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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. University of Chicago

April 16, 2012

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION
v.
UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO MEDICAL CENTER



Name of Assigned Judge or Magistrate Judge Virginia M. Kendall Sitting Judge if Other than Assigned Judge

CASE TITLE

DOCKET ENTRY TEXT

For the reasons stated above, the Court grants the Order to Show Cause Why an Administrative Subpoena Should Not Be Enforced.

O[ For further details see text below.] Docketing to mail notices.

STATEMENT

Recently, one of the parties contacted the Court to determine the status of a pending motion in this matter and to determine if the parties were required to submit any further briefing. A review of the docket reflects that through some clerical error, the suit was inadvertently terminated on September 14, 2011. As such, the pending motion was removed from the list of pending motions that the Court relies on to file its rulings. Since the case was terminated, all motions in this case were erased from the Court's pending motions list --a list which numbers over 100 on any given day of the week -- and therefore the motion had never been addressed by the Court. Had the issue been brought to the Court's attention earlier, most certainly the Court would have addressed it before now. Parties, however, fear offending a busy district court judge by pestering her with the need for their rulings. Unfortunately here, that meant that the Court never even knew it was being dilatory. Regardless, the case is now back on the docket, the motion is now fully briefed and the Court has a ruling for the parties with an apology for having the motion slip through the cracks, and a direction not to be timid in the future and freely notify the Court of any motions pending more than three months.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission made an application for an Order to Show Cause Why an Administrative Subpoena Should Not Be Enforced. The EEOC describes their application as an action for enforcement of a subpoena issued to The University of Chicago Medical Center pursuant to Section 107(a) of the Americans with Disabilities Act. See 42 U.S.C. §12117(a). For the following reasons, the Court grants the Order to Show Cause Why an Administrative Subpoena Should Not Be Enforced.

BACKGROUND

The EEOC is currently investigating allegations of discrimination filed against the University of Chicago Medical Center ("UCMC"). These charges arise under the ADA, and include allegations of discrimination based on disability, race, age and retaliation. The EEOC states that its investigation to date has shown that UCMC may maintain a blanket leave policy under which employees are summarily discharged after 12 weeks of leave. Such a policy would violate the ADA. Based on that understanding, the EEOC issued a request for information on May 26, 2010. This request required UCMC to provide information to the EEOC by June 11, 2010. UCMC partially responded to the EEOC's request on July 12, 2010. UCMC expressed concerns about divulging confidential medical information in violation of HIPAA and its more restrictive Illinois law counterpart, IMHA. UCMC asked that the parties pressing charges with the EEOC execute releases of their medical files. On July 14, 2010, the EEOC issued the subpoena that is currently in controversy. This administrative subpoena requires UCMC to produce to the EEOC:

1. The complete medical files of the parties charging discrimination with the EEOC.

2. A document identifying all employees who were employed at any time from May 1, 2009, to the present, who have requested any type of absence due to a medical condition, at any time during their employment. For each individual, provide their: name, race, age, date of birth, position title(s), type of absence requested, reason for requested absence, beginning and anticipated ending date of absence, actual ending date of absence, date and reason for discharge (if applicable), current or last known home address(es) and all known telephone number(s).

3. For all employees who were employed at any time from May 1, 2009, to the present, all documentation of their requests to extend a leave of absence due to a medical condition.

(emphasis added). UCMC petitioned to modify the subpoena as overly broad. UCMC argued that the subpoena required documentation of employees who missed just one day of work, among other things. The EEOC denied UCMC's request on November 30, 2010. To date, UCMC states that it has complied with the first part of the subpoena by producing the requested medical files. It acknowledges that it has substantially complied with the second part of the subpoena by supplying a document identifying employees who requested medical absence during the relevant time period. And it claims that it has worked with the EEOC to narrow and answer the third part of the subpoena.

The present issue is whether UCMC must comply with the EEOC's subpoena by providing the balance of the information sought within the second request of the subpoena. Specifically, UCMC does not wish to disclose to the EEOC the contact information for two former employees. These two former employees, Susan Slaviero and Cynthia St. Aubin, were UCMC's Employee/Labor Relations Manager and UCMC's Director of the Recruitment and Nursing Career Center, respectively. Before St. Aubin became Director of the Recruitment and Nursing Career Center she was Director of the Nursing Career Center. In furtherance of Slaviero's role, she had conferences with in-house and outside counsel regarding UCMC's disability and leave policies and practices. In this ...


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