Name of Assigned Judge Sitting Judge if Other or Magistrate Judge John A. Nordberg than Assigned Judge
Defendant's motion for summary judgment  is granted.
O[ For further details see text below.] Docketing to mail notices.
Introduction. This is a gender discrimination lawsuit brought by a current employee of defendant United Parcel Service, Inc. ("UPS"). Gloria Macias began working for UPS in 1987. She was hired as an administrative employee, and then became a package car driver in 1990 and then was promoted to supervisor in various departments, such as human resources. In February 2006, Macias moved from the company's Chicago office to the company's Northbrook facility where she worked as an "on-road" supervisor. She was responsible for supervising and training tractor-trailer drivers. In October 2008, she moved back to Human Resources where she is still working as a full-time supervisor. This lawsuit focuses on the two-and-a-half year period when Macias worked in the Northbrook office as an on-road supervisor.
Plaintiff filed her complaint pro se. This Court later appointed counsel who filed an amended complaint asserting a single claim for gender discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42. U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq. The claim is broken down into the following four major allegations: (a) UPS failed to give Macias a merit increase in March 2007; (b) UPS failed to reimburse her for tuition payments; (c) UPS refused to award her a stock bonus later in 2007; and (d) UPS exposed her to an abusive work environment in which she was (among other things) given wrong directions to accounts, excluded from "male only" meetings, given a larger work load, and required to work longer and later hours. (Am. Cmplt. ¶ 13.a-d.)
Summary of Arguments. Now before the Court is UPS's motion for summary judgment. In its opening brief, UPS takes plaintiff's four allegations and reduces them to three by combining the two pay claims (subpart (a) and (c)) into one allegation for purposes of analysis. UPS then argues why each of the three major allegations is insufficient to survive summary judgment.
First, UPS argues that plaintiff did not receive the two bonuses in 2007 because she failed to "pull a load" on February 6, 2007 when asked by her supervisor. On that day, plaintiff came to work and was asked to conduct an annual safety ride with a driver going to and from Kalamazoo, Michigan. UPS supervisors are required to conduct a safety ride once a year in which they have to drive a trailer (known as "pulling a load") for at least one hour. Plaintiff told her supervisor Russell Kess that she could not drive because she was not road worthy. She had worked 15 hours the previous day and, although she had the required 12 hours off, she spent the time dealing with a car problem and thus was unable to get enough sleep. She also said she was recovering from strep throat. Kess offered to let her drive a shorter route to Rockford, Illinois but plaintiff still felt it would be unsafe. Eventually Kess told her to go home because she came to work unprepared. UPS claims that plaintiff was denied the two bonus payments because of her refusal to pull a load on February 6th, and that it was not because UPS was trying to discriminate against women.
Second, UPS argues that it denied plaintiff's tuition reimbursement request based on a neutral company-wide policy. In 2006, UPS established a lifetime $25,000 cap on tuition reimbursement for each employee. Because UPS had previously paid plaintiff $34,971.14 in tuition reimbursements, it denied her request for the additional two courses she was taking. Again, UPS claims that its decision was based on legitimate business reasons and not on gender bias.
Third, UPS argues that plaintiff's hostile environment claim fails because the list of alleged discriminatory acts and comments do not collectively meet the severe or pervasive standard for a Title VII claim. UPS in its opening brief specifically addresses each of the specific incidents and comments and argues that they are either time-barred, ambiguous, inconsequential, or unsupported by the evidence.
Plaintiff in her response brief begins by identifying what she believes is "her most explicit manifestation of discrimination; to wit, unequal pay." (Resp. at 2.) In making this argument, plaintiff seems to be making a broader claim than simply complaining about the failure to pay the two bonuses in 2007. (She also adds a separate legal theory, asserting a claim under the Equal Pay Act in addition to Title VII.) Plaintiff's unequal pay argument relies primarily on a table comparing her 2007 and 2008 salary with those of four male supervisors who were also Grade 14 employees. Plaintiff particularly complains about her pay in relation to Stephen Godawa and Davis Moreno who both worked in the Northbrook office with plaintiff. In 2007, plaintiff made $63,153 while Moreno made $71,286 and Godawa made $88,777. Plaintiff believes she was preforming the same work as these men, and even had higher educational degrees than they did. What is unclear in her argument is whether the pay differential for 2007 would be accounted for if plaintiff had received the two discretionary bonuses or whether the difference relates to earlier pay decisions going back well before 2007.
As for the February 6th incident, plaintiff believes it is a pretext to cover up the real motive of gender discrimination. She offers two reasons why she believes this is true. First, if the incident was considered important, UPS should have given her "a Memo or written reprimand from either her immediate supervisor or the district managers concerning the incident." (Pl. Resp. Br. at 7.) Second, UPS has a rating system known as Quality Performance Reviews and her QPR score was the same as, or close to the same as, Moreno and Godawa for year 2007.
The tuition reimbursement allegation is not addressed in plaintiff's response brief. The only reference to it is one mention on page 11 of her brief, but she does not make any attempt to explain why this facially neutral policy was discriminatory. She has not pointed to any other employee who received tuition after exceeding the cap, nor has she pointed to any ...