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Ellis v. City of Chicago

January 20, 2010

JANICE ELLIS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, ET. AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable David H. Coar

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Janice Ellis ("Plaintiff") brought this action against Defendants City of Chicago and Michelle Dicola ("Defendants"), alleging discriminatory employment practices under the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, the Civil Rights Act of 1871, 42 U.S.C. § 1983, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e-2000h-6. Before this Court is Defendant's motion to dismiss all counts of Plaintiffs' First Amended Complaint, pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). For the reasons stated below, the motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

I. Background

Defendant City of Chicago hired Plaintiff, an African-American woman, as a full-time employee on or about December 21, 1993. Plaintiff became a Traffic Control Aide on or about June 16, 2000. Defendant DiCola became Plaintiff's supervisor on November 1, 2007. Plaintiff alleges that the number of write-ups and suspensions since DiCola became superintendent are inconsistent with Plaintiff's prior work history.

On August 14, 2008, Plaintiff was issue a warning for a missed post check and failure to notify the dispatcher upon leaving the post. Allegedly, other non-black Traffic Control Aides were not subjected to written warnings in similar situations.

On September 11, 2008, Plaintiff wrote a letter to the Director of Traffic Control Aides expressing concern over unfair working conditions related to her "floater" status during roll call. She would later receive counseling through the city of Chicago Employee Assistance Program due to continuing stress and harassment at work, as well as medical attention for physical and stress related issues.

On December 10, 2008, Plaintiff was written up for allegedly arriving late, failure to give proper notification that she needed to be off post, and failure to follow procedure for taking "personals." Plaintiff was suspended for two calendar days. On December 17, 2008, Plaintiff was singled out and written up for a lost uniform hat. Other non-black Traffic Control Aides were allegedly not singled out in the same way.

On February 26, 2009, Plaintiff Ellis timely filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. She received her right to sue notice on the same day. Plaintiff would file her original pro se complaint on May 12, 2009.

On April 16, 2009, two black Traffic Control Aides were written up for arriving late to roll call. A non-black Aide, Patrick Ashe, also arrived late but was not written up.

On or about April 21, 2009, Plaintiff was written up for allegedly failing to report to her assigned post on time and was suspended three calendar days. Two other non-black Aides arrived late at their posts that day, but were not written up or suspended. On May 5, 2009, Plaintiff was written up for allegedly failing to report to her assigned post on time and was suspended for three calendar days. On May 20, 2009, Plaintiff was written up for allegedly failing to report to her post on time. She was suspended for five days.

On or about June 17, 2009, Plaintiff received notice that she was laid off even though she was higher on the seniority list than other non-black Aides who were not laid off. Plaintiff was informed that her suspensions had moved her down the seniority list. Plaintiff allegedly requested and was denied administrative leave. Plaintiff was reinstated as a Traffic Control Aide on or about June 18.

On August 28, 2009, two non-black Traffic control Aides allegedly left work early and did not radio in as required. They were not written up.

On September 8, 2009, Plaintiff was certified as having a serious health condition under the Family Medical Leave Act and was instructed by her doctor that she would need 2-3 days off per month due in part to stress-related symptoms.

Plaintiff alleges that she continues to be written up, radio called, and suspended repeatedly for alleged violations of city rules, while similarly situation non-black employees are not. She alleges that her race and color are motivating factors for her suspensions, and that Defendants ...


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