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Klean v. Board of Education of Proviso Township School District 209

September 17, 2010

MICHAEL KLEAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF PROVISO TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT 209, PROVISO TOWNSHIP DISTRICT #209 AND EMMANUEL CHRISTOPHER WELCH, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Ronald A. Guzmán

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff has sued defendants Proviso Township School District No. 209 ("District"), its Board of Directors ("Board") and Board Member Welch for their alleged violations of Plaintiff has sued them for violating Title VII and 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983. Defendants have filed a motion pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants in part and denies in part the motion.

Facts*fn1 The District is comprised of Proviso East High School, Proviso West High School and Proviso Math and Science Academy ("PMSA"). (Pl.'s Resp. Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 2.) From 2000-2002, plaintiff, who is white, was the security manager for Proviso West, a school with a racially diverse student body. (Id. ¶ 3; id., Ex. A, Pl.'s Decl. [Pl.'s Decl.] ¶ 7.)

In 2002, Welch was elected to the Board. (Pl.'s Decl. ¶ 9.) Thereafter, plaintiff was transferred from Proviso West to Proviso East, which has a predominantly African-American student body, and Ronald Hopkins, who was the security manager for Proviso East, was transferred to Proviso West. (Id.) The principal of Proviso East told plaintiff that Welch arranged the swap to keep Hopkins, who campaigned for Welch, from being fired. (Id.) Then-Superintendent William Krause told plaintiff that he had been transferred to Proviso East because he opposed the current Board members' election. (Id. ¶ 10.)

After Welch became a Board member, he told plaintiff to cut the hours of white security officers and hire more African Americans. (Id. ¶¶ 28-29.) Krause also told plaintiff to reduce the number of white officers and to keep track of the security officers' hours by race. (Id. ¶ 30.)

In 2005, Welch ran for re-election and again told plaintiff he had to work on the campaign to protect his job. (Id. ¶ 19.) Welch also told plaintiff he had to sell tickets to Welch's "birthday parties" or buy the tickets himself and that plaintiff's subordinates would lose their jobs if they did not do so as well. (Id. ¶¶ 20, 23.) During the campaign, plaintiff told Welch that the African-American security managers were getting better treatment. (Id. ¶ 26.) Welch's response was that he would protect plaintiff's job if plaintiff continued to do political work. (Id.)

At some point in 2005, plaintiff told Welch that he did not want to sell tickets anymore, could not afford to buy tickets himself and could no longer do campaign work on weekends. (Id. ¶ 23.) Welch said he could not protect plaintiff's job if he did not "step[ ] up." (Id.)

In 2005, the District opened PMSA and created a security manager position for the school. (Pl.'s Resp. Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 21.) In 2006, plaintiff was given that position, and Robert Taylor, an African American who had been assistant security manager at Proviso East, became that the security manager for Proviso East. (Pl.'s Decl. ¶ 11; Pl.'s Stmt. Add'l Facts ¶ 29.) PMSA Principal Andrew Johnson told plaintiff that he had been transferred to the school because he was white. (Pl.'s Decl. ¶ 12.)

PMSA does not have its own athletic program. (Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt., Ex. D, Gale Dep. at 81.) When plaintiff was security manager at PMSA, he was asked to go to the other schools to help out at sporting events. (Pl.'s Resp. Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 22.) The other security managers did not help out at PMSA. (Pl.'s Decl. ¶ 16.)

In October 2006, plaintiff applied to be the District's director of security. (Pl.'s Resp. Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 8.) The job was awarded to Brandon Gale, who is African American. (Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt., Ex. L, Board Action Items.)

In the fall of 2006, the District's security department had four managers: (1) Gale, who was Director of Security; (2) Luther Curtis, an African American who was the security manager for Proviso West; (3) Taylor, who was security manager for Proviso East; and (4) plaintiff, who was security manager for PMSA. (Pl.'s Resp. Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 18.)

In 2007, the District had a $14 million deficit. (Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 23.*fn2 ) To address the problem the District eliminated, among others, the director of security position. (Pl.'s Resp. Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 24.) Gale became the PMSA security manager, though his salary was not decreased, and plaintiff was demoted from security manager to security officer. (Pl.'s Stmt. Add'l Facts ¶ 24; Pl.'s Resp. Defs.' LR 56.1 Stmt., Ex. F, Gale Dep. at 68-69.) Taylor and Curtis remained as the security managers for Proviso East and West, respectively. (Id.*fn3 ) Gale, Taylor and Curtis all did campaign work for Welch. (Pl.'s Stmt. Add'l Facts ¶¶ 5-6.)

Discussion

To prevail on a summary judgment motion, "the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits [must] show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). At this stage, we do not weigh evidence or determine the truth of the matters asserted. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249 (1986). We view all evidence and draw all inferences in favor of the non-moving party. Michas v. Health Cost Controls of Ill., Inc., 209 F.3d 687, 692 (7th Cir. ...


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