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Jackie Hayes v. Tate & Lyle Americas LLC

June 18, 2012

JACKIE HAYES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
TATE & LYLE AMERICAS LLC, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael P. McCUSKEY U.S. District Judge

E-FILED Monday, 18 June, 2012 04:49:35 PM Clerk, U.S. District Court, ILCD

OPINION

This case is before the court for ruling on the Motion for Summary Judgment (#20) filed by Defendant Tate & Lyle Americas, LLC ("Tate & Lyle"). This court has carefully reviewed Defendant's arguments and supporting documents. Following this careful and thorough review, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (#20) is GRANTED.

PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

On August 31, 2010, Plaintiff, Jackie Hayes, filed his Complaint (#1). Plaintiff's Complaint (#1) alleged that Defendant terminated him: (1) on the basis of his race in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a); and (2) in retaliation for protected activity in violation of

42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3. On March 2, 2012, Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment (#20). Defendant's Motion listed forty-four undisputed material facts and argued that it was entitled to summary judgment because: (1) Plaintiff was not terminated on the basis of his race, but rather for unacceptable attendance; and (2) Plaintiff was not terminated in retaliation for protected activity, but rather for unacceptable attendance. On March 5, 2012, a Notice (#21) was sent to Plaintiff. The Notice stated:

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that a case-dispositive motion (such as a motion for summary judgment or motion for judgment on the pleadings) has been filed. See Fed.R.Civ.P.12(b)(6), Fed.R.Civ.P.56; Fed.R.Civ.P12(c),. Please be advised that you have twenty-one (21) days from the date of filing to respond to the motion. If you do not respond, the motion, if appropriate, will be granted and the case will be terminated without a trial. See, generally, Lewis v. Faulkner, 689 F. 2d 100 (7th Cir. 1982); Timms v. Frank, 953 F. 2d 281 (7th Cir. 1992). Under the court's local rules, a motion is deemed to be uncontested if no opposing brief is filed. See L.R. CDIL 7.1(D)(2).

When a motion for summary judgment is made and properly supported, you must not simply rely upon the allegations made in your complaint. Rather, you must respond by affidavit(s) or as otherwise provided in Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a copy of which is attached. Your response must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue of material fact for trial. If you do not submit affidavits or other documentary evidence contradicting the defendants' assertions, the defendants' statement of facts will be accepted as true for purposes of summary judgment. See Fed. R. Civ. P 56(e) and L.R. 7.1(attached).

Additionally, a copy of Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and a copy of Local Rule 7.1 was attached to the Notice sent to Plaintiff. On March 26, 2012, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Extension of Time to File a Response (#22), which was granted by this court on March 27, 2012. Plaintiff did not file a response by the deadline of April 16, 2012. On April 18, 2012, Defendant filed a Reply (#24) in support of its Motion for Summary Judgment (#20).

Plaintiff, in the two months following the deadline for his response, has still not filed a response or any other document with this court. Defendant provided documentary support for the undisputed facts listed in its Motion for Summary Judgment (#20). Plaintiff has not responded to Defendant's statement of undisputed facts. Therefore, Plaintiff has conceded Defendant's version of the facts. See Waldridge, 24 F.3d at 922; Stoltey v. Brown, 2007 WL 2681198, at *4 (C.D. Ill. 2007), aff'd 283 Fed. Appx. 402 (7th Cir. 2008); Columbia Pictures, Indus., Inc. v. Landa, 974 F. Supp. 1, 3-4 (C.D. Ill. 1997). Even though Plaintiff did not respond to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (#20), this court must make the further finding that summary judgment is proper as a matter of law. LaSalle Bank Lake View v. Seguban, 54 F.3d 387, 392 (7th Cir. 1995); Stoltey, 2007 WL 2681198, at *4.

FACTS*fn1

Plaintiff was employed by Defendant as a Helpdesk Specialist at its corporate office in Decatur, Illinois, from May 29, 2001 until May 28, 2008. On May 24, 2004, Plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination against Defendant-the facts relating to this charge are unrelated to the remaining events in this case, with the exception of constituting the protected activity which Plaintiff alleges led to retaliation in the form of his termination in 2008.

Defendant considers attendance to be crucial to the success of its Helpdesk function. In late 2006, Defendant's Manager of IT Governance, Timothy J. Luallen ("Luallen") became concerned about the attendance of his Helpdesk staff. Luallen directed Jim Slade ("Slade"), the Helpdesk supervisor, to monitor attendance issues for all Helpdesk staff. Slade complied with this request and provided regular records of attendance to Luallen during 2007 and 2008. Slade reported to Luallen that Plaintiff missed his shift on June 20, 2007, and failed to advise him that he would be absent. As a result, Luallen sent Plaintiff an email on June 22, 2007, explaining that Plaintiff's conduct was unacceptable and that future violations of attendance expectations would potentially subject him to termination of employment.*fn2 In July 2007, Luallen met with all Helpdesk staff to discuss attendance expectations and the need to improve attendance. In September 2007, Luallen reminded all Helpdesk staff that personal appointments should not interfere with work obligations.

On January 10, 2008, Luallen informed Plaintiff that he needed to make immediate improvement with his attendance, explaining to Plaintiff that he had approximately 18 absence issues over the past two months. On January 20, 2008, Vice-President of Human Resources, Mary Matiya, reminded Plaintiff that continued attendance violations would potentially result in termination. From February 19, 2008 until April 21, 2008, Plaintiff was on approved Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA") leave. During the first four months of 2008, Plaintiff had over four times the number of attendance related issues than any other Helpdesk staff.*fn3 On May 3, 2008, and May 4, 2008, Plaintiff failed to show up to work. On May 5, 2008, Luallen suspended Plaintiff for his failure to work on the previous two days. Thereafter, Luallen discussed Plaintiff's situation with Jennifer DiMauro ("DiMauro"), Defendant's Director of Talent Management. Luallen and DiMauro decided to terminate Plaintiff's employment based on his ongoing attendance ...


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