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Mainor v. Chicago Transit Authority

November 15, 2005


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge James B. Zagel



Plaintiff Dollie Mainor filed a Complaint alleging that she was subjected to sexual harassment by Defendant Charles Williams while both were employed by Defendant Chicago Transit Authority (CTA). Her Complaint asserts causes of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1974, 42 U.S.C. § 2000 et seq. Mainor, a bus operator, alleges that Williams, a bus service supervisor, sexually harassed her on four separate occasions.

The parties agree that prior to the first incident, Mainor and Williams were not well acquainted and had only seen each other in passing. Mainor testified that she had never before met nor spoken to Williams. Williams testified that he could recall having seen her only once before, at which time the two exchanged just a few words.

The first incident occurred on the night of December 29, 2002, at the Lakefront and 79th Street CTA Terminal where Mainor had just returned a borrowed bathroom key to her bus leader. Mainor had lost her own set of keys one month earlier. Williams approached Mainor as she was walking toward her bus. After a brief conversation, Williams allegedly "grabbed [Mainor] by the back of her head . . . and shoved his tongue in her mouth."*fn1 (Pl.'s SOF ¶ 6; Mainor Dep. at 28.) Mainor states that she pushed him off of her and told him "no." (Pl.'s SOF ¶¶ 7-8; Mainor Dep. at 28.) Williams testified that, prior to his physical advances, he deliberately moved out of the view of the bus's cameras because he "didn't want to get caught up into no situation [sic]" on video. (Williams Dep. at 43.)

Williams then asked Mainor to get into his CTA sport utility vehicle (SUV). Mainor alleges that she had already started back toward her bus when Williams lured her into his car with the promise of a switchback slip.*fn2 Mainor wanted the slip because she was running behind on her schedule. While in the SUV, Mainor alleges that Williams asked whether she had a boyfriend and put his hand between her thighs. Mainor told him to stop and got out of the SUV.

The next day, December 30, 2002, Mainor called her supervisor, CTA manager Elzie Washington, and complained about the sexual harassment occurring the night before. Washington advised Mainor to come into the 77th Street Garage the following day to make a formal report. Washington also reported Mainor's complaint to CTA manager Stanley Parish.

The second incident occurred on December 30, 2002, and began when Williams recognized Mainor's lost Mickey Mouse key chain at the 79th and Cottage Grove CTA bus shanty. Although the supervisor working at the bus shanty told Williams to "just leave the keys,"

(Williams Dep. at 58), Williams insisted on taking the keys so that he could personally return them to Mainor. Williams then went to the 77th Street Garage and persuaded bus clerk Betty Spivey to look up Mainor's name and telephone number in CTA's master file.*fn3 Spivey called Mainor, informed her that a supervisor wanted to speak with her, and handed the phone to Williams.

On the phone, Williams told Mainor that he had found her keys, and offered to bring them to her house. Mainor recognized Williams' voice from the night before and asked him not to come to her house since she could pick up the keys from work. Twenty minutes later, Williams arrived at Mainor's house. Mainor alleges that she tried to open her door only wide enough to retrieve her keys, but that Williams nonetheless made his way through the door.

Mainor alleges that, while standing in the vestibule of her house, Williams pulled her toward him, grabbed her breast and tried to kiss her. It is undisputed that before Williams left Mainor's house, she told him that she was offended by his conduct.*fn4 On December 31, 2002, Mainor reported the December 30, 2002 sexual harassment to CTA. Mainor also filed a complaint against Williams with the Chicago Police Department alleging a sex offense.

The third incident occurred on January 2, 2003, at the 77th Street Garage, when Williams allegedly stared at Mainor in a threatening manner. While Defendants deny that Williams saw Mainor that day, it is undisputed that Mainor complained about this incident to two CTA Transportation Managers, Barbara Keaton and Delois West. The next day, Mainor began a medical leave of absence which continued until April 14, 2003. Mainor claims to have suffered from depression and post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the alleged sexual harassment.

The fourth incident occurred on April 21, 2003, a week after Mainor returned from medical leave. Mainor alleges that, when she saw Williams at the Chicago State University Terminal, he stared at her in a threatening way and gave her a "nasty sexual grin."*fn5 (Mainor Dep. at 73-74.) Immediately after this incident, Mainor complained to CTA.*fn6 Mainor took a medical leave of absence from April 21, 2003 to December 11, 2003, for post-traumatic stress disorder, contending that CTA refused to stop the sexual harassment.

In response to Mainor's complaints about the first two incidents, CTA Transportation Manager Stanley Parish interviewed Williams and conducted an investigation of Mainor's allegations. On January 8, 2003, Williams was disciplined with a 21-day suspension and ordered to attend an EEO class on sexual harassment. That same day, Parish asked Mainor what remedy she sought. Mainor requested that she be transferred to North Park Garage, and also warned Parish that she had contacted an attorney.

CTA took no action to transfer either Mainor or Williams.*fn7 It is not clear from the record whether Parish learned of Mainor's complaints to CTA managers Keaton and West about the third incident. In any case, Parish testified that he does not recall having spoken with either Keaton or West, or having read either manager's written report regarding the alleged third incident.

In response to Mainor's complaint about the fourth incident, CTA manager Elzie Washington filed a written report. Washington testified that Mainor told him that Williams had "grinned at her and that made her feel unsafe . . . and she shouldn't be working under those conditions." (Washington Dep. at 101-102.) Washington is "unaware," however, of whether or not he ever spoke to Williams about Mainor's allegations. (Id. at 107-108.)Washington is also unsure about whether he ever mentioned Mainor's allegations to Parish. Williams testified that he had discussed Mainor's allegations with two CTA managers, Stanley Parish and "Mr. Thurmond,"*fn8 shortly after the fourth incident.*fn9 (Id. at 111). Parish, however, testified that he had never been made aware of Mainor's allegations about the April 2003 incident. In any case, Williams was not disciplined for the April 2003 incident.

Mainor has brought a three-count suit against CTA and Williams. Count I is a ยง 1983 claim against CTA and Williams. Count II is a Title VII sexual harassment claim against CTA. Count III is a Title VII retaliation claim against CTA. ...

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