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WALKER v. GENERAL SECURITY SERVICES CORP.

December 12, 2005.

RHONDA WALKER, Plaintiff,
v.
GENERAL SECURITY SERVICES CORPORATION, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: RUBEN CASTILLO, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff, Rhonda Walker, sued her former employer, General Security Services Corporation ("GSSC"), under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e) et seq. Ms. Walker alleges that GSSC's management retaliated against her because she publicly complained about its sexually discriminatory practices and ultimately terminated her because of her complaints and her gender. Currently before the Court is GSSC's motion for summary judgment (R. 42-1) and motion to strike Ms. Walker's affidavit and Rule 56.1 response (R. 53-1). Because Ms. Walker cannot establish a prima facie case of retaliation, we grant GSSC's motion for summary judgment in its entirety.

RELEVANT FACTS*fn1

  On October 25, 2002, Ms. Walker began working for GSSC as an armed security officer. She was primarily assigned to work in the federal building located at 77 West Jackson Boulevard in Chicago, one of the buildings within GSSC's Chicago Loop contract with the federal government. Ms. Walker was a full time employee with GSSC and the Chicago Fire Department ("CFD"). (R.50, Pl.'s Resp. to Def.'s Facts at 8.) Guy D'or ("D'or") is GSSC's manager for its Loop contract and Robert Doble ("Doble") is the Captain. Doble is responsible for scheduling all of the guards on the Loop contract. Esperanza Alvarez ("Alvarez") is a Sergeant on the Loop contract, and D'or and Doble are in her chain of command.

  I. The June 21st Meeting and Subsequent Mis-schedulings

  Ms. Walker's complaint stems from a meeting held on June 21, 2003 by GSSC to discuss the Building Security Officer ("BSO") program. To qualify for this program, officers must have either five years of military experience or two and a half years of civilian law enforcement experience. (R. 50, Pl.'s Resp. to Def.'s Facts at 4.) Ms. Walker did not qualify for this program, and a disproportionate number of its participants were men. (Id. at 4.) In this meeting, Ms. Walker expressed her belief that several of the BSO guards were not qualified and that the program discriminated against women who had far less military experience on average than men. (Id. at 4-5.) Ms. Walker further stated that women were being removed from the lobbies of other buildings and placed in the 77 West Jackson building, a building with no definitive plans for a BSO program. (R. 46, Def.'s App. to Mot. for Summ. J., Pl.'s Dep. at 59-61.)

  At this point in the meeting, Ms. Walker made the following comment to management: "Why are the women — why have we all been placed in the 77 West Jackson building, which is now labeled the building of fuck-ups? As you look around this room, most of your fuck-ups are in your BSO uniforms . . . [she then precedes to list the transgressions of BSO officers] . . . we don't meet your criteria if that's what you're looking for." (Id. at 64.) Ms. Walker then pointed to a fellow officer, Antoine Pegues ("Pegues"), who was involved in the BSO program, stating, "as you look around the room, your most of your fuck-ups are in BSO uniform. Antoine Pegues . . ." (Id. at 65.) It is disputed between the parties how Pegues reacted to hearing his name in this context, whether he simply stood up or if he lunged at Ms. Walker and had to be restrained, as Ms. Walker alleges. (R. 50, Pl.'s Resp. to Def.'s Facts at 6.) It is undisputed, however, that Ms. Walker told Pegues, "You come across that table, your ass gonna limp back." (Id.)

  The meeting quickly ended after the altercation between Pegues and Ms. Walker. Ms. Walker was not reprimanded by any of her supervisors nor did anyone comment on the events of the meeting. (Id. at 7.)

  Ms. Walker alleges that Doble deliberately mis-scheduled her five times and ultimately terminated her in retaliation for the comments she made about GSSC's discriminatory practices at the June 21st meeting.*fn2 Doble created weekly schedules for the eighty-five guards on the Loop contract, based on the calendar availability submitted by each guard. Ms. Walker submitted her schedule from the CFD for the whole year.*fn3 (Id. at 8.) Immediately after receiving her schedule, Ms. Walker complained to Doble or other management about the conflicts for the weeks ending July 4, 2003, July 19, 2003, July 25, 2003, and August 22, 2003. (Id. at 11, 15.) Management responded by replacing Ms. Walker on the schedule with another employee after she was scheduled to work on days that conflicted with her job at the CFD. (R. 46, Def.'s Memo. in support of Summ. J. at 3-4; R. 50, Pl.'s Resp. to Def.'s Facts at 15-18.) For the weeks ending July 4, 2003, July 25, 2003, and August 22, 2003, Ms. Walker made up the hours that she lost because of the conflicting schedule. (R.50, Pl.'s Resp. to Def's Facts at 15-19.) For the week ending July 19, 2003, Ms. Walker did not receive another shift to replace the hours she lost because of the conflicting schedule. (R.50, Pl.'s Resp. to Def's Facts at 15-19.) For the week ending July 19, 2003, Ms. Walker did not receive another shift to replace the hours she lost because of the conflict. For the week ending September 19, 2003, Ms. Walker refused an alternative shift when it was offered to her. (R. 50, Pl.'s Resp. to Def.'s Facts at 20.) Ms. Walker claims that because of this mis-scheduling, she lost eight hours of pay for the week ending July 19, 2003, and twelve hours of pay for the week ending September 19, 2003.*fn4 (Id. at 11, 17.)

  II. The Events of September 13th

  When Ms. Walker reported to work on September 13th, she discovered that she had been mis-scheduled again, this time on September 18th, a day that she was to report to the CFD. Ms. Walker discussed the conflict with Doble, although it is disputed whether Ms. Walker was behaving in an angry and insubordinate manner when she spoke to him. (Id. at 23.) Later, Doble called to offer her another shift to which Ms. Walker replied, "Don't worry about it, don't worry about it" and hung up the phone.*fn5 (Id. at 20.)

  Later that day, Alvarez came to Ms. Walker's post. She noticed that Ms. Walker was troubled, and she asked Ms. Walker if something was wrong. It is disputed what Ms. Walker actually said to Alvarez. According to Alvarez. Ms. Walker told her in an angry and insubordinate manner that "she was glad that Captain [Doble] walked out of the building, because she was ready to kill him . . ." and that she was "sick and tired of him mis-scheduling me . . . we should just take it outside." (R. ___, Def.'s Facts at 7.)*fn6 According to Ms. Walker's version of the events, she stated that "Doble acts like a — he's just like a little worrisome ass brother. You just want to smack the shit out of him."*fn7 (R. 46, Def.'s App. to Mot. for Summary J., Pl.'s Dep. at 121.)

  Alvarez did not work on the following day. September 14, 2003, but when she reported to work on September 15, she told Doble about her conversation with Ms. Walker and wrote a statement about the incident. (R. 50, Pl.'s Resp. to Def.'s Facts at 26.) D'or suspended Ms. Walker on September 15, 2003. (Id. at 27.) On September 17, Ms. Walker attended a meeting with GSSC's director of operations and human resource director, a union representative, and two Federal Protective Service ("FPS") investigators regarding her alleged threat to Doble. (Id. at 29.) At the conclusion of the meeting, the FPS investigators gave Ms. Walker a citation for the threat. At this time, GSSC also decided to terminate Ms. Walker's employment. (Id. at 33.) She was officially terminated on September 18, 2005 for the alleged threat and also for her alleged insubordination during the September 13 discussion and subsequent phone conversation with Doble. (Id. at 33.) Ms. Walker claims that the mis-schedulings and her termination were in retaliation for her statements at the June 21 meeting about sex discrimination in the BSO program. (R. 49, Pl.'s Resp. to Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. at 6.) She further ...


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