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COLANGELO v. MOTION PICTURE PROJECTIONISTS

February 25, 2004.

JODY COLANGELO, Plaintiff,
v.
MOTION PICTURE PROJECTIONISTS, OPERATORS & VIDEO TECHNICIANS, LOCAL 110, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SAMUEL DER-YEGHIAYAN, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter is before the court on Defendant Motion Picture Projectionists, Operators & Video Technicians, Local 110's ("Local 110") motion for summary judgment. For the reasons stated below we grant the motion.

BACKGROUND

  Local 110 represents employees employed as projectionists in movie theaters and employees engaged in operating portable audio visual equipment at trade shows, conventions, and similar gatherings. Plaintiff Jody Colangelo ("Colangelo") worked for Local 110 from 1995 to June of 2000 as the Office Manager. Colangelo's supervisor was Steve Spano ("Spano"). Colangelo claims that beginning in 1999 Spano began making sexual advances to her on a regular basis. Colangelo also accuses Spano of making inappropriate comments about her Page 2 personal appearance. Local 110 claims that in 2000 Colangelo's work deteriorated and that she was rude, insubordinate, and spent too much time at work dealing with personal matters. Spano claims that he gave her several warnings regarding her poor work performance. According to Spano, in May of 2000 Colangelo refused to shift duties to another office worker. On June 6, 2003 Colangelo was suspended. Local 110 claims that during the meeting Colangelo stated that she would get revenge for the suspension. Colangelo claims that she was suspended to teach her a lesson and to show her who was in charge and that Colangelo had been performing her work satisfactorily. On the evening of the suspension Colangelo called Spano at home to complain about the suspension and he told her not to call him at home. Colangelo allegedly again called Spano at work regarding her suspension. On June 15, 2003 Spano allegedly told Colangelo to accept a severance agreement or she would be terminated. Colangelo is suing in part alleging that Local 110 discriminated against her because of her sex by not giving her job referrals. Local 110 contends that Colangelo never sought referrals from the union until her suspension at the very earliest and that she never sought a referral through the proper channels. Colangelo has brought the instant action alleging that Local 110 discriminated against her because of her sex and retaliated against her because she filed a charge of discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.

  LEGAL STANDARD

  Summary judgment is appropriate when the record, viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party, reveals that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). In seeking a grant of Page 3 summary judgment the moving party must identify "those portions of `the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any,' which it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)). This initial burden may be satisfied by presenting specific evidence on a particular issue or by pointing out "an absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's case." Id. at 325. Once the movant has met this burden, the nonmoving party cannot simply rest on the allegations in the pleadings, but, "by affidavits or as otherwise provided for in [Rule 56], must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e). A "genuine issue" in the context of a motion for summary judgment is not simply a "metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, a genuine issue of material fact exists when "the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Insolia v. Philip Morris, Inc., 216 F.3d 596, 599 (7th Cir. 2000). The court must consider the record as a whole, in a light most favorable to the non-moving party, and draw all reasonable inferences that favor the non-moving party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255; Bay v. Cassens Transport Co., 212 F.3d 969, 972 (7th Cir. 2000).

  DISCUSSION

  Colangelo alleges sexual harassment and retaliation claims against Local 110 in its capacity as her employer and in its capacity as her union. Page 4

 I. Suit Against Local 110 In its Employer Capacity

  Colangelo attempts to sue Local 110 in its capacity as her employer for sexual discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII. In her complaint Colangelo seeks to proceed against Local 110 in its capacity as her employer under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(c) which deals with unlawful employment practices by a labor organization. However, the applicable section when dealing with an employee/employer relationship, whether the employer be union or any other entity is under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a). Therefore, we shall begin by analyzing Colangelo's claim under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a).

 A. Unlawful Employment Practices by an Employer

  Title VII provides:
(a) Employer practices It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer —
(1) to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
. . .
42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(emphasis added). In regards to retaliation Title VII also provides:
It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an employer to discriminate against any of his employees or applicants for employment, for an employment agency, or joint labor-management committee controlling apprenticeship or other training or retraining, including on-the-job training programs, to discriminate against any individual, or for a labor organization to discriminate against any member thereof or applicant for membership, because he has opposed any practice made an unlawful employment practice by this subchapter, or because he has made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, proceeding, or hearing under this subchapter.
42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a)(emphasis added). Under Title VII an "employer" is defined as: Page 5
 
. . . a person engaged in an industry affecting commerce who has fifteen or more employees for each working day in each of twenty or more calendar weeks in the current or preceding calendar year, and any agent of such a person, but such term does not include (1) the United States, a corporation wholly owned by the Government of the United States, an Indian tribe, or any department or agency of the District of Columbia subject by statute to procedures of the competitive service (as defined in section 2102 of Title 5), or (2) a bona fide private membership club (other than a labor organization) which is exempt from taxation under section 501(c) of Title 26, except that during the first year after March 24, 1972, persons having fewer than twenty-five employees (and their agents) shall not be considered employers."
42 U.S.C. § 2000e(b)(emphasis added). Pursuant to Local Rule 56.1 Colangelo admits that Local 110 did not have the requisite number of employees in 1999 and 2000 to proceed under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a). (R SF 8, 13, 15, 41, 42, 43 (improper denial)).

  Although Colangelo indicates that she is proceeding solely under 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(c) in her complaint, she nonetheless has included an argument in her answer brief in favor of the applicability of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a). Colangelo argues that we should consider Local 110's officers and board members to be employees under Title VII which would give Local 110 ...


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