United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JOHNSON COLEMAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Jonathan Berman brings this suit against YRC Freight,
alleging sexual harassment, disability discrimination, and
retaliation in violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act
(“IHRA”), and battery under Illinois common law.
Currently before the Court is YRC Freight's motion for
summary judgment  pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons explained below,
YRC Freight's motion is granted
following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted. YRC
Freight is a Delaware corporation with its principal place of
business in Kansas. Berman is an Illinois resident who began
working as a janitor in YRC Freight's Chicago Heights,
Illinois terminal in 2013.
was written up on July 18, 2014 based on a confrontation with
a co-worker. Berman received a written warning for yelling
profanities at a coworker as well as insubordination on
September 15, 2014. He received another written warning on
March 25, 2015, for violating a safety rule. Jennifer Wilson,
YRC Freight's Shift Operations Manager, issued a written
warning to Berman on July 16, 2015, for operating a jeep on
the property without wearing a seatbelt in violation of YRC
Freight's safety policy. Berman was written up on August
17, 2015 for being absent from work without any remaining
sick days. Wilson also issued a write up to Berman on August
25, 2015 for taking an unscheduled break.
his employment with YRC Freight, Berman reported to Larry
Postma. When Berman asked Postma for some equipment on one
occasion in May 2015, Postma wrapped his hands around
Berman's shoulder and stated: “Don't worry.
We'll take care of you and make sure you don't get
into any trouble.” Berman alleges that this exchange
occurred in front of co-workers. He testified that he was
offended by this incident (“May 2015 Incident”).
testified that while he was exiting a bathroom stall on July
23, 2015, Postma was standing outside the stall, looking at
him with his arms folded. Berman testified that he said
“hi” to Postma, immediately washed his hands, and
left the bathroom. That same day, Berman reported this
incident to YRC Freight's “EthicsPoint”
hotline as well as Margie Leahy, the Human Resources Manager.
The next day, Leahy met with Berman concerning this incident
(“Bathroom Incident”). Berman also informed Leahy
of another incident involving Postma in the lunchroom
(“Lunchroom Incident”). Berman stated that while
he was sitting in the lunchroom, Postma walked up behind him,
began massaging Berman's shoulders, and asked “how
are you doing?” Berman testified that he felt
Postma's penis on his back during what he described as a
“two-second exchange.” Leahy informed Berman that
she would investigate the allegations.
investigation revealed that: Postma was responsible for
checking the restrooms for graffiti; Postma had never been
accused of similar sexual conduct in his 36 years with YRC
Freight; and Berman could not identify any witnesses to the
Lunchroom Incident or the May 2015 Incident. After Leahy
informed Berman of his findings, he told her that he was
feeling paranoid and having trouble in his personal life.
began seeing nurse practitioner, Kathryn Cavitt (“Nurse
Cavitt”), at Benchmark Psychiatric Services in March
2015. Over the course of her treatment, Nurse Cavitt
diagnosed Berman with bipolar disorder and unspecified
psychosis. Berman checked into Chicago Behavioral Hospital on
August 10, 2015, where he reported that he had been drinking
heavily the past two weeks and felt paranoid about people at
work seeking to fire him. After being discharged from Chicago
Behavioral Hospital, Berman checked himself into an emergency
room at a local hospital and remained hospitalized until
August 13, 2015. Berman did not report to work from August
10, 2015 through August 14, 2015.
Berman filled out a claim for disability on August 26, 2015,
Nurse Kathryn Cavitt completed the medical portion of his
Proof of Claim and indicated that Berman was unable to
perform any work from August 26, through September 23, 2015.
Berman did not return to work on September 23, 2015.
Cavitt wrote a letter to YRC Freight on February 22, 2016,
stating that Berman would not be able to perform any work
with or without an accommodation. Nurse Cavitt further stated
that Berman would not be able to return to work in the
“foreseeable future” due to continued mental
health difficulties and struggles to adjust medications. As
Berman had been out since August 26, 2015, YRC Freight
considered this letter as a letter of voluntary resignation
from Berman. While ...