United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. ROWLAND UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
January 2011, Loretta Weeden was terminated from her job at
that the University of Chicago Medical Center (UCMC) where
she had worked for more than eleven years. Weeden alleges
that UCMC discriminated against her based on her race, age,
sex and disability when she was terminated. UCMC argues that
it is entitled to judgment as a matter of law because Weeden
cannot establish a prima facie case of
discrimination or that her termination was pretextual based
on any of her claims. For the reasons stated below,
UCMC's motion for summary judgment  is granted.
judgment is proper where “the movant shows that there
is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant
is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a); see also Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). A genuine dispute as
to any material fact exists if “the evidence is such
that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the
nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The
substantive law controls which facts are material.
party seeking summary judgment has the burden of establishing
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact.
See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 323 (1986). After a
“properly supported motion for summary judgment is
made, the adverse party must set forth specific facts showing
that there is a genuine issue for trial.”
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250 (quotation omitted).
Construing the evidence and facts supported by the record in
favor of the non-moving party, the Court gives the non-moving
party “the benefit of reasonable inferences from the
evidence, but not speculative inferences in [its]
favor.” White v. City of Chi., 829 F.3d 837,
841 (7th Cir. 2016) (internal citations omitted). “The
controlling question is whether a reasonable trier of fact
could find in favor of the non-moving party on the evidence
submitted in support of and opposition to the motion for
summary judgment.” Id. (citation omitted).
began working at UCMC's Chicago Biomedicine Information
Services (CBIS) as a Data Center Operator and later became
Senior Data Center Operator. (Dkt. 77,
¶6). Weeden is female, African-American, and
was 62 years old at the time of her termination.
(Id. ¶2). Between 2008 and 2011, she reported
directly to Mark Benson and Steve Slowiak. (Id.
¶8). When Weeden was hired, UCMC provided her with a
copy of its Pay Recording Policy, and Weeden's direct
supervisor explained the policy to her. (Id.
¶9). Weeden was aware of, had access to, and understood
the terms of the policy throughout her employment with UCMC,
and knew she was obligated to comply with the policy.
(Id. ¶10). The Pay Recording Policy requires
employees to record their hours through a Time &
Attendance System. (Id. ¶11). The policy
states, in relevant part, “[a]n employee paid on a
bi-weekly basis must clock-in his/her own time at an approved
location as designated by his/her manager. Clocking another
employee's time or allowing someone to clock one's
own time is not permitted, and will be grounds for immediate
termination for a first offense.” (Id.
¶12). Weeden understood that UCMC's Pay Recording
Policy required her to clock in her own time, and that
clocking other employees in or out or permitting other
employees to clock her in and out, was a violation of the Pay
Recording Policy that could result in immediate termination
for a first offense. (Id. ¶15). No supervisory
or managerial employee ever instructed Weeden that deviation
from the Pay Recording Policy's requirement of recording
one's own time was permissible, and no supervisor ever
instructed her that employees were allowed to clock each
other in or out. (Id. ¶16). Weeden was aware
that with one exception not applicable here, employees
clocking other employees out was improper. (Id.
January 4, 2011, Weeden stated that at least five other
coworkers clocked her in or out on at least nine occasions.
(Id. ¶22). She said that at least one employee had
her Social Security number which he used “for
years” to clock her in or out. (Id. ¶23).
Before January 4, 2011, Weeden also clocked out at least one
other employee. (Id. ¶24). On January 4, 2011,
Plaintiff was scheduled to work from approximately 2:00 p.m.
to 10:30 p.m. with her co-worker Bill Lindmark. (Id.
¶29). She left at approximately 7:30pm but did not clock
out, told Mr. Lindmark she was going shopping and to do some
errands, and returned to work at 10:30pm to clock out.
(Id. ¶¶30-32). That day, Mr. Lindmark
emailed Mark Benson and informed him that Weeden had left
work to go shopping and did not return for more than two
hours. (Id. ¶33). The next day, Mr. Slowiak
began to investigate Weeden's time recording practices.
January 6, 2011, Weeden met with Mr. Slowiak and Sarah
Austin, then UCMC Manager of Employee and Labor Relations.
(Id. ¶38). At the meeting, Mr. Slowiak, Ms.
Austin, and Weeden discussed the allegation that Weeden had
clocked at least one other employee out and allowed another
employee to clock her out. (Id. ¶39). Weeden
admitted to Mr. Slowiak and Ms. Austin that she had violated
the Pay Recording Policy. (Id. ¶40). Weeden
admitted that she had clocked other employees out, and that
other employees had clocked her out. (Id. ¶41).
She did not tell Mr. Slowiak and Ms. Austin that she
experienced a “flareup” or other debilitating
condition that prevented her from returning to work on
January 4, 2011. (Id. ¶45). Because of
Weeden's admissions about her violations of the Pay
Recording Policy, UCMC offered her the opportunity to resign
in lieu of termination, which she declined. (Id.
¶47). UCMC then terminated her for violating the Pay
Recording Policy. (Id. ¶48).
same month, Mr. Lindmark met with Anthony Rubino, Director of
Technology and Infrastructure, and Ms. Austin to discuss
Weeden's allegation that Mr. Lindmark had clocked her out
in violation of the Pay Recording Policy. (Id.
¶50). During the meeting, Mr. Lindmark admitted that he
previously clocked Weeden out from work and had also
previously allowed her to clock him out from work.
(Id. ¶51). Based on Mr. Lindmark's admitted
violation of the Pay Recording Policy, UCMC offered Mr.
Lindmark the opportunity to resign in lieu of termination,
which Mr. Lindmark accepted. (Id. ¶52). Mr.
Lindmark is a white non-disabled male, and he was 59 years
old when he resigned. (Id. ¶53).
still employed at UCMC, Weeden had regular conversations with
her co-workers about when she might be retiring.
(Id. ¶65). Mr. Slowiak asked Weeden three times
in 2009 and 2010 when she intended to retire because he
wanted to give her a party. (Id. ¶66). Weeden
testified that she could not describe the bases of her
disability claim, and that the condition she considered a
disability in 2011 was her hip, for which she never requested
an accommodation from UCMC. (Id. ¶67).
Compliance with Local Rule 56.1
argues that Weeden's submissions do not comply with Local
Rule 56.1 and her pro se status does not excuse her
non-compliance. (Dkt. 77). The Court has discretion to require
strict compliance with the local rules and “even pro se
litigants must follow these rules.” Welcher-Butler
v. Brennan, 619 Fed.Appx. 550, 550 (7th Cir. 2015)
(citations omitted). See also Coleman v. Goodwill Indus.
of Se. Wis., Inc., 423 Fed.Appx. 642, 643 (7th Cir.
2011) (“Though courts are solicitous of pro se
litigants, they may nonetheless require strict compliance
with local rules.”) (citations omitted). Local Rule
56.1 requires, among other things, the party opposing summary
judgment provide “a response to each numbered paragraph
in the moving party's statement, including, in the case
of any disagreement, specific references to the affidavits,
parts of the record, and other supporting materials relied
upon.” The Court will not outright strike or disregard
Weeden's Local Rule 56.1 responsive statement, however,
as discussed in footnote 2, supra, the Court deems a
number of UCMC's facts admitted because of Weeden's
responses. As for her statement of material facts (Dkt. 68),
Weeden did not fully comply with Local Rule 56.1. Under
“Material Fact”, she states that she served
discovery about the alleged video evidence and recites
UCMC's response, and otherwise lists as material facts
her characterization of UCMC's arguments on summary
judgment. In addition to not being compliant with Local Rule
56.1, Weeden's statements in response to summary judgment
are not relevant and/or not supported by admissible evidence.
While the Court liberally construes Weeden's pleadings
and draws ...