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Tarpley v. City Colleges of Chicago

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

April 10, 2015


Page 909

For Elizabeth A Tarpley, Plaintiff: John P DeRose, John P. Derose and Associates, Hinsdale, IL.

For City Colleges of Chicago, Defendant: Alexandra C. Relias, LEAD ATTORNEY, City Colleges of Chicago, Office of the General Counsel, Chicago, IL; William R Pokorny, LEAD ATTORNEY, Lindsey M. Marcus, Franczek Radelet PC, Chicago, IL.

Page 910


SARA L. ELLIS, United States District Judge.

Plaintiff Elizabeth Tarpley worked for Defendant City Colleges of Chicago (" City Colleges" ) as the Assistant Dean of Information Technology at its Kennedy-King College location from May 16, 2011 until her resignation on August 16, 2013. She then filed this suit alleging that City Colleges discriminated against her on the basis of her race, sex, and disability in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (" Title VII" ), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., the Family and Medical Leave Act (" FMLA" ), 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq., and the Americans with Disabilities Act (" ADA" ), 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. Before the Court is City Colleges' partial motion to dismiss Tarpley's First Amended Complaint [14], which is granted. Because Tarpley has not alleged a Title VII retaliation claim, that claim is dismissed, but she may proceed on her unchallenged FMLA and ADA retaliation claims. The Title VII constructive discharge claims are dismissed because Tarpley did not include them in her Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (" EEOC" ) charge nor can they be considered reasonably related to the claims raised in that charge. Tarpley's Title VII and FMLA failure to accommodate claims are dismissed because those statutes do not provide for a claim for the failure to accommodate a disability. Finally, Tarpley's claim for intentional infliction

Page 911

of emotional distress (" IIED" ) is dismissed as time-barred.


Tarpley began working at Kennedy-King College as the Assistant Dean of Information Technology on May 16, 2011. While in that position, she performed according to expectations and never received a negative review. But because she suffers from endometriosis, which causes her severe pain, as well as from depression and anxiety, Tarpley needed time off from work. She was approved for a four-week medical leave from June 22 to July 20, 2012 while recovering from a surgery related to her endometriosis. This leave was to be counted towards her annual entitlement to twelve weeks of leave under the FMLA in 2012. During this time, Tarpley continued to work from home, monitoring emails and participating in calls as necessary.

In August 2012, Tarpley requested intermittent leave from August 7, 2012 to July 7, 2013 for ongoing treatment and occasional illness related to her endometriosis. City Colleges approved this leave period in October 2012, indicating that it would be counted towards her FMLA leave entitlement in 2012 and 2013. Tarpley used approximately one to two days of leave a month during this period, continuing to work from home if necessary.

Although Tarpley's work performance and the performance of her department did not suffer while she used intermittent leave, in May 2013, she noticed that her superiors were singling her out for using leave time. On May 10, 2013, the Vice Chancellor of Information Technology, Arshele Stevens, informed Tarpley that City Colleges did not allow employees to work from home even though she had been told differently in the past and other City Colleges employees continued to work from home. This meant that Tarpley had to request FMLA time off for days she otherwise would have worked from home. City Colleges also began to ask for additional verification for leave time even though Tarpley provided the human resources department with all the required information. City Colleges also retroactively changed the method by which it credited Tarpley's FMLA leave.

On June 5, 2013, Tarpley completed an intake form with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (" IDHR" ), in which she complained about the fact that she could not work from home and was forced to take FMLA leave as a result. She claimed sex, race, and disability discrimination and retaliation. On June 11, 2013, Tarpley filled out an intake questionnaire with the EEOC, which resulted in a June 24, 2013 formal charge alleging ADA discrimination and retaliation.

Also in June 2013, while Tarpley was on FMLA leave, she responded to an email from a staff member who inquired about the status of a project. When Stevens learned of this on June 20, she informed Tarpley that Tarpley should not be working while on leave, meaning that she should not be monitoring or responding to emails. Staff members were also instructed not to include Tarpley on emails while she was on leave. On June 23, Tarpley learned ...

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