Francis J. Golla, Plaintiff-Appellant,
Office of the Chief Judge of Cook County, Illinois and Cook County, Illinois, Defendants-Appellees.
September 28, 2017
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 11 C 8149 - Harry
D. Leinenweber, Judge.
Bauer, Manion, and Hamilton, Circuit Judges.
Joseph Golla brought this Title VII race discrimination
action against his former employer, the Office of the Chief
Judge of Cook County, Illinois, and Cook County, Illinois,
itself for purposes of indemnifying any judgment
(collectively, "Defendants"). After discovery the
district court granted Defendants' motion for summary
judgment. Golla appeals that decision, and we affirm.
complaint alleged that the Office of the Chief Judge
("the Office") had engaged in intentional reverse
racial discrimination by paying Deotis Taylor, an
African-American male, a significantly higher salary than
Golla, a white male, despite working in the same department
and performing the same duties under essentially the same
Office is the administrative arm of the Cook County circuit
courts with numerous departments, including Adult Probation,
Juvenile Probation, Social Services, Forensic Clinical
Services, and the Chief Judge's Office. Golla, who has a
law degree, started working in the Office in 1983 as a Court
Coordinator. Golla's employment with the Office was
terminated on March 16, 1995, but he was reinstated ten
months after he filed a complaint with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and the parties reached a
settlement. As part of the settlement agreement, Golla was
reinstated at a Grade 14 pay position. Golla assumed the
title of Law Clerk I, and was assigned to assist in the jury
room at other circuit courts, before moving into the juvenile
2004, Golla transferred to the Social Services Department.
While there, Golla retained the title of Law Clerk I, and
continued to be paid at Grade 14 until he resigned on May 31,
2013. Golla's duties in the Social Services Department
were administrative in nature, and included filing, creating
reports, case initialization, and processing intakes.
Taylor began working at the Office in 1978 as a Probation
Officer, and then became a Jury Room Manager in 1998.
Taylor's personnel records indicated that in 1998, he was
paid at Grade 22. Taylor left the Office in 1999 to run for
Illinois State Senate.
Office rehired Taylor in 2005, and assigned him to the Social
Services Department. Taylor assumed the title Legal Systems
Analyst at a Grade 22 pay position. He remained in that
position until he retired on September 26, 2013. Taylor's
duties in the Social Services Department were also
administrative, and included processing case files to
courtrooms, conducting criminal background checks, and
organizing and disposing of files.
the different formal titles, Golla and Taylor were both
listed in the Social Services directory under the title
Administrative Assistant. In addition, both Golla and Taylor
worked on intake forms, called SCERTs, on a daily basis.
These forms were generated when an individual who had been
sentenced did not physically appear at the Social Services
Department for intake. Taylor wrote up the SCERT form,
assigned a caseworker to it, and conducted a criminal
background check on the individual. Golla received completed
SCERTs and entered the information into a computer system.
Whitehead, who is African-American, served as the Deputy
Director of Management Services in the Social Services
Department, in which position she was the direct supervisor
of both Golla and Taylor. Whitehead testified in her
deposition that she had no role in determining an
employee's pay grade.
support of their motion for summary judgment, Defendants
introduced an affidavit from Sharon Hoffman, who was the
Assistant Director of the Social Services Department until
March, 2014. Hoffman's affidavit affirmed that the Social
Services Department had no control over an employee's pay
grade. Instead, employees who transferred into the Social
Services Department retained their pay grade from their prior
department. Hoffman's affidavit also listed seventeen