United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
KEVIN T. CYRUS, Plaintiff,
CHICAGO TRANSIT AUTHORITY, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JOHNSON COLEMAN, UNITED STATES JUDGE.
Kevin Cyrus brings an amended complaint against Chicago
Transit Authority (“CTA”) alleging employment
retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. Currently before the
Court is CTA's motion for summary judgment . For the
reasons explained below, CTA's motion is granted.
following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted. CTA is
a municipal corporation in Chicago, Illinois. Cyrus began
working for CTA on January 13, 2014 as a Maintenance Manager
(“M1”). From January 13, 2014 until August 24,
2014, Cyrus worked as an M1 in the “Bus
Maintenance” department. Cyrus was voluntarily
transferred to “Rail Maintenance” on August 24,
2014 and was assigned to CTA's Howard Shop facility
(“Howard Shop”). Cyrus reported to Jeffrey Bell,
Thomas Dietrich, Thomas Matuszak, and Donald Bonds.
Cyrus' duties as a manager included entering information
in the Maintenance Management Information System
(“Maintenance System”) as well as generating
reports to ensure CTA followed safety hazards. CTA conducts
periodic inspections (every 30-120 days) as well as annual
inspections of their rail vehicles. Annual inspection
managers are required to update the Maintenance System with a
code detailing the number of days and miles since the last
job shadow training, Cyrus was assigned to the Howard Shop to
perform annual inspections during the morning shift. Bell
drafted a written warning on October 27, 2014 regarding
Cyrus' performance difficulties and stated that Cyrus had
problems with: performing his assignments without help from
other managers, designating time to learn from managers,
using the Maintenance System properly, and following
instructions. This written warning was not issued to Cyrus
but was sent to Dietrich, one of the General Managers of Rail
sent an e-mail to Dietrich on December 18, 2014, concerning
an altercation between him and co-worker Thomas Hojnacki.
Cyrus also complained about profanity and unprofessionalism
at the Howard Shop and being in a hostile work environment.
informed Bell and Dietrich on December 18, 2014 that he was
meeting with Rita Kapadia, the Equal Employment Opportunity
(“EEO”) office investigator, regarding
altercation. In the meeting, Cyrus specified that he had
negative interactions with Bell since October 2014 and
believed he was being harassed by Bell because of his race.
Cyrus also filed a formal complaint with CTA's EEO office
that same day. After an investigation, Kapadia issued a
report which concluded that Cyrus' claims were not
Cyrus' e-mail and complaint, Dietrich and Bell sought
investigatory memos concerning Cyrus from other M1s at the
Howard Shop. The majority of memos Dietrich received admitted
that profanity was used but was not directed towards Cyrus in
particular. In the opinions of several M1s, Cyrus was not
performing all the duties assigned to him.
and Dietrich met with Cyrus on January 13, 2015 to discuss
performance issues. The statement memorializing the meeting
included several issues by Cyrus including: his failure to
properly inspect the rails and maintain daily reports;
leaving his responsibilities to be performed by other shifts;
not responding to the CTA assigned pager; and failing to make
service requests in the Maintenance System. The document
stated that further incidents would result in discipline.
Later that same day, Bell sent an e-mail to Cyrus regarding
improper documentation during his shift.
next month, Seth Wilson, Director of Human Resources, issued
a Notice of Written/Performance Improvement Plan citing
several continued performance deficiencies. Included in the
February 26, 2015 memo were problems such as Cyrus'
failure to properly document inspections, generate required
reports, properly request time off, and properly discipline a
subordinate on his shift. The Improvement Plan stated that
Cyrus' conduct violated Rules 7, 14, and 24 of CTA's
General Rules book.
was assigned to work at a different shop than usual (on
98th street) on March 15, 2015. While there, Cyrus
found a set of CTA keys, a radio, and a pager (“CTA
equipment”) in a restroom locker. Cyrus took the CTA
equipment home with him at the end of his shift. The next
day, Matt Bianciotto (a fellow rail manager) alerted Cyrus
that the CTA equipment was his. Cyrus returned the CTA
equipment a few days later. Several members of management met
with Cyrus concerning the CTA equipment on March 20, 2015
(“98th Street Incident”).
filed a complaint with CTA's EEO office on March 23,
2015, alleging that he was being retaliated against for his
December 2014 complaint. It is unclear whether an
investigation occurred following this complaint or whether
the complaint was found to be substantiated by CTA's EEO
Matuszak became Rail Maintenance General Manager in April
2015, he met with Cyrus after being informed by some of his
(and other M1s') performance deficiencies. Cyrus received
a Final Written Warning document and was suspended for ten
days for misconduct on June 15, 2015. The Final Written
Warning stated that Cyrus committed several violations
including: taking CTA equipment (during the 98th
Street Incident), failing to properly document inspections,
not updating the Maintenance System, and failing ...