United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
L. ALONSO UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Escarzaga (“plaintiff” or
“Escarzaga”) filed against defendants Board of
Trustees of Community College District #508 (“City
Colleges of Chicago”) and Michael Roberts an amended
complaint asserting claims arising from her employment with
City Colleges of Chicago. The Court previously dismissed all
of plaintiff's claims against defendant Michael Roberts
and some of plaintiff's claims (including a claim for age
discrimination) against City Colleges of Chicago. [Docket
21]. Defendant City Colleges of Chicago moves for summary
judgment on plaintiff's remaining claims. For the reasons
set forth below, the Court grants defendant's motion 
for summary judgment.
following facts are undisputed unless otherwise
City Colleges of Chicago operates Harry S. Truman College
(“Truman College”), where plaintiff started
working in 1991. Plaintiff, who was of Mexican descent, was a
part-time employee in the Cosmetology Department, where she
taught until May or June of 2014, when she retired.
College offers students two types of classes: (1) courses for
which a student could earn college credit (“credit
courses”); and (2) continuing education courses
(“non-credit courses”). Non-credit courses are
taught by employees called adult educators. Credit courses
are taught by either full-time employees called professors or
part-time employees called adjuncts.
College's instructors were represented by three different
unions. The adult educators (i.e., the instructors of
non-credit courses) are represented by the American
Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, Council
31, AFL-CIO and its Local 3506 (“AFSME”).
Full-time professors are represented by the Local 1600 AFT,
AFL-CIO, Chicago Illinois Faculty and Training Specialists.
Finally, the part-time adjuncts are represented by the City
Colleges Contingent Labor Organizing Committee-Illinois
Education Association-National Education Association
(“CCCLOC”). It is possible for an instructor to
have more than one title, if, for example, she teaches both
credit and non-credit courses.
Truman College's Cosmetology Department, instructors
taught credit courses. Thus, the full-time professors (who
were also called “training specialists”) were
represented by Local 1600 AFT, AFL-CIO, while the part-time
adjuncts were represented by CCCLOC.
instructor's pay is determined by the applicable
collective bargaining agreement. Under the CCCLOC collective
bargaining agreement, part-time adjunct instructors are paid
per student contact hour (which essentially means per
50-minute class period). The pay per contact hour is based,
in part, on the instructor's educational background.
Adult educators, on the other hand, are paid by the hour.
point during the first four months of 2013, plaintiff was
given a contract as a part-time cosmetology adjunct. (The
parties dispute whether that happened in January or April of
2013, but it does not matter when it happened.) Essentially,
plaintiff's title was changed from adult educator to
part-time adjunct. Plaintiff wondered why defendant was
changing her title when she was “getting ready to
retire.” At the time of the switch, plaintiff's
students were happy with her teaching and she was not subject
change in title had the effect of reducing plaintiff's
pay. At some point in the first half of 2013, the payroll
department ran an audit and determined that plaintiff had
been overpaid. Specifically, plaintiff had been paid both as
a part-time adjunct and as an adult educator. Defendant asked
plaintiff to return the money, and she agreed to do so via
payroll deduction. Plaintiff was not the only employee who
was overpaid. Irene Bannister, who had been plaintiff's
supervisor, was also overpaid. She, too, returned the money.
times during her employment, plaintiff thought she was
treated unfairly. Three or four years before she retired,
plaintiff was passed over for a promotion and was denied an
opportunity to attend a seminar. At some point, because she
was going to miss two days of a summer class, plaintiff was
required to share the class with another instructor, which
affected the total number of hours she worked.
addition, plaintiff did not like some things that Michael
Roberts (“Roberts”) said to her. Roberts is (and
was during 2013) the Human Resources Director at Truman
College. Plaintiff was offended by comments Roberts made to
her during meetings that took place in March, April and May
of 2013. Specifically, Roberts said to plaintiff, “I do
not understand you, ” “I am not understanding
you, I will get a translator, ” and “I will call
for an interpreter to make sure you are understanding
me[.]” Roberts also said, “Do you understand me?
Do you understand me?” Plaintiff testified that she
spoke English “with a strong accent” and
sometimes needed a translator for written English.
Plaintiff's union representative translated for plaintiff
during one meeting. Another thing plaintiff did not like was
when Roberts said plaintiff “does not have the
education to make that kind of money.”
she was working for defendant, plaintiff had diabetes.
Plaintiff never told anyone at City Colleges of Chicago that
she had diabetes. When plaintiff missed work for a few days,
she told supervisor Irene Bannister only that she was sick.
Plaintiff never asked for an accommodation for her diabetes.
Colleges of Chicago maintains a non-discrimination policy.
City Colleges of Chicago prohibits discrimination and
harassment on the basis of age, race, color, national origin,
ethnicity and disability. City Colleges of Chicago has an EEO
Office that investigates complaints of discrimination from
students, employees and anyone else involved in activities
related to City ...