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Campbell v. Adventist Health System

October 8, 2010

DEANDRIA CAMPBELL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
ADVENTIST HEALTH SYSTEM, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Joan Humphrey Lefkow United States District Judge

OPINION AND ORDER

Judge Joan H. Lefkow

DeAndria Campbell filed suit against Adventist Health System*fn1 ("Adventist") alleging race discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e) et. seq.*fn2 Before the court is Adventist's motion to dismiss Campbell's race discrimination claim pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). For the following reasons, Adventist's motion [#8] is granted.

BACKGROUND

The following facts are taken from the complaint and are presumed true for the purpose of resolving the pending motions. Campbell, an African American female, was employed by Adventist at its Hinsdale Hospital location from March 8, 2006 until her termination on December 30, 2009. Campbell began working as a Data Entry Clerk at an hourly wage of $12.25 and received two pay increases in the course of her employment. On May 29, 2007, Campbell received a satisfactory performance evaluation and an increased hourly pay rate of $12.75, and on July 7, 2008, she received a second adequate performance evaluation and an increased hourly pay rate of $13.21.

Soon after, however, her evaluations changed. On July 8, 2009, Campbell became aware that Adventist Lab Manager Justin Jandritis had made disparaging remarks about her because of her race. She reported Jandritis's conduct to multiple Adventist employees, including Outreach Manager Jane Johnson, Team Lead Natalie Angion, and Jandritis, but Adventist took the position that her complaint had no merit. Campbell claims that Jandritis then retaliated against her for complaining of race discrimination. On July 29, 2009, Jandritis placed Campbell on probation and gave her a work improvement plan. He asserted that Campbell was not performing satisfactorily since she used the work telephone and Internet for personal use during work hours, lacked focus on the job, made errors in her registration duties, and did not maintain an appropriate workload. Jandritis also disciplined Campbell on August 18, 2009 because of an alleged registration error.

As a result of this discrimination and retaliation, Campbell experienced increased anxiety such that she consulted her personal physician, who on September 18, 2009 prescribed medication and advised her to take medical leave from work. Adventist placed her on leave for one month under the Family Medical Leave Act. On October 1, 2009, Campbell saw her physician a second time and was given permission to return to work on a part-time basis since her condition had improved. Campbell claims that upon her return to work she was held to the same productivity standards of a full-time employee and consequently received negative feedback regarding her work performance.

Campbell's medical condition worsened, and on November 2, 2009, her physician advised her not to return to work until her anxiety was under control. When she ultimately returned on or around December 10, 2009, Campbell claims that she was again held to expectations beyond her medical capacity. Campbell was then terminated on December 30, 2009 for allegedly making an increased number of errors in her registration duties.

Campbell filed her initial charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on July 30, 2009, alleging only retaliation.*fn3 The particulars of the charge stated:

I began my employment with Respondent on March 08, 2006. My current position is Data Entry Clerk. On July 13, 2009, I complained of a protected activity. On July 29, 2008 I was disciplined. I believe that I have been discriminated against for engaging in a protected activity in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.

Pl.'s Ex. A. She filed a second charge of discrimination with the EEOC on January 4, 2010, again alleging only retaliation. The particulars of the charge stated:

I began my employment with Respondent on or about March 8, 2006. My most recent position was Data Entry Clerk. On or about July 30, 2009, I filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC (Charge # 440-2009-06043). Subsequently, on or about December 30, 2009, I was discharged. I believe I have been retaliated against for engaging in a protected activity, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.

Pl.'s Ex. B. The EEOC issued a right to sue letter on January 25, ...


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