Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

MCLAUGHLIN v. CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY

April 24, 2003

ELAINE MCLAUGHLIN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY, JOYCE COLEMAN, GEOFFREY LAYHE, ROBERT GIERUT, LARRY WALL, AND DORVAL CARTER, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Elaine E. Bucklo, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Elaine McLaughlin is a white female who worked for defendant Chicago Transit Authority ("CTA") from March 21, 1996 until her termination on October 19, 2001. Defendants Joyce Coleman, Geoffrey Layhe, Robert Gierut, Larry Wall, and Dorval Carter are all CTA employees who occupied management or vice-presidential positions during Ms. McLaughlin's tenure there. Ms. McLaughlin filed this suit complaining that the defendants discriminated against her on the basis of her race and gender and retaliated against her for reporting their discrimination and for exercising her rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"). The defendants now move for summary judgment in their favor. I grant the motion.

I. Facts

For the purposes of this summary judgment motion, I must evaluate admissible evidence in the light most favorable to Ms. McLaughlin, the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986); Bennett v. Roberts, 295 F.3d 687, 694 (7th Cir. 2002).

Ms. McLaughlin's first direct supervisor at the CTA was Constance Mortell, General Manager of Media Relations. During the summer of 1996, Ms. McLaughlin began reporting to the new Vice-President of Communications, Noelle Gaffney, a white female. In 1998, Ms. McLaughlin was transferred into the Human Resources Program Compliance Department under the supervision of defendant Robert Gierut, a white male. Mr. Gierut informed Ms. McLaughlin that the transfer occurred because Ms. Gaffney no longer wanted Ms. McLaughlin in her department.

In September 1999, Ms. McLaughlin was again transferred, this time to the Benefit Services Department under the supervision of Charles Andersen, a white male. Mr. Andersen told Ms. McLaughlin that the transfer occurred because Mr. Gierut wished to "get rid" of Ms. McLaughlin. A month later, Ms. McLaughlin was assigned to manage the CTA's FMLA program.

In February 2000, Joyce Coleman, an African-American female, began working as Vice President of Human Resources for the CTA. In that role, she directly supervised Mr. Andersen, Ms. McLaughlin's direct supervisor. Ms. Coleman complained about Ms. McLaughlin's job performance to Mr. Andersen. Even though Mr. Andersen was happy with Ms. McLaughlin's performance, Ms. Coleman directed him to downgrade her performance review. She also directed him to downgrade the performance review of Ms. McLaughlin's colleague Mr. Gannon.

In April of 2000, Mr. Andersen recommended a salary increase for Ms. McLaughlin, which was denied by Ms. Coleman. At a meeting in May of 2000, she criticized the FMLA program administered by Ms. McLaughlin and stated that she was "sick of the childishness" in Ms. McLaughlin's department. Ms. Coleman also told Ms. McLaughlin that "FMLA was a problem" which needed work and wrote in memos that she was not pleased with the program. When speaking with other management personnel, Ms. Coleman referred to Ms. McLaughlin as a "white bitch" and a "pushy female," stating that everyone who came from Bridgeport was "the same," that "none of them should be trusted," and that Ms. McLaughlin was the last remaining employee who came from Bridgeport (a white working-class neighborhood), as the others had been "gotten rid of." Ms. Coleman told Ms. McLaughlin that Ms. McLaughlin did not understand "black culture" or people "from the `hood."

Ms. McLaughlin took several FMLA leaves during her employment with the CTA in order to cope with her father's death, her own foot surgery, and her son's broken leg. When Mr. Andersen informed Ms. Coleman that Ms. McLaughlin had filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor in August 2000 regarding her FMLA leave, Ms. Coleman was "not happy." On September 15, 2000, Ms. McLaughlin filed a discrimination complaint with the CTA's Equal Employment Opportunity office. Subsequent to the filing of this complaint, Ms. Coleman approved a salary increase for Ms. McLaughlin.

The CTA terminated Mr. Andersen on November 17, 2000. Following Mr. Andersen's termination, Geoffrey Layhe, a white male, took over as Ms. McLaughlin's direct supervisor. Mr. Layhe told Mr. Andersen that he (Mr. Layhe) did not like Ms. McLaughlin. On May 15, 2001, Layhe recommended to Ms. Coleman that Ms. McLaughlin be terminated and replaced by Carla Jones, a black female employee. Ms. Coleman wrote a memo to Dorval Carter, the CTA's Executive Vice President for Management and Performance, explaining that Ms. McLaughlin's performance was poor and her behavior unprofessional. The memo also stated that Ms. McLaughlin contacted the Department of Labor without management approval and that she had taken a week-long leave of absence due to asthmatic bronchitis, and that for "the above stated reasons" Ms. McLaughlin ought to be terminated. However, Ms. McLaughlin was not terminated at that time.

In September of 2001, Larry Wall, a white male, took over from Mr. Layhe as Ms. McLaughlin's direct supervisor. Mr. Layhe informed Mr. Wall that he had had problems with Ms. McLaughlin's behavior in the past and that he had received complaints about her administration of the FMLA program. On October 10, 2001, Mr. Wall entered Ms. Mclaughlin's office to ask for a work plan and a database of FMLA applications, and "went off" on Ms. McLaughlin when she did not immediately produce the requested items. The following day, Mr. Wall requested permission from Ms. Coleman to terminate Ms. McLaughlin. The permission was granted, and on October 19, 2001, Ms. McLaughlin was terminated.

On December 19th, 2001, Ms. McLaughlin filed a discrimination charge against the CTA with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. After receiving a right to sue letter, she filed the present case.

II. Analysis

A. The plaintiff cannot prove her Title VII ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.