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Walker v. Will County State's Attorney's Office

December 23, 2009

LORENA WALKER, PLAINTIFF,
v.
WILL COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY'S OFFICE, JAMES W. GLASGOW, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, GENE JEVITZ, IN HIS INDIVIDUAL CAPACITY, WILL COUNTY, A UNIT OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT, DEFENDANTS.



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

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

This is an employment discrimination case arising from Plaintiff's employment with the Will County State's Attorney's Office ("SAO"). Plaintiff, pro se, asserts racial discrimination and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 42 U.S.C § 1981. Defendants come now with a motion for summary judgment. For the foregoing reasons, Defendants' motion for summary judgment is granted.

I. STATEMENT OF FACTS*fn1

This employment discrimination and retaliation case arose from allegedly discriminatory actions directed toward Plaintiff and her suspension and termination from the Will County State's Attorney's Office. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants discriminated against her because of her race, and retaliated against her because she opposed their discrimination.

In February 2006, Plaintiff filed a discrimination and harassment complaint with the County of Will Executive Office alleging discrimination and harassment on the basis of race. On August 27, 2007, Plaintiff filed a Charge of Discrimination and Retaliation with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") which was cross-filed with the Illinois Department of Human Rights ("IDHR").

Plaintiff was employed at the SAO as a Support Staff Coordinator and Legal Secretary from April 12, 1996 to July 17, 2007. In December 2004, Glasgow was elected to Office at which time he promoted Plaintiff and gave her a $10,000 salary increase. In January 2005, Glasgow hired his father-in-law Jevitz as the Director of Operations.

In regard to statement 6, I find that the first sentence is not in dispute. I strike the second sentence because it is conclusory and unsupported by the record. I find statement 9 to be immaterial as there is no evidence that Jevitz took any step to eliminate Plaintiff's position. As to statement 10, I strike the first two paragraphs as conclusory and unsupported by the record, and admit the remaining five paragraphs. In regard to statement 11, I find the first paragraph is not in dispute. I strike paragraph two of statement 11 because it is conclusory and unsupported by the record. I also strike paragraph three of statement 11 because it does not present an issue of material fact. I find no dispute regarding paragraph four and five of statement 11. I find no dispute regarding paragraph one of statement 13. Although I acknowledge a dispute within the second paragraph, in regard to whether Plaintiff was denied union representation while receiving an oral warning, I do not find this fact to be material. I find Statement 19, although contested, to be immaterial to the issue of liability.

I find that statements 14 and 15 contain disputes regarding material facts, and I therefore will consider them for purposes of this motion.

Plaintiff alleges that from January 2006 through January 2008 she was subjected to racial discrimination. First, Plaintiff points to a June 2005 conversation between Jevitz and a secretary at the SAO. In this conversation, Jevitz discussed eliminating Plaintiff's position, stated that he had been previously been passed over for a promotion by a "Black guy," that he did not like working with "Blacks" and that he and his wife were verbally abused by "Blacks" while working at the Secretary of State's Office. Defendants do not deny that Jevitz made these statements, but do deny that Jevitz was ever overlooked for a promotion at the Secretary of State's Office or that he and his wife were ever verbally abused by blacks while working at the Secretary of State's Office.

Next, Plaintiff asserts that on January 17, 2006, Plaintiff asked Jevitz to approve a personal day, which he did. However, on January 30, 2006, Jevitz reversed his decision and applied Plaintiff's personal day toward sick time. Jevitz contends that her personal day was applied toward sick time because she had exhausted her annual allotment of personal time; he concedes that his initial approval of her personal day was in error. Plaintiff maintains that she was entitled to her personal time, in accordance with the December 1, 2003- November 30, 2006 Collective Bargaining Agreement between the County of Will and AFSCME Local 1028 Section 13.6(b).

Plaintiff states that on February 9, 2006 she telephoned Jevitz to discuss the issue of her personal day. During that phone call, Jevitz screamed and yelled at her saying he was "tired of getting kicked in the shins" because of her and that he "did not care about her rights." Defendants do not deny these asserted facts. Subsequent to this conversation, Plaintiff states that she sent two emails to Glasgow to discuss her concerns about Jevitz's conduct. One email was sent on February 10, 2006, the second was sent on February 14, 2006. Glasgow did not respond to her emails, a fact that Defendants do not dispute. Glasgow maintains that his regular practice is to have his assistant read his emails and to tell him what he received. As Glasgow believed that this matter should be handled by Jevitz, he did not respond to Plaintiff's emails.

Plaintiff next scheduled a meeting with Glasgow for February 17, 2006. Plaintiff arrived for her scheduled meeting, but was made to wait outside of his office for one hour before being told that Glasgow would not see her. While she was waiting Jevitz entered Glasgow's office and later came out to tell her that Glasgow would not be able to see her. Defendants do not dispute this fact. Defendants admit that Glasgow was in a meeting with Greg DeBord, the First Assistant State's Attorney and canceled Plaintiff's meeting. On February 17, 2006, Plaintiff filed a grievance.

Next, Plaintiff alleges that in March 2006 Glasgow directed Jevitz to "write up" Plaintiff based on his belief that she had disobeyed a direct order to attend the seminar. Plaintiff denies that she was ever given a direct order to attend the training seminar, a fact which Defendants contest. On April 5, 2006, Plaintiff informed Glasgow and Jevitz by certified mail that she had not been ordered to attend training in Chicago and that she believed that she was being attacked because of the grievance she filed related to the personal time, and that she would be filing a lawsuit. On April 18, 2005, Plaintiff filed a Discrimination and Harassment Complaint with Will County asserting that Jevitz had discriminated against her based on her race. The May 10, 2006 answer to Plaintiff's complaint stated that the grievance was attributed to a communication issue.

Plaintiff claims that in response to the filing of her grievances she was retaliated against. First, Plaintiff states that in the summer of 2006, Plaintiff was having lunch with six to eight other secretaries in a restaurant. Jevitz walked into a restaurant and greeted everyone at the table, including another black secretary, but did not greet Plaintiff. Next, ...


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