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Peisker v. United Parcel Service

January 9, 2006

KAREN PEISKER AND WILLETTA TAYLOR, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
UNITED PARCEL SERVICE, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Matthew F. Kennelly, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiffs Karen Peisker and Willetta E. Taylor bring suit against their employer United Parcel Service (UPS) for violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 626(c). Plaintiffs, who worked as feeder drivers,*fn1 contend that UPS discriminated against them based on their sex, race, and/or age in displacing them from their home facilities during layoffs in 2001 and 2002 and in refusing to allow them to remain in the facilities to which they were displaced during those layoffs. Plaintiffs also assert that the UPS's layoff policy under the current collective bargaining agreement disproportionately impacts female and minority feeder drivers. UPS has moved for summary judgment on all of the plaintiffs' claims. For the reasons outlined below, the Court grants UPS's motion.

Facts

UPS has three districts in the Chicago metropolitan area or Tri-District -- Metro Chicago, the Chicago Area Consolidation Hub (CACH), and North Illinois. Metro Chicago has three facilities (Jefferson Street, Northbrook, and Franklin Park); North Illinois has two facilities (Addison and Palatine); and CACH, the largest UPS facility in the country, is its own district.

Over 12,500 UPS employees within UPS's Tri-District are members of International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 705, and the employment relationship between UPS and these employees is governed by collective bargaining agreements negotiated between UPS and Local 705. Landem Decl. ¶¶ 4-10. Two collective bargaining agreements are relevant to this case: the 1997-2002 collective bargaining agreement (Old CBA) and the 2002-2008 collective bargaining agreement (New CBA). The New CBA effective date was August 1, 2002, but it was ratified in October 2002. Peisker Pl. 56.1 Resp. ¶¶ 11-12.

Plaintiffs were assigned to the Northbrook facility in the Metro Chicago district. Peisker Def. 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 16. During 2001 and 2002, plaintiffs were laid off from their positions due to a lack of work. Under the Old CBA, feeder drivers were given three options when laid off. They could bump the least senior feeder driver in the Tri-District, bump the least senior package driver (the job classification below feeder driver), or accept a layoff subject to recall.

Due to a shortage of work in July 2001, Peisker was laid off along with two other feeder drivers, Keith Collins and Rob Distenfield. Each of these individuals was given three options. They could move into a temporary new feeder driver position at CACH, bump into a package car driver position at Northbrook, or take the layoff and collect unemployment compensation. Peisker Dep. at 29-30. Peisker contends that under the Old CBA, she should have been given the option to bump into other facilities as a feeder driver and that she was improperly refused a copy of the master feeder list so that she could understand and fully exercise her bumping options. Peisker Decl. ¶ 5. From the options she was given, Peisker, like Distenfield, took the lower-paying package car driver position at Northbrook, while Collins took the temporary feeder driver position at CACH. Peisker Dep. at 30.

In February 2002, Peisker requested to bump the least senior feeder driver at Addison, which she was allowed to do for a few weeks. She was then moved, without explanation, to a feeder driver position at Palatine. After working at Palatine for thirty days, Peisker requested the right to bid on an open feeder driver position at that facility but was not allowed to do so. Peisker Decl. ¶¶ 11-14.

Eventually, Peisker was forced to return to Northbrook, where she experienced another layoff in December 2002. During this layoff, which was governed by the New CBA, Peisker was given the option of doing two part-time jobs at the Jefferson Street facility or taking a layoff. She opted for the layoff. Peisker Dep. at 32-35.

In February 2002, Taylor was laid off from her position as a feeder driver at Northbrook. At that time, feeder drivers were being laid off across the Metro Chicago district and CACH. Taylor Dep. at 38. Taylor was told to report for a feeder driver position at Palatine. She states, however, that the least senior feeder drivers were at CACH and that three more junior male feeder drivers were allowed to go to CACH when she was told to report to Palatine. Taylor Decl. ¶ 3.

During the 2002 layoff, Taylor worked at the Palatine and Addison facilities during periods when she was not on worker's compensation leave (which was much of April through August). Taylor Dep. at 40. She attempted to make bids on permanent positions when she was at Palatine, but she was not allowed to do so. It appears that Taylor eventually returned to Northbrook, but she, like Peisker, was laid off again in December 2002, and she opted to take the layoff rather than working two new jobs. Taylor Dep. at 40-42, 76-79.

Discussion

Defendants are entitled to summary judgment "if the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving part[ies] [are] entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). When evaluating a motion for summary judgment, the Court must view the facts in favor of the non-moving parties and draw all reasonable inferences in their favor.

In an employment discrimination case involving allegations of disparate treatment, a plaintiff can survive summary judgment by proffering either direct or indirect evidence of discrimination on the part of the employer. See, e.g., Mills v. Health Care Serv. Corp., 171 F.3d 450, 454 (7th Cir. 1999). Plaintiffs contend that UPS discriminated against them in two ways: first, by not providing them with bumping options that correlated with their seniority when they were initially laid off, and ...


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