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Owens-Floyd v. City of Chicago

December 11, 2007

BEVERLY OWENS-FLOYD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge George M. Marovich

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Beverly Owens-Floyd ("Owens-Floyd") filed a three-count amended complaint against the City of Chicago (the "City") asserting claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"). The City moves for summary judgment on all of plaintiff's claims. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants in part and denies in part defendant's motion for summary judgment.

I. Background

The following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted.*fn1

Plaintiff Beverly Owens-Floyd has been employed by the City of Chicago since 1985. For the first seven years of her employment, Owens-Floyd worked as pharmacy technician in the City of Chicago's Department of Public Health. From 1992 to approximately 2000, Owens-Floyd held the title Clerk III with the Department of Public Health. Owens-Floyd was promoted to her current position--Clerk IV--in January 2001 as a result of a "desk audit." As a Clerk IV, Owens-Floyd is responsible for, among other things, entering data, completing various tasks assigned by her supervisor and working with the STD, HIV and AIDS programs.

A "desk audit" (the method by which Owens-Floyd received her promotion to Clerk IV) is an analysis of an employee's actual work and duties and is used by the City of Chicago to determine whether an employee's work and duties are consistent with the employee's title and pay grade. An employee of the Department of Health may ask his or her supervisor for a desk audit. The supervisor has the discretion to approve or deny the request for a desk audit. If the request is approved, a Personnel Analyst from the Department of Human Resources reviews the employee's work by sitting with the employee as s/he works. The Department of Human Resources then makes a recommendation to the supervisor as to whether the employee's position is in the proper class and grade, should be reclassified laterally, should be reclassified to a higher level or should be reclassified to a lower level.

At some point between the years 2002 and 2004, Owens-Floyd asked her supervisor, Janice Johnson ("Johnson") for another desk audit. The reason Owens-Floyd requested a desk audit was that she felt that she was performing tasks outside of her grade. Specifically, Owens-Floyd believed she was performing the work of a Communicable Disease Investigator II ("CDCI-II"). Johnson declined Owens-Floyd's request for a desk audit. Owens-Floyd testified that the primary reason why Johnson declined Owens-Floyd's request was that Johnson did not like her. Owens-Floyd also testified that when she requested a desk audit, Johnson told her that she could find a younger person to do Owens-Floyd's job. (The record does not reflect Owens-Floyd's age, but defendant seems to concede that she was over the age of forty during the relevant time period.)

During roughly 2002-2004, two or three CDCI-II positions were available at the Department of Public Health. Owens-Floyd did not apply for any of those positions. She testified that the positions were filled with individuals younger than she.

In March 2004, Owens-Floyd's supervisors required her to work on files that were located in the basement of the building in which she worked. In addition to files, the basement contained spiders, mice and water bugs.

On March 30, 2004, Owens-Floyd filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") a charge of discrimination. In the charge, Owens-Floyd alleged that the City of Chicago had discriminated against her in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act by hiring and promoting only individuals under the age of 40. She also alleged that the City had violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by retaliating against her for earlier complaints and grievances she filed against the City.

At some point, the timing of which is not made clear in the record, Johnson called Owens-Floyd into her office. Johnson told Owens-Floyd to stop filing charges. Johnson also asked Owens-Floyd why she did not stop filing charges. Charmaine Murry, another City of Chicago employee, told Owens-Floyd that she should drop her charges.

On June 7, 2004, the City transferred Owens-Floyd from its 530 E. 31st Street location to its 333 S. State Street location. Owens-Floyd remained a Clerk IV, and the transfer did not affect her salary, benefits or seniority. Owens-Floyd did not want the transfer, however, because she wanted to be closer to her son, who she felt was being recruited by a gang. Owens-Floyd also felt that she sometimes had less than enough work to do at the new location. Owens-Floyd has put forth undisputed evidence that she was told she was being transferred because the position at 530 E. 31st Street was being eliminated. The City says that it transferred Owens-Floyd because it "balanced its operational needs among its various locations."

On October 8, 2004, Owens-Floyd filed with the EEOC a second charge of discrimination. This time, she alleged that the City retaliated against her for filing her earlier charge of discrimination and ...


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