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HOLMES v. AMERICAN DRUG STORES

May 12, 2003

DIANE HOLMES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
AMERICAN DRUG STORES, INC., D/B/A OSCO DRUG, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: William J. Hibbler, United States District Court

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff Diane Holmes flied this action against Defendant American Drug Stores, Inc. d/b/a Osco Drug, Inc. (Osco), alleging that Osco discriminated against her because of her race and gender in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. Osco now moves for summary judgment. For the following reasons, Osco's motion for summary judgment is GRANTED.

II. FACTS

Holmes is an African-American, female. Defendant Osco Owns and operates a chain of retail stores that sell medicines and miscellaneous items. Many Osco stores share retail space with Jewel food stores, which are owned and operated by Jewel Food Stores, Inc.

On August 28, 2000, Holmes was hired into Osco's management trainee program at a starting salary of $11.09 per hour. Holmes was assigned to an Osco store in Waukegan, Illinois and was supervised by the store's manager, Dave Batjes. During the training period, which typically lasts 20 weeks, supervisors provide trainees with written performance evaluations at the 30-day, 60-day, and 90-day marks. For these evaluations, the supervisor rates each trainee in fourteen distinct categories using one of four ratings: Exceeds Requirements, Meets Requirements, Does Not Meet Requirements, and Not Applicable. Additionally, the trainee's supervisor provides an "Overall Job Performance Rating" using one of five ratings: Outstanding, Exceeds Requirements, Meets Requirements, Does Not Meet Requirements, Too New To Rate. The evaluations also contain a space entitled "Job Performance Summary" where evaluators can elaborate on an employee's performance.

On her 30-day evaluation, Batjes rated Holmes as Meets Requirement in every category, Meets Requirements for her overall rating, and the comment section states:

Diane is doing a fine job getting to know everyone in the store, how things work and is willing to do anything that is asked of her.
On her 60-day review, Batjes rated Holmes as Meets Requirements in five categories and Exceeds Requirements in nine categories, Exceeds Requirements for her overall rating, and the comment section states:
Diane is doing a great job, takes on responsibility and control of any situation that is presented her. Since she has been here she has taken on an active role in the store more as an assistant then as a trainee. She works well with the crew when trying to work towards a common goal or task.
On her 90-day review, Batjes again rated Holmes as Meets Requirements in five categories and Exceeds Requirements in nine categories. Regarding the overall rating, however, the parties' stories diverge. Osco produces an evaluation that rated Holmes's overall job performance as both Meets Requirements and Exceeds Requirements and claims that Holmes was rated in this manner because her performance vacillated between the two categories. Holmes submits a document that purports to be the same 90-day performance review, but rates her overall job performance as only Exceeds Requirements. Osco claims that Holmes altered the document and that their copy properly reflects the original evaluation's content. Holmes, on the other hand, claims that Osco altered the document to justify their decision not to promote her. Both documents contain the same comments however:
Diane is beginning the last 2 weeks of her program and has come a long way she takes control of the situation and works well with the [illegible] crew store staff. Takes on responsibility and an active role when she is in charge of the crew at night when she is in charge. She is developing a style of her own.
On December 26, 2000, a few days after her 90-day review, Holmes got into an argument with the Jewel store director, Scott Cygan, over the price of certain merchandise. At the peak of the argument, Holmes exclaimed "fuck you!" to the store director and left the store. Although Holmes could have been fired for this incident, Batjes decided to issue Holmes a written warning.

On January 17, 2001, towards the end of Holmes's twenty-week training, Batjes met with Holmes and explained that the store had no assistant manager positions available and that only the very top trainees from her program would be promoted when a position opened. According to Osco, during the meeting Holmes said that she viewed her position as merely a job and nor a career and that she was leaving as soon as she found a better opportunity.

Shortly thereafter, on February 19, 2001, Batjes met with his supervisor, Dave Pierini and the human resource manager, Tim O'Connor, to discuss employee performance at his store. According to Osco, Batjes reported that Holmes's job performance was only average and that she did not exhibit characteristics demonstrating her commitment to the company. Based on this recommendation, they decided not to promote Holmes to assistant manager.

On February 20, 2001, Batjes informed Holmes that she would not be promoted to assistant manager and gave her a number of reasons for the decision including that she did not excel in her training, that other trainees performed better than her, and that she had been written up for the incident with the Jewel store director. Batjes offered her a supervisor position, which paid slightly less, approximately $10 per hour, than what she was making as a management trainee. Holmes refused the position and resigned that same day.

On March 8, 2001, Holmes called Tim O'Connor, one of Osco's human resource managers, to discuss Batjes's failure to promote her. On March 11, 2001, O'Connor informed Holmes that Batjes should not have removed her from the management trainee program and that she could return to work as a management trainee on March 19, 2001. Additionally, he told Holmes that she would receive three weeks ...


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