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Cackovic v. HRH Chicago, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

June 26, 2014

KADA CACKOVIC, Plaintiff,
v.
HRH CHICAGO, LLC, (d/b/a/HARD ROCK HOTEL) (a/k/a HRH MANAGEMENT (CHICAGO) LLC), an Illinois limited liability corporation, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

JOHN W. DARRAH, District Judge.

Plaintiff Kada Cackovic brings this action against her former employer, HRH Chicago, LLC, d/b/a Hard Rock Hotel ("HRH"), alleging disability and national origin discrimination, in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. (the "ADA") and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. ("Title VII"). HRH has moved for summary judgment on Plaintiff's Complaint, and the matter has been fully briefed.

LOCAL RULE 56.1

Local Rule 56.1 "is designed, in part, to aid the district court, which does not have the advantage of the parties' familiarity with the record and often cannot afford to spend the time combing the record to locate the relevant information, ' in determining whether trial is necessary." Delapaz v. Richardson, 634 F.3d 895, 899 (7th Cir. 2011) (internal citation omitted). Local Rule 56.1(a)(3) requires the party moving for summary judgment to provide "a statement of material facts as to which the moving party contends there is no genuine issue." Rule 56.1(b)(3) then requires the nonmoving party to admit or deny each factual statement proffered by the moving party and, in the case of any disagreement, to specifically reference the "affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied upon." See Schrott v. Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., 403 F.3d 940, 944 (7th Cir. 2005). Rule 56.1(b)(3)(C) further permits the nonmovant to submit additional statements of material facts that "require the denial of summary judgment."

A litigant's failure to dispute the facts set forth in its opponent's statement in the manner required by Local Rule 56.1 deems those facts admitted for purposes of summary judgment. Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 683 (7th Cir. 2003); see also Bordelon v. Chicago Sch. Reform Bd. of Trustees, 233 F.3d 524, 527 (7th Cir. 2000) (the district court has discretion to require strict compliance with its local rules governing summary judgment). Accordingly, to the extent that a response to a statement of material fact provides only extraneous or argumentative information, this response will not constitute a proper denial of the fact, and the fact is admitted. See Graziano v. Vill. of Oak Park, 401 F.Supp.2d 918, 937 (N.D. Ill. 2005). Similarly, to the extent that a statement of fact contains a legal conclusion or otherwise unsupported statement, including a fact that relies upon inadmissible hearsay, such a fact is disregarded. Eisenstadt v. Centel Corp., 113 F.3d 738, 742 (7th Cir. 1997).

BACKGROUND

Unless otherwise noted, the following facts are undisputed. Cackovic is a female citizen of the United States who resides in Chicago and who is originally from Bosnia. (Def's L.R. 56.1 Stmt. of Undisputed Material Facts ("SOF") ¶ 2.) HRH is an Illinois corporation that does business as the Hard Rock Hotel in Chicago. ( Id. ¶ 1.)

Cackovic's Employment at the Hard Rock Hotel

In 2008, Cackovic began working as a housekeeper at the Hard Rock Hotel, cleaning rooms on the morning shift. In 2010, she was transferred to the evening shift, from 3:00 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., because the morning shift was too demanding for her. ( Id. ¶ 7; Pl.'s Stmt. of Additional Facts ("PSAF") ¶ 3.) Cackovic was the only Bosnian on the evening shifts, although there were other Bosnians on the morning shift. (PSAF ¶ 1; see also Def.'s Resp. to PSAF ¶ 1.) Cackovic, along with other housekeepers, were given a half-hour lunch break and two 15-minute breaks. (SOF ¶ 8.) The housekeepers were not permitted to take breaks in the hotel guest rooms. ( Id. ¶ 11.)

In 2012, Cackovic's supervisor was Anetka Baker, who oversaw the housekeepers' breaks. ( Id. ¶ 9.) When it was busy at the hotel, Baker would determine when the housekeepers would take their break, and, when it was not as busy, the housekeepers would let Baker know when they were going to take their breaks. ( Id. ¶ 10; see also Pl.'s Resp. to SOF ¶ 9; see also SOF, Tab C, Cackovic Dep., p. 54 and Tab F, Baker Dep. p.17.) Cackovic testified first that she would tell Baker "every time" before she took a break, but then later testified that she did not tell Baker when she took an emergency break. (SOF ¶ 10; see also Pl.'s Resp. to SOF ¶ 10; SOF, Tab C, Cackovic Dep., p. 54 and 105-106.) Baker testified that sometimes, Cackovic would not tell her when she was taking a break. (Pl.'s Resp. to SOF ¶ 10.) Baker did not have the authority to suspend or terminate Cackovic. (SOF ¶ 71.)

In her deposition, Cackovic testified that Baker made negative comments to Cackovic and other Bosnian employees, including that Bosnians contaminate this country, take jobs away from Americans and African-Americans, and that it was difficult to communicate with them. (PSAF ¶¶ 4-5.) Cackovic testified that Baker kept a close eye on her and gave her so much work that Cackovic could not finish it all. (PSAF ¶ 8; Def's Resp. to PSAF ¶ 8.) Cackovic also testified that another Bosnian housekeeper named Dzemila could not stand Baker's disparaging remarks and treatment and "was forced to quit her job." (PSAF ¶ 7; SOF Tab C, Cackovic Dep. p. 81-82.) Cackovic complained about Baker to human resources. (PSAF ¶¶ 9-10; Def's Resp. to PSAF ¶¶ 9-10.) Cackovic further testified that an African-American housekeeper named Sabina would come to work, clean three rooms, stop working and spend the rest of her time talking with Baker and drinking coffee. (PSAF ¶ 11; Def's Resp. to PSAF ¶ 11; see also SOF, Tab C, Cackovic Dep. p. 84.)

Cackovic's Health Conditions

Cackovic first began seeing Dr. Milenko Lazarevic in 2006 and was treated for anxiety. She was diagnosed with diabetes in 2009. (SOF ¶ 13.) Dr. Lazarevic testified that Cackovic's conditions did not prevent her from doing any type of activity and that he did not recall her telling him anything about her work. ( Id. ¶¶ 14-15.) Cackovic testified that when she is very busy and working hard physically, her blood sugar very often will drop down. ( Id. ¶ 17.) When her blood sugar drops down, she becomes sick and has to consume juice and chocolate and stay in place for at least 15 to 20 minutes to get her strength back. ( Id. ¶ 18; see also PSAF ¶ 13.) Cackovic also takes medication for her anxiety disorder, and, if she does not take it for two to three days, she feels depressed and anxious and cannot function mentally or normally. (SOF ¶ 19; PSAF ¶ 14.) She testified that she would get stressed if Baker or her previous supervisor, Irene Golub, bothered her. (SOF ¶ 21; see also Pl.'s Resp. to SOF ¶ 21.) She told her supervisor of her anxiety issues and requested easier work because of it. (PSAF ¶16.) Cackovic testified that she functions okay in everyday life as long as she takes her pills. (SOF ¶ 23.)

Baker knew that Cackovic had diabetes and that she would get dizzy when her blood sugar was up or down. Baker would tell Cackovic to just take a break and sit for 15 minutes to see how she feels. Baker testified that this would be an extra break in addition to Cackovic's regular breaks. (SOF ¶¶ 25-26.) Baker never ...


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