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Anderson v. Chicago Transit Authority

January 22, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr.


Plaintiff Jerry Anderson claims that he was discriminated against on the basis of his race when the Defendant, the Chicago Transit Authority, failed to promote him to Bus Maintenance Manager II from 2005 to 2008. He also claims that the failure to promote him was retaliation for prior EEOC activity and that Defendant transferred him to less desirable work facilities in retaliation for this EEOC activity. Defendant has filed a summary judgment motion [28] on all of Anderson's claims. For the following reasons, the Court grants in part and denies in part Defendant's motion [28].

I. Background

Plaintiff Jerry Anderson, an African-American male, has been employed by the Chicago Transit Authority ("CTA") since November 1985 and has been a Bus Garage Maintenance Manager ("BMM I") for over six years. At the time that Anderson began his employment with the CTA, he had an associates degree in transportation and auto/diesel technology. During his tenure at the CTA, Anderson earned a Bachelor of Arts in telecommunications management as well as a Masters in Business. He also has computer certifications as a Cisco Network Associate and as a Microsoft-Certified Professional. Since the CTA hired Anderson in November 1985 as a part-time bus servicer, the CTA has promoted Anderson five times: to full-time bus servicer in January 1986; to bus repairman in March 1987; to bus maintenance foreman in February 1989; to bus maintenance pool manager in September 1999; and to BMM I in August 2002.

A. Failure to Promote

Since 2005, Anderson has been applying for a promotion to Bus Garage Maintenance Manager II ("BMM II"). The CTA employs ten BMM IIs -- one at each of the eight bus garages, one at the South Shops location, and one in Quality Control. BMM IIs are responsible for planning, supervising, and coordinating vehicle maintenance programs and activities. The education requirement for the BMM II position, as listed in the posting for the position, is "Bachelor's Degree or a combination of education and experience relating to areas of responsibility." Anderson applied or interviewed for the BMM II positions that were posted by the CTA on January 18, 2005, July 21, 2006, and January 19, 2007, but was turned down each time.

The stated process followed by the CTA in considering candidates for promotion to the BMM II position was as follows: (1) Dennis Milicevic, General Manager of Bus Operations, identified vacancies and communicated with William Mooney, Vice President of Bus Operations, regarding whether to post the position; (2) as requested by Mooney, the Human Resources department ("HR") posted the positions internally and externally for approximately two weeks; (3) an HR recruiter collected the internal and external applications and resumes; (4) the recruiter provided Milicevic with the applications and resumes after the posting closed; (5) Milicevic reviewed the applications and resumes and determined which candidates were best qualified to be interviewed according to a set of criteria provided by Mooney; (6) the candidates considered best qualified according to the set criteria were invited to interview for the position; (7) Milicevic would confirm a representative number of general managers to interview; (8) Milicevic would work with the general managers to develop questions for the interviews; (9) candidates were interviewed individually by the panel of general managers; (10) each candidate was asked the same questions; (11) each interviewer individually graded each candidate's answers; (12) the grades given each candidate by each interviewer for each of the interview questions were totaled and then the grades each candidate received from all interviewers were averaged; (13) Milicevic reviewed this information with Mooney; and (14) the candidates with the highest scores from the interviews were offered a promotion to BMM II, as approved by Mooney. In addition to the foregoing, for the July 21, 2006 posting, the candidates were required to have either a four-year post-secondary degree or a plan to work toward one.*fn1 When Ron Huberman became CTA president on May 1, 2007, Huberman rescinded the educational directive, and BMM IIs promoted after that date did not have to meet that educational requirement.

While Anderson admits that the preceding is the CTA's "stated" procedure, he contends that this procedure was not followed by the CTA for him. Anderson contends that (i) Milicevic failed to give Anderson the proper number of points when determining whom to interview; (ii) the scores on Anderson's interview sheet were changed; and (iii) Anderson was given a low score by one interviewer who was not even in the room for two of the questions asked.

With respect to the January 2005 BMM II posting, Anderson filed a timely application, which was considered. According to the CTA, due to a clerical error, Anderson's Maintenance Manager Pool experience was not counted in determining whether he had the requisite five years of manager experience to be interviewed for the January 2005 posting. The CTA interviewed Todd Horbach and Gary March, who are both Caucasians and who were both in the Pool Managers Program with Anderson in September 1999, but the CTA did not interview Anderson. John Murphy (Caucasian), Randal Meyer (Caucasian), and Gary March (Caucasian) were promoted from the January 2005 posting. According to Anderson, in June 2005, he met with Mooney to discuss why he had been passed over for the January 2005 promotion. After reviewing his resume, Anderson alleges that Mooney told him that not many African Americans had accomplished what he had and that these accomplishments may be his "Achilles heel." Mooney denies making this statement.

On August 16, 2006, Anderson read an e-mail from Dennis Milicevic to Terrence Muellner, which voiced Milicevic's disappointment that a number of BMM Is had not applied for the July 21, 2006 BMM II posting and specifically stated "can anybody tell me why we have not heard from Anderson." Anderson claims he applied online prior to the August 3 deadline and then again after reading Milicevic's e-mail. According to Anderson, he had been assured by HR that applying online was the best way to apply. Defendant contends that Anderson did not apply online prior to the August 3 deadline, but concedes that he did apply online on August 19, after the deadline. Anderson also claims that he followed up by sending an e-mail to Milicevic on August 18, 2006, indicating that he had applied online and expressing his continued interest in the position. HR recruiter Chawn Jackson informed Milicevic that she had checked the online applications on August 18, 2006, and that Anderson had not applied online. In any event, Milicevic was aware that Anderson either had applied or intended to apply for the July 2006 posting, and Milicevic told Jackson that he would have Anderson submit a late application. According to the CTA, Jackson inadvertently missed Anderson's application because she did not check the online applications for the position after August 18, despite Milicevic's comment that he would accept Anderson's late application. Anderson was not considered or interviewed for this position, although a CTA representative testified that the CTA could consider late applicants and had done so in the past. John Ward (Caucasian), Chris Chaney (African American), and Michael Griswold (African American) were promoted from the 2006 BMM II posting. According to Anderson, at the time Ward was promoted, he did not have a Bachelor's degree, although he was expected to continue his education until he received one.

In evaluating candidates for the January 19, 2007 posting, the CTA dropped the requirement that a candidate have a maximum of five years of BMM I experience. Anderson was interviewed from the January 2007 posting. The CTA maintains that because he ranked eleventh out of seventeen interviewees for the January 2007 posting, Anderson was not recommended for the position. Anderson claims that the interview scores for him and Arthur Laski, a Caucasian, were changed after the interview, and that Anderson was given a low score for two questions by one interviewer who left the room while he was answering those two questions. Arthur Laski (Caucasian), John Malatesta, Jr. (Caucasian), and Jeff Jurek (Caucasian) were promoted from the January 2007 BMM II posting. Laski neither possessed a college degree nor was enrolled in college at the time he was promoted. According to Anderson, Laski wrote on his resume that his projected date to get a bachelor of business administration degree from Strayer University was 2011, yet Laski has not even enrolled in that college. Jeanette Martin, one of the interviewers for the January 2007 posting, stated during her deposition that if she had known that Laski was not enrolled yet, she would have deemed his representation on his resume to be a "falsification" and a "serious matter." Mooney testified that Milicevic did not inform him that Laski was not enrolled at Strayer and that he would have considered this fact before approving Laski's promotion. Anderson had worked at the CTA for seven years longer than Laski and had more experience as a manager than Laski.

Following a restructuring of the CTA's Maintenance Operations in January 2008, three more BMM Is (two Hispanics and one African American) were promoted to BMM IIs. All three BMM Is promoted previously had performed as Acting BMM IIs, while Anderson had not. For these promotions, the openings were not posted. Terrance Muellner, the CTA's Chief Mechanical Officer, chose not to go through the four to six month posting and interview process because he needed to make promotions quickly to meet the "Maintenance Operations Performance Management" goals set by the CTA President. At the time the promotions were made, Muellner did not know that Anderson had filed an EEOC charge.

Chris Chaney, one of Anderson's supervisors, testified that he felt Anderson was qualified to be a BMM II. Chaney testified that Anderson was a "performer" at Chaney's location, but also stated, "I understood * * * through my conversations with him that his performance may have been called into question at other locations; and when we talked about that I think it wasn't a result of his inability to do it more than maybe his attitude about being passed over and just not being motivated to really perform at the level that he could." During the time Anderson worked with Chaney, he created computer-generated ...

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