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Kralka v. Board of Trustees of Community College District No. 508

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

December 18, 2014

SUSAN KRALKA, Plaintiff,
v.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT NO. 508, d/b/a CITY COLLEGES OF CHICAGO, Defendant

Page 910

Susan Kralka, Plaintiff, Pro se, Chicago, IL.

For City of Colleges of Chicago, Defendant: Valerie Depies Harper, City Colleges of Chicago, Office of the General Counsel, Chicago, IL.

Page 911

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

James B. Zagel, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Susan Kralka (" Plaintiff) filed a complaint, pro se, against Defendant Board of Trustees of Community College District No. 508, d/b/a City Colleges of Chicago (" Defendant" ) alleging that she was discriminatorily terminated on the basis of her Ukrainian national origin in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Defendant now moves for summary judgment. For the following reasons, Defendant's motion is granted in its entirety.

I. STATEMENT OF FACTS

Plaintiff, a Ukrainian woman, was employed, at all relevant times, as an Adult Educator by Defendant City Colleges of Chicago, a community college district in the Malcolm X College Adult Education off-campus Program (" Adult Education Program" ). From May 23 through August 13, 2011, the Adult Education Program provided twelve-week Adult Education courses, including ESL classes, at multiple off-campus sites, including Northwestern Settlement, Erie House, St. Hyacinth, and Nuestra Senora Church. Plaintiff, who has over 35 years of experience teaching English as a Second Language (" ESL" ) and is highly knowledgeable of Ukrainian language and culture, was assigned to teach sixteen hours of ESL classes at the Northwestern Settlement, Monday through Thursday, from 5:00 pm to 9:00 p.m. Plaintiff was a member of the labor union, American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council 31, AFL-CIO and its Local 3506, and covered by its collective bargaining agreement with City Colleges.

Per the request of City Colleges' Chancellor's Office, the Office of the Inspector General for City Colleges of Chicago (" OIG" ) conducted a review of the Adult Education Program during the Summer 2011 semester, in part, to observe and document adult educators' and students' attendance during scheduled class hours. During the course of the OIG's general audit, the OIG observed that Plaintiff was not present at the start of her scheduled classes and, consequently, opened an individualized investigation into Plaintiff on suspected time fraud. As part of its investigation, the OIG conducted nine days of surveillance in July 2011 at the Northwestern Settlement during Plaintiff's scheduled class hours of 5:00 to 9:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday. During this time, despite submitting certificates of attendance reflecting that she was generally present from 5:00 to 9:00 p.m. and should be paid for four full hours of teaching, Plaintiff was not once observed to be present for the entire scheduled class hours. Instead, Plaintiff shortened her teaching hours by an average of one hour and twenty-four minutes per day.

During the OIG investigator's interview of Plaintiff, Plaintiff did not deny that during the Summer 2011 semester, she routinely arrived an hour late to her scheduled 5:00 pm class, but claimed she did so because of the " the very hot summer," her students need to refresh themselves after work, and due to severe property

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damage from a severe storm on June 30, 2011. Plaintiff also stated that she ended her class thirty minutes early so the woman who worked at the front desk could go home to her sick mother. While Plaintiff asserts that she added class time after the summer semester ended, she did not keep any documentation of the attendance at such classes or receive approval to hold additional or substitute classes after the close of the semester.

OIG concluded its investigation into Plaintiff on November 21, 2011 and found that Plaintiff violated Defendant's Work Rules 7 (falsely representing to a superior the quantity of work performed), 11 (falsification of her attendance record), 17 & 37 (misappropriation and waste of City Colleges' funds in that on various occasions she misrepresented that she taught classes from 5:00 - 9:00 p.m.), 38 (inattention to her duties as an adult educator), and 50 (conduct unbecoming a public employee). Based on these Work Rule violations, particularly Rules 17 & 37, the Inspector General recommended that Defendant terminate Plaintiff and designate her as ineligible to be re-hired.

Based on the OIG's findings and recommendations, City Colleges issued a Notice of Pre-Disciplinary Hearing on December 7, 2011 to Plaintiff, notifying her that a disciplinary hearing was to occur the following day at which discipline, up to and including termination, would be considered. Plaintiff received a copy of the OIG's Investigative Summary, and Plaintiff was able to discuss the pending charges with her union representatives, Mark Freeman and Judith Sherman. Sherman was present at Plaintiff's December 8, 2011 Disciplinary Hearing and Plaintiff had an opportunity to rebut the charges. On February 29, 2012, Defendant advised Plaintiff that, as a result of the evidence presented at the Disciplinary Hearing, President ...


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