The opinion of the court was delivered by: WILLIAM J. HIBBLER, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
In this case, Nancy Marshall, the Plaintiff, alleges that her
employers, the Illinois Department of Human Services ("IDHS") and the
W.A. Howe Developmental Center (the "Howe Center") (collectively, the
"Defendants'"), discriminated against her based upon her race and then
retaliated against her because of her complaints of discrimination, in
violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
et seq., and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Pending in this case is the Defendants'
motion for summary judgment. The Court has examined the submissions by
the parties related to the motion and determines that the Defendants'
summary judgment motion should be granted on both counts.
Marshall, an African-American woman, began working for IDHS at the Howe
Center in 1987. Approximately 80% of the employees at the Howe Center are
minorities, and approximately 80% are women. Marshall started work as a
Mental Health Technician ("MHT") trainee, and
currently she is employed as an MHT III. MHTs provide care and training
for the service recipients living at the Howe Center. There are five
different levels of the MHT position at the Howe Center: the starting
level of MHT trainee and then MHT levels I though IV. An MHT DI is a lead
worker during his or her shift for the living area of the residential
house to which he or she is assigned. The MHTs report directly to the
Living Unit Administrator ("LUA") for the Unit in which they are
assigned. The LUAs then report to the Unit Director. Peter Gordon, an
African-American, was Marshall's LUA and direct supervisor in 1999. In
the spring of 2000, Mischa Stewart, an African-American, replaced him and
became Marshall's LUA. Dorothy Carlson, a Caucasian woman, was Marshall's
Unit Director during the times at issue in this case.
A. Confrontation with Monica Lane.
In June 1999, Monica Lane, an African-American woman working as an MHT
II, began working in the same residential house as Marshall. On August
13, 1999, Marshall was temporarily assigned to be an MHT III. After
discussing a work matter, Marshall and Lane had a confrontation in which
Marshall claims Lane physically and verbally threatened her. Lane had a
history of conflict with other co-workers at the Howe Center, and had
previously received a five-day suspension for using vulgar and obscene
language in front of staff and residents.
Marshall complained to Gordon by making a written statement that Lane
had been physically and verbally threatening to her, and had used
inappropriate language in a loud and angry tone. On August 16, 1999,
Marshall met with Gordon and Carlson and complained about Lane. Another
meeting followed, and this time Lane attended as well. Carlson told Lane
that she had to stop her inappropriate conduct, and she re-assigned Lane
to a different house for a week. Marshall claims that at that meeting
Lane threatened her again in the presence of Carlson.
On August 18 or 19, 1999, Marshall met with Carol Wade, the Howe Center
Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action (EEO/AA) officer. Wade is
African-American. Marshall gave Wade a copy of her written statement
about Lane and told Wade about her meeting with Carlson. She described
the problems she was having with Lane, which Wade understood to be
related to a disagreement they had about decorating the house in which
they were working. Wade determined that Marshall's problem was that she
was having trouble transitioning from a peer to a leader of her
On August 23, 1999, Marshall met again with Lane, Gordon, and Carlson
to discuss permanent schedule changes so that Marshall and Lane would not
have to work together. Lane refused to have her schedule changed, so
Marshall felt she was forced to change her schedule to avoid Lane.
Marshall and Lane, however, continued having to work together two or
three days per week. After the August 23rd meeting, Lane never verbally
or physically threatened Marshall again, although Marshall claims that
Lane continued to harass her and that they had perpetual arguments and
B. Marshall's Promotions.
Marshall was hired by IDHS as an MHT Trainee on November 16, 1987. She
was promoted to MHT I on July 16, 1988; to MHT II on August 1, 1990; and
to MHT III on July 1, 2000. The promotion process at the Howe Center
involves several steps. First, there has to be an opening for a position,
and the MHTs have to submit a bid for the open position. In April 1999,
Marshall, then an MHT II, submitted a bid for the MHT III position. On
May 24, 1999, Marshall received a memo from Carlson stating that she was
selected for the MHT III position. After being selected, MHT IIs must
attend training for the MHT III position and then perform a ten week
Marshall attended the mandatory training in November 1999, and following
her ten week on-the-job training, she received a "certificate of
training" in February 2000. The training certificate is sent to the
Illinois Department of Central Management Services ("CMS"), which then
mails a grade certificate to the employee's home. At that point, the
employee has to bring the certificate to her supervisor, who has to
perform a promotional evaluation on the employee. This is followed by a
series of additional internal bureaucratic steps before the employee is
Marshall's grade notice from CMS was dated March 28, 2000. After she
turned it in to Gordon, her supervisor, Gordon performed a promotional
evaluation for her. Marshall signed her promotional evaluation form on
May 13, 2000, and Carlson signed the evaluation form on May 30, 2000.
There was one more form which Marshall had to sign in order to be
formally promoted, which Keith Taylor and Steven Hunter, African-American
employees involved with EEO investigations, did not present to Marshall
until a later date. Marshall signed this form on August 16, 2000.
Marshall's promotion, however, was finalized by the Director of the Howe
Center on July 14, 2000, and made retroactively effective as of July 1,
2000. Other MHT IIs who began the promotion process the same time as
Marshall had their promotions finalized on April 16 and May 16, 2000.
When an MHT II is selected for a promotion to become an MHT III, he or
she may be temporarily assigned to the position of MHT III. When an
employee is temporarily assigned to a higher position, the employee
receives compensation at the pay level of the higher position. Between
May 16, 2000, and July 1, 2000, Marshall was assigned to be an MHT III,
and received MHT III pay, on 25 of the 31 days that she worked. Marshall
never bid on an MHT IV position.
Between October 27, 1999, and May 2, 2000, Marshall received four
the ten years preceding August 1999, Marshall was never disciplined
and only received one counseling for tardiness in October 1996. A
counseling is a discussion with an employee regarding a negative incident
in an effort to prevent the incident from happening again. Neither IDHS
nor the Howe Center consider it to be a discipline of an employee.
Counselings are not considered in the promotion process and have no
impact on promotions.
On October 27, 1999, Gordon counseled Marshall regarding an incident
when a service recipient ran from a house unsupervised. The consequences
imposed on an MHT whose service recipient leaves a house unsupervised
depends on the specific facts of the incident. An MHT may: (1) receive
nothing; (2) receive counseling; (3) be disciplined; or (4) be discharged.
Next, on December 29, 1999, Marshall was counseled by Gordon for being 15
minutes late to work on December 13, 1999. The Howe Center's policy is to
counsel employees for being 15 minutes late regardless of whether it is
their first or second offense of this nature. On January 31, 2000,
Marshall received a counseling for an incident that occurred on August
6, 1999, when a service recipient cut herself with a piece of plastic.
Marshall was the acting MHT III residence manager at the time of the
incident. The Office of Inspector General of IDHS conducted an
investigation which took several months. Marshall was given a counseling
after the investigation was ...