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April 27, 2004.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: WAYNE ANDERSEN, District Judge


This matter is before the Court on defendant General Electric Company d/b/a GE Capital Auto Financial Services' motion for summary judgment. For the following reasons, the motion for summary judgment is granted.


  Plaintiff Cayett Porties is an African American woman. General Electric Company d/b/a GE Capital Auto Financial Services ("GE AFS") is a company which provides consumer loans and automobile financing. On November 3, 1997, GE AFS hired Porties as a collections employee at its Mount Prospect office. As a collections employee. Porties serviced automobile loans that were 30, 60 and 90 days delinquent. One year later, Porties transferred to GE AFS's Harrington office and began a position in the Dialing Group in which she attempted to collect overdue payments on automobile leases that were delinquent.

  In February 3, 2000, Porties transferred to a position as a collector in the Recovery Group in which she was responsible for collecting money owed on vehicles leases that had been written off as not recoverable. The Recovery Group sought to minimize the losses relating to automobile leases by attempting to recover the vehicle if the leasee still retained possession of the car and/or by working with the leasee to develop a repayment plan. Collectors in the Recovery Group make telephone calls and write collection letters to the leasees as part of their efforts to recover the vehicles and to obtain payments on defaulted leases. Each month, GE AFS management sets performance goals for the amount of money the collectors are expected to collect. These goals are based on the Group's performance over the prior three months as well as seasonal trends and fluctuations.

  GE AFS uses a Recovery Management System to randomly assign lease accounts to each of the Recovery Group collectors. However, manual assignments are made for certain types of specialized accounts, including lease accounts for Canadian citizens and "Tex-Flex" accounts. Manual assignments occurred in limited other occasions: (1) for accounts that were being sent to the Recovery Group that had not been previously assigned to any collector in the Group, those accounts would be randomly assigned to the next collector in line to receive a new account; (2) for accounts that had been referred by a collector in the Recovery Group to Legal Services and subsequently was being returned to the Recovery Group, those accounts would be reassigned to the original collector; and (3) if a collector received a phone call on an account that had been abandoned or not yet reassigned and was able to resolve the account, then the account would be assigned to that collector.

  When Porties started in the Recovery Group until the time she left GE AFS, Monica McDermott was the Recovery Manager. However, Porties did not directly report to McDermott. Initially, Porties reported to a supervisor, Tim Minister. Then from April 2001 until she was discharged, Porties reported to Adam Diliberti. On or about June 21, 2001, McDermott and Diliberti informed Porties that she was being placed on a Corrective Action Plan because of her failure to abide by management guidelines and her repeated failure to reach the collections goals set for her team. Porties had failed to meet nine of the monthly departmental collection goals between July 2000 and June 2001. In addition to not meeting her collection goals, Porties was not correctly closing her accounts, not properly documenting the work she performed on her accounts and not updating information required for certain account types.

  After meeting with McDermott and Diliberti, Porties refused to sign the Corrective Action Plan when it was presented to her and requested that she be given an opportunity to present a rebuttal, which she submitted on June 27, 2001. In her rebuttal, Porties claimed that the goals set for the entire group were unreasonable and that she believed that she was being harassed and discriminated against because of a previous incident between her and Diliberti. At that time, Porties did not claim that the harassment or any alleged discrimination was based on her race.

  On August 18, 2001, Porties began a medical leave of absence due to injuries she suffered in a car accident. Based on GE AFS's disability policies, because Porties had a disciplinary action pending in her personnel record when she went out on disability, she received only sixty percent of her salary. In an annual management assessment dated August 28, 2001 that was prepared while Porties was out on disability, McDermott rated Porties' performance as less than fully satisfactory. On September 27, 2001, Porties filed a charge of discrimination with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR") alleging that she was placed on a Corrective Action Plan, subjected to unequal terms and conditions and denied disability benefits because of her race.

  Porties returned to work from her leave of absence on November 5, 2001. Upon her return, McDermott and Diliberti attempted to meet with Porties to address the concerns she raised in her rebuttal. Initially, Porties agreed to meet with them, however, later refused to continue to participate in the meeting because, as she explained to McDermott and Diliberti, she had chosen other avenues to resolve this matter. At that time, Porties also advised McDermott and Diliberti that she wanted advance notice of any future meetings they wished to have with her. On November 7, 2001, Diliberti informed Porties that her Corrective Action Plan would be extended for another two months.

  Then, on November 16, 2001, a Call Quality Specialist contacted Porties to discuss a customer call that was deemed borderline unprofessional. Porties and the Call Quality Specialist had a confrontation regarding her conduct on the phone call. Also sometime during November 2001, Porties raised an issue with management claiming that certain monthly assessments of her performance contained forgeries of her signatures. Porties met with Jennifer Duncan, Director of Human Resources for GE AFS, and Melody Helms, Director of Collections for GE AFS, about her forgery allegations. These allegations were investigated by management, and ultimately there was no evidence that Porties' signature was forged on any of the performance assessments.

  Thereafter, on November 29, 2001, Porties amended her IDHR charge of discrimination to include a retaliatory harassment claim. On December 12, 2001, Diliberti and Duncan met with Porties and presented her with another Corrective Action Plan for insubordination and unprofessional behavior as well as missing her monthly collection targets. Specifically, Diliberti and Duncan identified four examples of Porties' insubordination: walking away from a manager while the manager was speaking with her; demanding advanced notice for meeting and refusing to attend any meetings without such advanced notice; failing to provide information requested by management; and speaking in an inappropriate tone and manner during discussions with management, including using a confrontational, intimidating and disrespectful manner of communication. The December 12, 2001 Corrective Action Plan also stated that further display of insubordination or unprofessional behavior or failure to meet target collection goals may result in termination. In December 2001, Diliberti and Duncan also denied Potties' request to carry over the 2001 vacation time she had accrued and to delay her vacation until 2002. GE AFS did not permit any collectors in the Recovery Group to carry over unused vacation time into 2002.

  Diliberti and Duncan met with Porties again on January 7, 2002 and presented her with a notice that her Corrective Action Plan was being extended for an additional 30 days. During that meeting, Diliberti and Duncan reviewed Porties' phone records from a weekend overtime opportunity in which Porties logged over three hours of overtime and pointed out that during that three hour period she had made only one business-related call which lasted fifteen seconds while she spent forty-seven minutes on personal calls. On or about January 8, 2002, GE AFS also placed five additional employees, including one Hispanic, one Caucasian, two African American employees and another employee race unknown, on Corrective Action Plans for their repeated failure to meet their collection goals.

  After extending Porties' Corrective Action Plan in January 2002, Diliberti continued to monitor her telephone use, and he noticed that Porties would log herself off of the GE AFS computer system, make personnel phone calls and then log back onto the system. Diliberti and Duncan then met with Helms to discuss Porties' performance and conduct and, at that time, concluded that her employment should be terminated because of her ...

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