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Reed v. Allied Waste Services, Inc.

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

September 16, 2014

DARRAL S. REED, Plaintiff,
v.
ALLIED WASTE SERVICES, INC. and REPUBLIC SERVICES, INC., Defendants.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

SHARON JOHNSON COLEMAN, District Judge.

Plaintiff, Darral Reed, filed his Complaint on July 27, 2012, alleging racial discrimination and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. ("Title VII"), the Illinois Human Rights Act, 775 ILCS 5/1-101 et seq., ("IHRA") and 42 U.S.C. § 1981 ("Section 1981"), against his former employer Allied Waste Services, Inc. ("Allied"). Allied moves for summary judgment [40] on all claims.[1] For the reasons stated herein, this Court grants the motion.

Background

As an initial matter, the Court finds that Reed's opposition to Allied's summary judgment fails to comply with Local Rule 56.1. This Court is entitled to strict compliance with Local Rule 56.1. Raymond v. Ameritech Corp., 442 F.3d 600, 604 (7th Cir. 2006). Reed's opposition does not comply with L.R. 56.1(b) in that for each of the statements of fact presented by Allied in its L.R. 56.1(a) statements of undisputed material fact Reed did not counter with admissible evidence demonstrating a factual dispute. See N.D.Ill. L.R. 56.1(b); see also Roger Whitmore's Auto. Servs. v. Lake Cnty., 424 F.3d 659, 664 n.2 (7th Cir. 2005). Instead, for those factual statements that Reed attempts to dispute, he has presented improper argument, conclusions, and non-responsive allegations. Reed however admits the majority of the facts presented in Allied's Rule 56.1 Statement of Material Facts. ( See Dkt. 44). This Court deems admitted those paragraphs that Reed does not expressly admit based on his failure to dispute the statements of fact with admissible evidence and citations to the record. See Dade v. Sherwin-Williams Co., 128 F.3d 1135, 1139 (7th Cir. 1997).

The following facts are undisputed. Allied provides waste collection, recycling, and disposal services to commercial and industrial customers in Chicago. Reed worked as a commercial driver for Allied from July 28, 1997, until his termination on October 14, 2008. Allied maintains an Employee Handbook that contains policies and procedures relating to all aspects of employment with Allied. The Handbook was in effect at least from 2002 through Reed's termination. All Allied drivers must abide by Allied's rules, including "Violation of any Company policy, work rule or procedure" may result in "immediate discharge." Allied drivers also receive an Employee Safe Driving and Safe Work Practices Handbook that states "the Company will initiate disciplinary action up to and including immediate discharge" for "[f]ailure to report all personal injuries and accidents to your supervisor or a Company official, including damage to the property of the Company, employee, customer or member of the public, regardless of who is responsible for the damage." Reed acknowledges that he received the Safety Handbook.

The terms and conditions of Allied's commercial drivers' employment are subject to a collective bargaining agreement between Allied and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 731. Pursuant to the agreement, the Company may discharge employees for just cause. The bargaining agreement provides that Allied will follow progressive discipline but that "no notice need be given before an employee is discharged for just cause, " for among other reasons, "recklessly resulting in a serious accident while on duty" and "failure to report an accident." Reed testified that he understood that failure to report an accident was an immediately dischargeable offense.

Drivers are generally assigned a regular route. When a route becomes available, Allied posts the route for employee bidding. Trucks are assigned by route, not by driver. Drivers report to route supervisors who, in turn, report to the operations manager. Reed had various route supervisors during his employment, including Rodney Huguley, Dave Heyboer, Randall Radatz, and William Baker. These route supervisors reported to Jim Woods, Operations Manager, who also hired Reed. Woods reported to Mike McEnerney, General Manager. Route supervisors routinely observe drivers on their routes to ensure they are following proper work and safety procedures. Drivers are typically observed once per month. If an employee is injured on the job or observed violating a safety procedure, then he or she will be observed more frequently.

Reed was assigned to Route 433 from nine years. In early 2007, while Reed was on vacation, he received a call from another employee saying he had heard that Reed would be assigned to another route. Reed spoke to Randall Radatz, his supervisor and asked why he was being reassigned. Radatz told him "they're burning your route out, " meaning that other employees were doing his route more quickly. In March 2007, Reed was assigned to Route 598, which Reed calls the "punishment route" because it purportedly involves strenuous work and has a lot of stops that have compactors on them. Reed could have bid on another route but he did not do so. In April 2007, Reed submitted a written request to be transferred to roll off driver. The request was granted in August 2007 and Reed was assigned to Truck 3053, which did not have air conditioning. Reed asked to use a spare truck, which he did for about a month until the spare truck was given to another driver.

In March 2008, Reed suffered a work-related injury to his knees that require him to be off for two weeks and to attend physical therapy. Reed's physical therapy appointments were at 1:30pm on Tuesdays and Fridays. Reed's regular working schedule was approximately from 6:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. In April 2008, Hencinski and Woods met with Reed and informed him they would change his start time and put him on nights so that he could take care of his physical therapy during the day. Reed worked nights until his termination in October 2008.

Throughout his employment with Allied, Reed was subject of various types of discipline.

• February 2, 2004: disciplinary notice for excessive tardiness/absence for failing to report to work.
• August 2, 2004: first written warning for an overweight truck.
• August 29, 2004: verbal counseling concerning a driver's alert from a caller who claimed that Reed had failed to stop at a yield sign when making a right turn and had cause the driver to slam on the brakes.
• March 22, 2005: disciplinary notice for excessive tardiness/absence (Reed's sixth attendance point ...

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