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Leslie M. Shankle v. Village of Melrose Park

April 30, 2013

LESLIE M. SHANKLE, PLAINTIFF,
v.
VILLAGE OF MELROSE PARK, ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Thomas M. Durkin

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Leslie Shankle works for the Village of Melrose Park (the "Village") Police Department ("Police Department"). Shankle sued the Village and four supervisors-Police Chief Sam Pitassi, Sergeant Mark Rieger, Lieutenant Steve Rogowski, and Lieutenant Michael Sarni-alleging discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation related to her gender in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. Shankle also alleges that Defendants violated her civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 by denying her due process and equal protection. Presently before the Court is Defendants' partial motion to dismiss and strike Shankle's complaint. R. 10. For the reasons explained below, Defendants' motion is granted in part and denied in part.

Background*fn1

Shankle began working for the Police Department full time in 1999. Previously, Shankle served four years in the United States Navy. She is currently a police officer assigned patrol duties. The Police Department employs approximately 75 officers. Shankle is the only female and the only openly gay officer. At some point, one other woman graduated from the academy and tried to join the Police Department; she was not hired or allowed to engage in field training.

Sometime in 2011, the Police Department slotted Shankle in fourth place on its promotion list. She has more time and/or education than males placed above her and is supposed to gain additional points for military service. Separately, Shankle sought an Evidence Technician position but was denied. Defendants also denied Shankle opportunities to enroll in other certification courses. In each case, Shankle alleges that she was discriminated against because of her gender.

On August 9, 2011, Shankle filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. Shankle's EEOC charge alleged that:

I was hired by Respondent on or about March 1, 1999. My most current position is Police Officer. During my employment, I have been passed over for promotion, whereas less qualified, male employees have not. I have been denied training.

I believe I have been discriminated against because of my sex, female, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.

R. 11-1.*fn2

After Shankle filed her EEOC charge, the Police Department froze all promotions. It was made known that the freeze was because of Shankle. Pitassi and Sarni subsequently disciplined Shankle for allegedly missing a traffic court date and improperly operating her personal vehicle. For each event, Shankle was suspended one day without pay. The Village, Pitassi, and Sarni all either denied or discouraged Shankle's requests to appeal those determinations.

Although she was twice suspended without pay, Shankle alleges that male officers escaped discipline for more egregious behavior:

● An officer left his keys in a marked police car, which was then stolen and not reported until the Illinois State Police notified the Police Department that one of its cars was traveling at a high rate of speed on an expressway.

● An officer negligently discharged his weapon, striking and damaging his car, and then tried to hide the damage by using car parts retrieved from a junk yard.

● Officers improperly removed shell casings from a crime scene. ● Two officers, while drunk, stole, destroyed, and hid a golf cart. ● An officer was involved in a hit-and-run accident with a pedestrian. ● In a dispute with a prostitute, an officer made a 911 call to enlist the assistance of other officers to force the prostitute to return $100. ● To help a friend, an officer filed a false police report claiming that a car accident had occurred in the Village, when it happened elsewhere.

On or about October 31, 2011, Shankle amended her EEOC charge to allege retaliation. The amended ...


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