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Thomas L. Sendra, Sr v. John E. Potter

June 9, 2011

THOMAS L. SENDRA, SR., PLAINTIFF,
v.
JOHN E. POTTER, POSTMASTER GENERAL, UNITED
STATES POSTAL SERVICE, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Virginia M. Kendall

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Thomas L. Sendra, Sr. ("Sendra"), a white male veteran, sued John E. Potter, Postmaster General of the United States Postal Service ("Postal Service"), alleging that the Postal Service violated Title VII and discriminated against him based on race and color when it failed to hire him for a laborer custodial position. The Postal Service moves for summary judgment. For the following reasons, the Court grants the Postal Service's Motion for Summary Judgment.

STATEMENT OF UNDISPUTED FACTS*fn1 Local Rule 56.1 provides that "[a]ll material facts set forth in the statement required of the moving party will be deemed admitted unless controverted by the statement of the opposing party."

L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(C). As the moving party, the Postal Service submitted material facts supported by citations to portions of the record and affidavits, as Rule 56.1(a) requires. Sendra, however, made no Rule 56.1 submissions either disputing the Postal Service's 56.1 statements or presenting additional material facts of his own. Under Rule 56.1, the Court deems admitted all of the Postal Service's facts. L.R. 56.1(b)(3)(C). Moreover, the Court's review of Sendra's claim will be confined to the facts set forth in the Postal Service's Rule 56.1 statements. See Koszola v. Bd. of Educ. of City of Chicago, 385 F.3d 1104, 1108-09 (7th Cir. 2004); see Metro. Life Ins. Co. v. Johnson, 297 F.3d 558, 562 (7th Cir. 2002) (Seventh Circuit has "consistently and repeatedly upheld a district court's discretion to require strict compliance with its local rules governing summary judgment.").

I. Application Process

On October 7, 2007, the Postal Service issued a hiring worksheet for a laborer custodial position at the Hazel Crest Post Office in Hazel Crest, Illinois. (P.S. ¶ 1.) Postal Service regulations restricted certain positions, including the laborer custodial position, to those who qualified for a veteran preference under the Veteran's Preference Act of 1944. (Id. ¶ 2.) This restriction did not apply if the Postal Service filled the position through internal career placements, including promotion, reassignment, or changes to a lower employment level. (Id.)

At first, the Postal Service advertised this opening to veterans only, not internally to non-veterans. (Id. ¶ 3.) Sendra, a white male veteran, saw the opening and was interested in the position. (Id.) Even before this position became available, however, Sendra had qualified for placement on a list for future employment consideration. (Id.) Placement on this register made veterans such as Sendra eligible to apply for open positions with the Postal Service, but did not automatically mean they were qualified for all positions. (Id.)

The Postal Service sent Sendra a letter indicating that he had until October 23, 2007 to contact Postmaster Beverly Greene, a black female, to set up an interview. (Id. ¶ 4.) This letter noted that Sendra must "meet all suitability requirements prior to selection," including successfully passing a drug test and criminal background check. (Id.) According to Sendra's EEO Investigative Affidavit, Postmaster Greene told him that he would be hired for the position "as long as [his] background check came back ok." (Id. ¶ 19.)

Sendra interviewed with Postmaster Greene and completed the drug test on October 17, 2007. (Id. ¶ 5.) On October 24, 2007, Sendra submitted his employment application, had his fingerprints taken, and submitted the necessary paperwork for the background check. (Id.) At this time Postmaster Greene again told Sendra that he would have to pass the drug test and background check to qualify for the position. (Id.)

II. Background Check

On November 6, 2007, Sheelah White, a Postal Service Human Resources Specialist, submitted four background searches for Sendra: County Criminal, Statewide Criminal, Kwikscreen (GIS Criminal Conviction Database), and Name and Address History. (Id. ¶ 6.) The background report came back to the Postal Service on November 13, 2007 with a grade of "Review" and "Supplement pending," which meant that the Statewide Criminal report was not complete. (Id.) The Postal Service then submitted this background search again on November 21, 2007, and on November 29, 2007, it came back again with a grade of "Review" and "Supplement pending." (Id.¶ 7.) The Postal Service resubmitted the background check request one more time, but by January 2008 it was still pending. (Id. ¶8.)

While his background check was pending, Sendra contacted Postmaster Greene multiple times to check on the status of his application. (Id. ¶ 9.) Following each call Postmaster Greene checked with human resources about the progress of the background check and each time human resources told her that it was still pending. (Id.) Sendra told Postmaster Greene that there was nothing on his criminal record that could be causing the delay. (Id. ¶ 10.)

Under Postal Service regulations, there was a 21-day window, which began on October 24, 2007 when Sendra submitted the application, for completing the hiring process. (Id. ΒΆ 11.) On December 19, 2007, after this time period had long since expired, Geraldine Diaz, a human resources specialist, instructed Postmaster Greene to close out the hiring process as soon as possible. (Id.) A short time ...


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