United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
S. Shah United States District Judge.
Blake alleges that Joliet Township High School District 204
failed to hire him as a substitute teacher and discriminated
against him on the basis of his race, sex, and age in
violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29
U.S.C. § 621 et seq., Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.,
and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. District 204 moves for summary
judgment on all claims against it. For the following reasons,
defendant's motion is granted.
judgment is appropriate if the movant shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Spurling v. C
& M Fine Pack, Inc., 739 F.3d 1055, 1060 (7th Cir.
2014); Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). A genuine dispute as to any
material fact exists if “the evidence is such that a
reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving
party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477
U.S. 242, 248 (1986). Justifiable inferences are drawn in the
nonmovant's favor, id. at 255, and the party
seeking summary judgment has the burden of establishing that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact. See
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
is representing himself in this lawsuit. Courts liberally
construe a pro se plaintiff's pleadings in order
“to give a pro se plaintiff a break when,
although he stumbles on a technicality, his pleading is
otherwise understandable.” Greer v. Board of Educ.
of City of Chicago, Ill., 267 F.3d 723, 727 (7th Cir.
2001). But pro se plaintiffs must attempt to comply with
Local Rule 56.1, which requires the non-moving party to
identify material facts establishing a genuine dispute for
trial and to admit or deny each factual statement offered by
the defendant (citing to controverting evidence when facts
are denied). Id. Blake did not file his three-page
response with the Clerk of Court, but instead sent it to
District 204. Although Blake was supplied with the Local
Rule 56.2 notice to pro se litigants opposing summary
judgment, he did not make any effort to respond to the school
district's factual statements. Under Local Rule 56.1,
Blake admits these facts through his failure to respond.
Blake also did not cite any evidence in support of his own
arguments. “Employment cases are extremely
fact-intensive, and neither appellate courts nor district
courts are obliged in our adversary system to scour the
record looking for factual disputes.” Id.
(marks omitted). Local Rule 56.1 allows me to grant summary
judgment for District 204 on the basis of Blake's failure
to comply with local rules, id., but instead of
taking that drastic step, I view District 204's admitted
facts in the light most favorable to Blake.
around 1993 until October 2008, Christopher Blake was
intermittently employed as a substitute teacher at Joliet
Township High School District 204.  ¶¶ 2,
14-15. Blake worked in other school districts, and in 2007 he
was teaching at a high school in the Chicago Public School
(CPS) system.  ¶¶ 17, 29. While there, Blake
was investigated for physically abusing students in February
2007.  ¶ 30. A CPS investigation concluded that
there was credible evidence that, while coaching basketball
practice for freshmen girls, Blake hit three students after
one refused to pass him the basketball. According to the
report, Blake struck two of the students with a plastic
garbage can lid and struck another student on the side of her
face with his closed fist.  ¶¶ 31-36. Blake
received a copy of the report but did not submit a written
challenge to its findings.  ¶ 37. During the
investigation, Blake was arrested and charged with three
counts of battery, although the charges were ultimately
dropped. He was removed from his teaching position and was
placed at a CPS attendance center, where he received his
salary but performed no work.  ¶¶ 38-40.
September 12, 2008 and October 9, 2008, Joliet Township High
School District 204 employed Blake as a substitute teacher on
three occasions.  ¶ 41. On his September 12, 2008
substitute teacher application, Blake had disclosed
“CPS 06/07 alleged student altercation” in
response to the question: “Have you ever failed to be
rehired, asked to resign a position, or resigned to avoid
termination?”  ¶ 43. A few weeks later in
October 2008, Richard Pagliaro-then an assistant
superintendent at District 204-learned that Blake had been
involved in a physical altercation with female students at
the CPS high school and that the Will County Regional Office
of Education was not placing Blake on its list of authorized
substitute teachers.  ¶¶ 42, 44. Under Illinois
law, all individuals seeking a substitute position in
Illinois schools are required to register with the Regional
Office of Education and qualify for a substitute teacher
authorization in the county where they wish to teach;
authorization involves a fingerprint-based background
investigation, among other requirements. See 105
ILCS 5/10-21.9; 105 ILCS 5/21B-20(3); 23 Ill. Adm. Code tit.
23, § 1.790. District 204 only hires substitute teachers
from the county's authorized list.  ¶ 20.
advised the District 204 employee charged with scheduling
substitute teachers that Blake should not be assigned as a
substitute because he was not on the county's authorized
list and because of the reported physical altercation with
CPS students.  ¶ 45. In November 2008, Blake filed a
charge of race discrimination with the EEOC against District
204, alleging that he was discharged from the school because
he was black, but he did not file suit after receiving his
right-to-sue letter from the EEOC.  ¶¶ 10, 12.
Pagliaro's successor, Ilandus Hampton, also instructed
the scheduling employee to not assign Blake as a substitute
due to concerns over his past conduct.  ¶¶ 47,
54. Blake again disclosed the 2007 incident in his 2011
application to substitute at District 204.  ¶ 51.
District 204 has not used Blake as a substitute teacher since
2008, although he has applied for substitute teaching
positions at District 204 every subsequent school year
through the 2014-2015 school year and although in 2011 he was
once again placed on the county's authorized list of
substitute teachers.  ¶¶ 16, 45-46, 52-54.
August 2015, Blake filed a charge of discrimination with the
EEOC, alleging that he began his employment with District 204
in August 2014 as a substitute teacher but was advised that
no assignments were available.  ¶¶ 5-6. He
alleged discrimination on the basis of race, sex, and age
(Blake is over 40). He received his EEOC letter on September
28, 2015.  ¶¶ 6-7. On December 23, 2015, Blake
filed a pro se complaint bringing claims for race, sex, and
age discrimination, alleging that District 204 failed to hire
him, terminated him, and retaliated against him. .
District 204 moved to dismiss Blake's age discrimination
and retaliation claims, but only the retaliation claim was
dismissed (without prejudice) because there was nothing in
Blake's EEOC charge to suggest that retaliation was
within the scope of the conduct complained of. . District
204 now moves for summary judgment on all claims.
Limited Scope of the EEOC Charge
maintain a successful claim under Title VII or the ADEA, a
plaintiff must file a charge with the EEOC within the time
period allotted by statute and the EEOC must issue a
right-to-sue letter. Ajayi v. Aramark Bus. Servs.,
Inc., 336 F.3d 520, 527 (7th Cir. 2003); Rush v.
McDonald's Corp., 966 F.2d 1104, 1110 (7th Cir.
1992). “[T]he scope of the subsequent judicial
proceedings is limited by the nature of the charges filed
with the EEOC.” Rush, 966 F.2d at 1110. The
EEOC charge supporting Blake's complaint was filed in
August 2015, and although very brief, states that basis for
his discrimination claims are that he began employment with
District 204 in or about August 2014 as substitute teacher
but was advised that no positions were available.  at 8.
In Illinois, a plaintiff alleging ADEA or Title VII
violations must file charges with the EEOC within 300 days of
the alleged discriminatory employment practice. See
29 U.S.C. § 626(d)(1); 42 U.S.C. § 2000e- 5(e)(1).
Under the notice rule, the 300-day limitations period begins
to run when the employee knows he has been injured, not when
he determines that the injury was unlawful. Stepney v.
Naperville Sch. Dist. 203, 392 F.3d 236, 240 (7th Cir.
204 argues that Blake's complaint is limited to the 2014
to 2015 school year, as alleged in his EEOC charge. Blake
responds that the school district's discrimination was
one continuing violation from 2008 to 2015. The continuing
violation theory extends the statute of limitations in some
cases, for example where an employer's discrimination is
covert and the character of discriminatory acts was not
apparent at the time they occurred. Doe v. R.R. Donnelley
& Sons Co., 42 F.3d 439, 445-46 (7th Cir. 1994). The
problem for Blake is that he was sufficiently aware of
District 204's alleged racial discrimination in November
2008, when he filed the EEOC charge alleging that the school
district discharged him after a background check.  ¶
10; [24-1] at 16. “If it is only with the benefit of
hindsight, after a series of discriminatory acts, that the
plaintiff can realize that he is indeed a victim of unlawful
discrimination, he can sue in regard to all of the acts
provided he sues promptly after learning their character,
” but if “he knows or with the exercise of
reasonable diligence would have known after each act that it
was discriminatory and had harmed him, he may not sit back
and accumulate all the discriminatory acts and sue on all
within the statutory period applicable to the last
one.” Moskowitz v. Trustees of Purdue Univ., 5
F.3d 279, 281-82 (7th Cir. 1993). Blake's earlier EEOC
charge shows that he was ...