id., Ex. 3, Temesvari Dep. at 44-46.) On
one occasion, unsigned employee status forms were found in Grevas's desk
when she was out sick, (id., Ex. 2, Jamison Dep. at 33); because Grevas
had not timely submitted the forms, some employees failed to receive
earned pay increases, (id., Ex. 7, Marion Aff. ¶ 28).
Grevas also began experiencing conflicts with her coworkers. Although
the parties present widely divergent versions of these incidents, certain
facts and inferences are undisputed in July 2000 Jacquelyn Jamison was
hired as an Administrative Secretary in the Human Resources department.
(Id., Ex. 2, Jamison Dep. at 6.) Jamison's duties included filing,
answering phones, assisting with training and providing clerical and
administrative support to the department. (Id.) Almost immediately
conflicts arose between Jamison and Grevas regarding scheduling lunch
breaks and assignment of duties, and Marion was forced to intervene.
(Id., Ex. 7, Marion Aff. ¶ 30; R. 48, Grevas Aff. ¶ 39). Grevas
admitted that during her meeting with Jamison and Marion she was angry,
stressed and frustrated and that her actions may have seemed Marion Aff.
¶ 53.) Wiggins conducted a thorough investigation; he interviewed
eight Village employees, including the seven named in Grevas's
complaint, along with Grevas herself (Id., Ex. 13, Wiggins Aff. ¶
5.) On November 10, 2000, a final exchange occurred between Marion and
Grevas, which other members of the department witnessed, and which
ultimately resulted in Marion sending Grevas home for the day. (Id. Ex.
7, Marion Aff. ¶ 50.) Again, the parties widely dispute the
particulars of the incident, but it is clear that some sort of conflict
involving Grevas ensued, and there is no question that Grevas was
suspended as a result of it. (Id.)
Wiggins completed his investigation into Grevas's harassment memo on
January 31, 2001, and concluded that Grevas had not been harassed. (Id.,
Ex. A, Jan. 31. 2001 Investigation Report.) He then began investigating
the November 10, 2000 incident. He determined, based in part on Marion's
suggestion, that Grevas's employment should be terminated because of her
poor job performance, prior misconduct and interpersonal problems with
other Village staff (Id., Ex. 7, Marion Aff. ¶ 55; Ex. 13, Wiggins
Aff. ¶ 6.)
Finally, the parties dispute when the Village first became aware of
Grevas's depression. Grevas asserts that Village was aware of her
depression from the outset because she identified the condition on an
employment form. (R. 49, Grevas Aff. ¶ 50.) The Village claims that
it was not until September 2000 that Grevas informed Marion that she had
a psychological disorder. (R. 39, Def.'s Facts, Ex. 7, Marion Aff.
¶ 37.) In support the Village notes that Grevas did not identify any
mental illness or emotional problems during her pre-employment physical
with the Village's occupational health care provider. (Id., Ex. 16,
Pre-employment Physical Record.) Grevas also denied having any past or
present disability on a occupational hazard form during her physical.
(Id.) In any event, Grevas acknowledges that the only potential
accommodation that she requested because of her alleged depression was a
brief break during work to collect herself or time off from work. (R.
49, Grevas Aff. ¶ 50.) Grevas admitted in her deposition that the
only occasion on which she was denied a break was after the November 10,
2000 incident, (R. 39, Def.'s Facts ¶¶ 51, 63; Ex. 1, Grevas Dep. at
359-361); instead of a break that day, Grevas was sent home.
Summary judgment is appropriate if "the pleadings, depositions, answers
to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the
affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any
material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a
matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). This rule "mandates an approach in
which summary judgment is proper only if there is no reasonably
contestable issue of fact that is potentially outcome-determinative."
E.E.O.C. v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 233 F.3d 432, 436 (7th Cir. 2000).
In resolving a motion for summary judgment. this Court will neither
decide factual disputes nor weigh conflicting evidence. Id. Instead, this
Court limits its inquiry to whether a genuine issue of material fact
exists for trial. Id. In doing so, we view the evidence and draw all
inferences in favor of the nonmoving party. But a nonmoving party cannot
survive summary judgment with a mere scintilla of evidence supporting its
position; the party must present definite, competent evidence to rebut the
motion. Id. at 437 (citing Smith v. Severn, 129 F.3d 419, 427 (7th Cir.
Grevas alleges that the Village discriminated against her because of
her disability when it fired her and failed to reasonably accommodate her
depression. Grevas also claims that the Village discriminated against her
by firing her because she is Caucasian. In order to establish a claim of
disability discrimination under the ADA, the plaintiff must show that:
(1) she is a person with a disability as defined in the Act; (2) she was
qualified for the job that she was performing; and (3) the employer
terminated her because of her disability or failed to reasonably
accommodate that disability. Basith v. Cook County, 241 F.3d 919, 926-27
(7th Cir. 2001). Because Grevas has not met her burden of showing that
her major life activity of sleeping was substantially limited by her
depression, her ADA claim fails.
For purposes of the ADA, a disability is a "physical or mental
impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities."
42 U.S.C. § 12102 (2). Depression can constitute a "mental
impairment" under the ADA. Krocka v. City of Chi, 203 F.3d 507, 512 (7th
Cir. 2000). Major life activities include caring for oneself, performing
manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning and
working, as well as sleeping. 29 C.F.R. § 1630.2 (i); see also Arnold
v. Cook County, 220 F. Supp.2d 893, 896 (N.D. Ill. 2002). The Court must
consider several factors when assessing whether an impairment is
substantially limiting: (1) its nature and severity; (2) its duration or
expected duration; and (3) its permanent or long-term impact or its
expected impact. See § 1630.2(j)(2). See also Duda v. Bd. of Educ. of
Franklin Park Pub. Sch. Dist., 133 F.3d 1054, 1058 n. 5 (7th Cir. 1998).
Therefore, in order for a major life activity to be substantially limited
a plaintiff must show that she, as ...