United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
E. Bucklo, United States District Judge.
Odisho alleges that U.S. Bankcorp, Inc., (“US
Bank”) subjected her to both discrimination and
harassment because of her race, national origin, religion,
and age. U.S. Bank denies these allegations and has
moved for summary judgment. U.S. Bank's motion is denied
in part and granted in part for the reasons stated below.
following facts are presented in the light most favorable to
Odisho, the non-moving party, as permitted by the record and
Local Rule 56.1. See Hanners v. Trent, 674 F.3d
683, 691 (7th Cir. 2012). These facts are undisputed except
is female and is presently age 54. Def.'s Statement of
Material Facts (“DSOF”) at ¶ 1. She was born
in Baghdad, Iraq, and moved to the United States in 1980 to
flee persecution she suffered as a Christian. Id.;
Pl.'s Statement of Material Facts (“PSOF”) at
¶ 13. She considers her race to be Iraqi, which is
Asian. DSOF at ¶ 51. U.S. Bank records list her race as
white. Id. at ¶ 52. From 1994 until 2011,
Odisho worked as an analyst at Bank of America where she
performed cash management work. DSOF at ¶ 10; Tenorio
Aff. at ¶ 3. She has previously worked under
“mean” bosses who yelled at employees, but that
behavior caused her no issues. PSOF at ¶ 12. In 2011,
U.S. Bank acquired the group Odisho worked in, which then
became responsible for handling structured finance deals.
DSOF at ¶ 10. Odisho's official title at U.S. Bank
was Structured Finance Analyst on the Chicago Global Finance
Operations team. Id. at ¶¶ 2, 9. As part
of their transition to structured finance work, Odisho and
other analysts in her group were required to become
proficient in certain software U.S. Bank used for structured
finance deals. Id. at ¶ 11.
supervisor at Bank of America, Raymond Tenorio, continued to
supervise her and the structured finance team following U.S.
Bank's acquisition. Tenorio Aff. at ¶¶ 3-4, 6.
Tenorio testified that during the time he supervised Odisho
her performance met or exceeded expectations and was as good
as or better than that of her colleagues, her 2011-2014
performance reviews were good, and he never felt she merited
discipline. PSOF at ¶ 6. Tenorio never observed or
received reports of Odisho having issues communicating with
others. Tenorio Aff. at ¶ 39.
to Tenorio, the transition period following U.S. Bank's
acquisition was difficult for the entire structured finance
team due to a lack of training and “push-back”
from U.S. Bank administrators whose deals were transferred to
the team. PSOF at ¶ 2. But, Tenorio and Odisho both
testified that the administrator's complaints were not
frequent, and that Ms. Odisho was not the subject of more
complaints than her peers. Id. at ¶ 3. As part
of his new management responsibilities, Tenorio created daily
reports explaining the circumstances of each overdraft and
error attributable to each analyst on the structured finance
team. Tenorio Aff. at ¶ 23. Under Tenorio's
supervision, Odisho consistently had fewer overdrafts and
errors than her coworkers. PSOF at ¶ 7. In early 2014,
Odisho received her 2013 performance review from Tenorio.
DSOF at ¶ 13. She received an overall rating of
“highly effective” but only a rating of
“solid performance” in “technical
know-how” and “financial.” Id.
Tenorio recommended that Odisho take additional software
proficiency classes. Id. at ¶ 14.
August 2013, Keith Maurmeier, a Vice President at U.S. Bank,
hired David Medina as the site manager for U.S. Bank's
Chicago Global Finance Operations team. Id. at
¶ 12. Tenorio then began reporting directly to Medina.
Id. at ¶¶ 12, 16. Soon after his hire,
Medina asked Tenorio if he would have a problem working under
Medina because Medina is younger than him. Tenorio Aff. at
¶ 15. Tenorio responded he would not. Id.
testified that, between 2013 and January 2015, Medina made
derogatory comments and questions to him about Odisho's
religion, nationality, and race. Id. at ¶ 35.
For example, Odisho periodically attended church with Tenorio
during lunch hours. DSOF at ¶ 57. Tenorio reported, in
late 2013, Medina told him, “I don't know why
Juliet goes with you to church. She's from the Middle
East and she's Muslim.” Tenorio responded,
“Not everyone from the Middle East is Muslim, she's
Christian, ” and asked Medina “Do you realize
they're persecuting Christians there?” Medina
responded, “She's Christian?”. PSOF at ¶
30; Tenorio Aff. at ¶ 34. U.S. Bank disputes
Tenorio's characterization of the conversation, claiming
that Medina expressed a concern to Tenorio that going to
church with subordinates could give a perception of
favoritism, but did not instruct Tenorio against attending
church with Odisho. PSOF at ¶ 58-59. Odisho also
testified she always kept a cross displayed on her desk, and
she once gave Medina a rosary she brought back from vacation.
Id. at ¶¶ 55-56.
to Tenorio, in Spring 2014, Medina began targeting Odisho
with derogatory comments and questions, micro-management, and
misplaced criticism of her work performance and mistakes, and
also treated Odisho more harshly than her coworkers. Tenorio
Aff. at ¶¶ 28-29. For example, Medina took accounts
away from Odisho and would not give her new or complicated
deals. Tenorio Aff. at ¶ 45. Also, in early 2014, Medina
told Odisho that she needed to improve her understanding of
the structured finance software used by her group. DSOF at
likewise testified that Medina singled her out by making
comments to her and her coworkers about her religion and
Middle Eastern background. DSOF at ¶ 65. For example,
before a team lunch, Medina suggested ordering from a Middle
Eastern restaurant, commenting that Odisho would “know
how that would be, ” which alerted her coworkers to the
fact she is from the Middle East. PSOF at ¶ 31;
Odisho's Dep. 314:1-13. Medina also made comments to
Odisho about English being Odisho's second language on at
least five occasions. DSOF at ¶¶ 61-62. Medina
testified that he spoke with Odisho abut English being her
second language because he wanted to assist in resolving
“a communication concern.” Id. at ¶
64. He further testified he was empathetic to Odisho and he
mentioned his background-that he speaks Spanish and his
parents were immigrants from Mexico-to see if she empathized
with it as well. Id.
Porter, a trust officer who worked with Odisho at U.S. Bank,
testified that, on at least two occasions, Medina asked her
if Odisho had trouble understanding because English was her
second language. PSOF at ¶¶ 8, 34. Porter never had
any problems understanding Odisho and was not aware that
anyone besides Medina had such issues. Id.
April 2014, Odisho met with Medina to request vacation and
Medina asked if she was Christian or Muslim. DSOF at ¶
53. Medina also asked if she was from Lebanon; she replied
that she was from Baghdad. Id. at ¶ 53.
contends that Odisho began to suffer performance issues by
the middle of 2014: she had caused some fourteen preventable
overdrafts, totaling $11 million, and one unpreventable
overdraft. DSOF at ¶ 17. Tenorio explained that 10 of
the preventable overdrafts were part of one transaction while
Odisho was covering another analyst's accounts. Tenorio
Aff. at ¶ 21. Tenorio also contends that the total
amount of the overdrafts attributable to Odisho is “not
relevant, ” and, rather, the issue for the bank is
whether more than $50 in interest was lost due to the timing
of fund transfers. PSOF at ¶ 17; Tenorio Aff. at
2014, Medina began attending and leading Tenorio's
one-on-one meetings with Odisho. PSOF at ¶ 33. At
several of these meetings, they discussed a confrontation
between Plaintiff and an account administrator, Maryann
Turbak. Id. Medina asked Odisho if this issue was
caused by her “English as a second language” and
commented “I feel you don't understand at
times.” Id. Odisho responded that English is
her primary language, and Assyrian and Iraqi are her second
and third languages, respectively. Id. Following
these meetings, Medina would often ask Tenorio if he thought
Odisho understood English. Id. Tenorio Aff. at
end of 2014, Odisho had committed twenty preventable
overdrafts totaling over $13 million and sixteen
unpreventable overdrafts totaling $3, 500. DSOF at ¶ 19.
But Tenorio's comments in Odisho's draft 2014
year-end performance review indicate that ten of the
unpreventable overdrafts were due to one transaction earlier
in the year and the sixteen unpreventable overdrafts were due
the actions of U.S. Bank administrators rather than Odisho.
PSOF at ¶ 19; Tenorio Aff. at ¶ 48.
January 30, 2015, Odisho met with Tenorio to discuss her 2014
performance review. DSOF at ¶ 20. Odisho received an
overall rating of “solid performance” but
received a “needs improvement” rating in the
categories of “technical know-how” and
“engage & develop.” DSOF at ¶ 21.
Tenorio testified that, after he prepared a draft 2014
performance review for Odisho, Medina instructed him to lower
some of Odisho's ratings from “meets
expectations” to “needs improvement” and to
comment about her understanding of English, a
communication-related incident with a Bank administrator, and
his criticism that Odisho frequently asks questions. PSOF at
¶ 20; Tenorio Aff. at ¶ 47. At this meeting,
Tenorio told Odisho that he didn't agree with the
ratings, Medina had forced him to change the ratings, and
that he believed Medina did so because Medina believes Odisho
is Muslim not Christian. PSOF at ¶ 21. Tenorio also
stated on Odisho's 2014 performance review that she
needed a better understanding of structured finance software
and investment processing and needed to improve her skills
with that software. DSOF at ¶ 22. He wrote this because
upper management at U.S. Bank told him that every performance
review must contain at least 2 goals for improvement. PSOF at
¶ 20; Tenorio Aff. at ¶ 45.
disagreed with Medina's management style and requested to
step down from his management position-he ended his
supervisory duties in March 2015. PSOF at ¶ 8. Odisho
reported directly to Medina from March 2015 until June 2015
when Brian Kozack was hired to replace Tenorio. DSOF at
¶¶ 23, 24. In an August 2015 meeting with Kozack
and Porter, Medina told Odisho that administrators did not
understand her and attributed that issue to English being
Odisho's second language. DSOF ¶ 63; Odisho Dep.
193:23-195:4. Also, Odisho was the only employee in her
department who was not provided with an upgraded computer in
2015, her computer was slower than her coworkers'
computers, and it would often freeze up. DSOF at ¶ 70:
PSOF at ¶ 27. Kozack and Medina testified they were not
involved with issuing computers. DSOF at ¶ 70.
Tenorio before him, Kozak had regular one-on-one meetings
with his direct reports, including Odisho. Id. at
¶ 25. At one of these meetings, Odisho told Kozack that
she was looking for other opportunities, but Kozack testified
that he would not recommend her for an internal position
because her performance was substandard. Id. at
¶ 30. During such meetings in September and October
2015, Kozak addressed issues with Odisho's performance,
including excessive errors and overdrafts in structured
finance deals.Id. at ¶¶ 26-27. During
a December 2015 meeting, Kozack told Odisho that her
performance did not meet U.S. Bank standards. Id. at
¶ 29. Odisho admitted that account administrators
frequently complained about her errors and mistakes.
Id. at ¶ 31. Also, in December 2015, Kozack
told Plaintiff that he and Medina “feel like you
don't understand the ...