United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
CLAUDIA S. MARTIN, Plaintiff,
COOK COUNTY, OFFICE OF THE CHIEF JUDGE OF THE CIRCUIT COURT OF COOK COUNTY, LAVONE HAYWOOD, MATTHEW SOBIESKI, DARRYL GRAY, and NOREEN LARSON, Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Martin, a probation officer employed by the Cook County Adult
Probation Department (“APD”), sues several APD
employees (collectively, “County Defendants”) and
the Office of the Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of Cook
County (“OCJ”) under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §
2000e et seq., for allegedly discriminating against
and harassing her due to her religious beliefs and union
activities. Doc. 46. The court previously dismissed
Martin's claims against Cook County (other than for
indemnification) and her state law claims. Docs. 89-90
(reported at 2018 WL 1942654 (N.D. Ill. Apr. 25, 2018)). With
discovery closed, Defendants move for summary judgment. Docs.
114, 118. Their motions are granted.
court recites the facts as favorably to Martin as the record
and Local Rule 56.1 permit. See Johnson v. Advocate
Health & Hosps. Corp., 892 F.3d 887, 893 (7th Cir.
2018). At this juncture, the court must assume the truth of
those facts, but does not vouch for them. See Gates v.
Bd. of Educ. of Chi., 916 F.3d 631, 633 (7th Cir. 2019).
employed Martin as an APD probation officer since 2001. Doc.
127-3 at ¶¶ 1-2; Doc. 127-4 at ¶ 4. Martin has
repeatedly received merit pay increases for exceeding her
supervisors' expectations. Docs. 146, 150 at ¶ 1.
APD, a division within OCJ, is located in the lower level of
the George N. Leighton Criminal Courthouse, which houses the
Circuit Court of Cook County's criminal division.
Id. at ¶ 9; Doc. 127-4 at ¶ 4.
probation officers are members of American Federation of
State, County and Municipal Employees (“AFSCME”)
Local 3486. Doc. 127-4 at ¶ 9; Doc. 127-3 at
¶¶ 7, 9. Martin has served as the Local's chief
steward since 2013 and its vice president since 2017. Docs.
146, 150 at ¶ 2. As chief steward, Martin handles labor
relations with APD management. Docs. 127-3, 127-4 at ¶
Anonymous January 2015 Anti-Union Letter to Martin
January 20, 2015, Martin found this note on her desk:
TO: THE UNION PERSONNEL
FROM: THE APD MANAGEMENT
THE NEW CHIEF HAS SPOKEN. IT'S A NEW DAY IN THE COOK
COUNTY ADULT PROBATION DEPARTMENT.
THE CHIEF IS NOT TAKING ANY MESS FROM THE UNION AND WE AS
MANAGERS WERE ALSO INSTRUCTED NOT TO TAKE ANY MESS FROM THE
WE WERE TOLD TO TAKE CONTROL BACK FROM THE UNION, BECAUSE THE
UNION DOES NOT RUN THIS DEPARTMENT. CHIEF, LAVONE HAYWOOD
SAID THAT IF YOU SAY ANYTHING THAT WE DO NOT AGREE WITH, THEN
WE ARE INSTRUCTED TO SHUT THE INVESTIGATION MEETING
THE UNION'S TIME IS UP!!!!!!!!
YOU DO NOT WORK FOR ASFSCME
YOU WORK FOR THE ADULT PROBATION DEPARTMENT!
YOU NEED TO DECIDED [sic] IF YOU WANT TO
RISK YOUR CHILDREN NOT EATING, BECAUSE YOU
ARE DEFENDING PEOPLE WHO DON'T DO THEIR WORK AND LIE
ABOUT AND JUSTIFY THEIR ACTIONS.
DO YOU WANT TO KEEP YOUR JOB AND CONTINUE TO FEED YOUR
Doc. 116-7; Docs. 127-3, 127-4 at ¶ 10. Although the
letter was not addressed to Martin, it was accompanied by a
sheet of paper with her name on it. Doc. 127-4 at ¶ 10;
Doc. 128-2 at ¶ 6; Doc. 83-6 at 1. The union's
president, James Dunaway, received an identical letter. Docs.
146, 150 at ¶ 11. Martin and Dunaway do not know who
wrote the letter but believe it came from APD management.
Doc. 127-4 at ¶ 11; Doc. 127-3 at ¶ 13; Docs. 146,
150 at ¶ 13.
APD Chief Probation Officer Lavone Haywood learned about the
letter, he told the rest of APD management that it was
unacceptable and that he would hold accountable anyone found
responsible. Doc. 127-3 at ¶ 3; Doc. 127-4 at ¶ 12;
Doc. 116-8 at 18. Although Haywood himself did not
investigate who wrote and sent the letter, he instructed
Assistant Chief Probation Officer Matthew Sobieski and Human
Resources Director Noreen Larson to do so. Doc. 127-3 at
¶¶ 4, 6; Docs. 146, 150 at ¶ 10. Over 100 APD
employees work in the Leighton Courthouse's lower level
without video surveillance, and the investigation never
discovered the letter's author(s). Doc. 127-3 at
¶¶ 12-13; Doc. 127-4 at ¶¶ 4-5, 11.
confidence in APD's investigation, Dunaway wrote to Cook
County Circuit Court Chief Judge Timothy Evans to complain
about the anti-union letter, describing it as a
“blatant attempt to threaten and intimidate the
union.” Docs. 146, 150 at ¶¶ 12, 14 (quoting
Doc. 83-7 at 1). (County Defendants object to Dunaway's
letter to Chief Judge Evans on relevancy and hearsay grounds.
Doc. 146 at ¶ 12. Dunaway's letter is not hearsay
for the purpose of showing that Chief Judge Evans was made
aware of the anti-union letter. See Fed. R. Evid.
801(c)(2); Daniel v. Cook Cnty., 833 F.3d 728,
735-36 (7th Cir. 2016) (“[T]he district court correctly
held that the Report could be offered for the non-hearsay
purpose of proving the sheriff knew of the problems described
in the report.”). Dunaway's letter is relevant for
the same reason.) Although Chief Judge Evans did not respond
to Dunaway in writing, he met with Martin and Dunaway on
January 28, 2015. Docs. 146, 150 at ¶ 15; Doc. 102-6 at
Fall 2015 Complaints ...