United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Robert Blakey, United States District Judge.
Monsie Rosario sued Defendant Aunt Martha's Youth Service
Center d/b/a Aunt Martha's Health Center under Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
et seq. Plaintiff alleges that Defendant violated
Title VII by creating a hostile work environment for her,
based upon her race or national origin. ;  at 1 n.l.
Defendant moved for summary judgment. . For the reasons
explained below, Defendant's motion is granted.
following facts come from Defendant's Local Rule 56.1
statement of material facts  and Plaintiffs Local Rule
56.1 statement of additional facts . Throughout
Defendant's response to Plaintiffs statement of facts,
Defendant denied many facts by simply writing
"Denied" or by providing explanations that lacked
record citations. See, e.g.,  ¶¶ 13,
18, 26. Under Local Rule 56.1(b)(3)(B), a party denying a
fact must provide "specific references to the
affidavits, parts of the record, and other supporting
materials relied upon" for the denial. A denial that
lacks supporting citations to the record is inadequate.
See Yost v. Chi. Park Dist., 17 F.Supp.3d 803, 806
(N.D. IU. 2014). This Court thus deems admitted any facts
that Defendant denied without support.
runs a nonprofit community health center where Plaintiff
works as a family case manager (FCM).  ¶¶ 2, 5.
Plaintiff has worked for Defendant as an FCM since about
November 2010. Id. ¶¶ 4, 6. As an FCM,
Plaintiff works with clients and makes home visits to ensure
that infants have current immunizations. Id. ¶
9. Hope Keeper-Young, Plaintiffs FCM supervisor since 2011,
has always rated Plaintiff as meeting or exceeding
expectations in her performance reviews.  ¶¶
is a native Spanish speaker; she was born in Puerto Rico and
moved to the continental United States in 1989 at age 18.
Id. ¶ 1. Plaintiff learned English starting in
first grade, and used mainly English-language textbooks from
first grade through high school. Id. ¶ 2.
Plaintiff has worked primarily in the medical field since
moving to the continental United States. Id. ¶
5. In Plaintiffs professional life-with the exception of the
conduct described below-people have not told her that they
have trouble understanding her accent. Id. ¶ 4.
July 2015 Incident
30, 2015, Plaintiff attended training on patient-tracking
forms with Keeper-Young; Jazmine Mack, another FCM
supervisor; Cassandra Jenkins, Plaintiffs division manager;
and several of Plaintiffs fellow FCMs.  ¶ 10. During
the training, Plaintiff asked a question, and Mack said she
could not understand Plaintiff. Id. ¶ 11. Mack
then described a phone call she had with Plaintiff two weeks
earlier: "Oh my God, during that phone call I had with
you I could not understand anything you were saying and I was
like, 'I can't hear you, I can't hear you'
and I just laughed and hung up the phone."  ¶
10. Plaintiff understood that Mack was implying that she
feigned being unable to hear Plaintiff during the call
because she could not understand Plaintiffs accent, but
Plaintiff denies that Mack said anything along those lines
during their call. Id. ¶ 11.
response, Plaintiff said, "But you answered my
question." Id. ¶ 12. Mack turned to
Keeper-Young and said, "I'm sorry you deal with this
all the time because I can't understand her at all."
Id. Keeper-Young started to respond with, "Yes,
I deal with this every day and . . ., " when she was cut
off by laughter. Id. ¶ 13. Mack said,
"It's hard to understand her. Her accent is very
deep. I have a Hispanic who works in my office and they speak
perfect English." Id. Keeper-Young and Mack
commented on Plaintiffs accent and laughed together for about
10 minutes, even after Plaintiff asked if they could move
forward with the training. Id. ¶¶ 14-16.
Plaintiff noticed that Jenkins laughed too; she testified
that the entire interaction "deeply embarrassed"
her. Id. ¶ 14. Before this training session,
Keeper-Young never told Plaintiff that she had any trouble
understanding her, and never noted any communication problems
in Plaintiffs performance reviews. Id. ¶¶
the meeting broke for lunch, Plaintiff started sobbing and
went to her office to calm down. Id. ¶ 19.
Plaintiff told a coworker she was going home because the
incident was "unacceptable, " and the coworker told
Keeper-Young that Plaintiff was leaving. Id.
¶¶ 19-20. When Keeper-Young approached Plaintiff to
ask why she was leaving, Plaintiff said, "You know what
happened and you know the reason I am leaving."
Id. ¶ 20.
her car, Plaintiff called Defendant's HR department in
tears and spoke to Renee Wheeler. Id. ¶ 21;
 ¶ 23. Wheeler told Plaintiff to go home and said
she would email Plaintiff a complaint form.  ¶ 24.
Plaintiff did not go to work the next day, a Friday, but she
returned to work the following Monday. Id.
¶¶ 25-26. Plaintiff submitted the complaint form to
HR between August 5 and August 10, 2015.  ¶ 22.
Wheeler then contacted Plaintiff to arrange a conference call
with the head of Defendant's Health Division, but Wheeler
failed to call Plaintiff at the scheduled time for both
appointments they made. Id. ¶¶ 22-24. In
October 2015, Wheeler tried to schedule a third conference
call, but Plaintiff told Wheeler that she had missed the
meeting too many times and should contact Plaintiffs lawyer
instead.  ¶ 33.
the July 2015 incident, Plaintiff estimates that Keeper-Young
made at least seven disparaging comments about her accent
through December 2015.  ¶ 25. On one occasion,
Keeper-Young taught a class for patients and Plaintiff
translated the class into Spanish. Id. Keeper-Young
asked a student if Plaintiff spoke correctly, saying,
"She has a very deep accent, so I don't know if
everybody understands her." Id. During a
December 2015 group meeting, Keeper-Young put her hand to her
ear whenever Plaintiff spoke, and said "What?"
repeatedly as if she did not understand. Id. ¶
26. When Keeper-Young asked someone to translate for
Plaintiff, Plaintiffs coworker responded, "Please, Hope.
She spoke clearly." Id.
2016, Keeper-Young continued making disparaging comments
about Plaintiffs accent. Plaintiff testified about four
specific incidents, and estimated that Keeper-Young harassed
her about her accent seven times total throughout the year.
Id. ¶¶ 27-31. In January 2016, while
speaking to a client in front of Plaintiff, Keeper-Young
said, "She has a very thick accent, so just in case you
don't understand, just talk to me." Id.
¶ 27. In October 2016, Plaintiff and another FCM were in
Keeper-Young's office discussing patients when
Keeper-Young told Plaintiff to "move away" because
she did not understand Plaintiff. Id. ¶ 30.
Keeper-Young also asked the other FCM to translate for