United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JOHNSON COLEMAN, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Sheryl Tolston-Allen brings this suit against the City of
Chicago alleging race discrimination, retaliation for
engaging in protected activities, and a hostile work
environment. Currently before the Court is the City's
motion for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56 of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons explained
below, the City's motion is granted in part and denied in
following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted. Sheryl
Tolston-Allen, an African American woman, began working in
the City's Department of Finance in 1996. On September
24, 2012, Tolston-Allen filed a complaint against the City
for Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”)
discrimination. This case was settled on August 12, 2014.
Tolston-Allen alleges that after her case settled, her
supervisor engaged in retaliatory conduct. Specifically,
Tolston-Allen asserts that Eugenia Iskos, a white woman,
began harassing her at work.
prepared a pre-disciplinary notice form, dated November 18,
2014, that identified several City employee policy violations
by Tolston-Allen including insubordination, loafing, sleeping
on duty, and other inappropriate conduct. Specifically, on
September 10, 2014, Tolston-Allen refused to meet with Iskos
regarding incorrectly filled time sheets, spoke loudly and
unprofessionally in an attempt to “make a scene,
” and made several personal phone calls. Iskos also
noted that on September 30, 2014, Tolston-Allen arrived late
without explanation, left customers on hold while she engaged
in excessive socializing, and made several personal phone
calls. Finally, Iskos wrote that on the morning of November
18, 2014, Tolston-Allen was socializing for a long period
although not on break. After a supervisor asked that the
socializing end, Tolston-Allen attempted to start an
argument. Tolston-Allen then made personal phone calls, where
she spoke loudly, used foul language, and disturbed the work
November 18, 2014 pre-disciplinary notice stated that
Tolston-Allen violated Rule 18 subsection 2, 23, 25, 29, 36,
38, 48, and 50 of the City's personnel rules.
Tolston-Allen denies that she violated any employment
policies. Iskos conducted a pre-disciplinary meeting with
Tolston-Allen on December 15, 2014. During the meeting, Iskos
discussed Tolston-Allen's employee violations and
recommended a one-day suspension. This recommendation was
supported by three other members of management. After
completing the union required process, Tolston-Allen was
suspended for one day on February 23, 2015.
January 15, 2015, Iskos issued a pre-disciplinary notice to
Tolston-Allen for submitting an edit sheet to a manager whom
she did not report to on January 9, 2015 and not complying
with the City's call-in policy on January 15, 2015. The
pre-disciplinary notice did not result in a suspension or
recommendation for a suspension. On April 27, 2015,
Tolston-Allen received a pre- disciplinary notice for
practicing law without a license. This notice did not result
in disciplinary action.
15, 2015, Wanda Mohead, a supervisor in the Revenue
Collections department sent an assignment to Tolston-Allen.
As Mohead was not her direct supervisor, Tolston-Allen sent
an email to her supervisor, Dana Bussie, stating that she
would not take an assignment from someone she had a
“case” against. After this was reported to
Anthony Smith, Manager of the Revenue Collections department,
he reminded Tolston-Allen that she was already warned that
complaining about work sent from an indirect supervisor was
inappropriate. Based on this incident, Smith submitted a
pre-disciplinary notice to Tolston-Allen on July 21, 2015 for
insubordination. After the union process, Tolston-Allen was
suspended for three days on August 31, 2015.
states that shortly following the settlement of her first
case, Iskos began following her around the office and staring
at her through the office windows. Although the timing is
unclear, sometime in 2013, Tolston-Allen alleges that when
she warned a supervisor that she would file an employment
grievance, Iskos responded stating “nobody is going to
help your black ass.” The City denies this occurrence.
On June 27 and June 28, 2013, Iskos sent an e-mail to
Tolston-Allen's direct supervisor, Dana Bussie, asking
her to monitor Toston-Allen's actions to ensure
compliance with workplace policies.
submitted a request for FMLA leave on January 9, 2015. On
January 14, 2015, she filed a Charge of Discrimination with
the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”) alleging race discrimination. On April
8, 2015, the City's Equal Employment Opportunity
(“EEO”) division received another complaint from
Tolston-Allen. On August 24, 2015, Tolston-Allen took an
unpaid leave of absence until December 16, 2015. When she
returned, Tolston-Allen was transferred to the Department of
Transportation, where she currently works.
filed this claim alleging that the City committed retaliation
against her for engaging in protected activities, race
discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000(e) et. seq., and subjected her to
a hostile work environment.