990 F.2d 333 (7th Cir. 1993), 92-2036, Weiss v. Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Chicago

Docket Nº:92-2036.
Citation:990 F.2d 333
Party Name:1 Wage & Hour Cas.2d (BNA) 587 Bonita L. WEISS, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. COCA-COLA BOTTLING COMPANY OF CHICAGO and Jerry Lawrence in his individual and corporate capacity, Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:April 06, 1993
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
 
FREE EXCERPT

Page 333

990 F.2d 333 (7th Cir. 1993)

1 Wage & Hour Cas.2d (BNA) 587

Bonita L. WEISS, Plaintiff-Appellant,

v.

COCA-COLA BOTTLING COMPANY OF CHICAGO and Jerry Lawrence in

his individual and corporate capacity, Defendants-Appellees.

No. 92-2036.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

April 6, 1993

Argued Dec. 8, 1992.

Page 334

Carmen Jones Mitchell, Christine L. Jones (argued), Law Office for Equal Justice, Chicago, IL, for plaintiff-appellant.

William R. Sullivan, Jr., Marian C. Haney (argued), Seyfarth, Shaw, Fairweather & Geraldson, Chicago, IL, for defendants-appellees.

Before CUDAHY and COFFEY, Circuit Judges, and ESCHBACH, Senior Circuit Judge.

ESCHBACH, Senior Circuit Judge.

Bonita L. Weiss ("Weiss") brought this action against the Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Chicago ("Coca-Cola") and one of its employees, Jerry Lawrence ("Lawrence"), under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. and the Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d). Weiss' complaint alleged claims of gender discrimination with respect to the following: (1) salary, (2) job transfers, (3) training, and (4) discharge, in addition to claims of (5) sexual harassment. All parties consented to resolution of this case by Magistrate Judge Bernard Weisberg, who granted summary judgment in favor of Coca-Cola on all claims. In this appeal, Weiss seeks review of Magistrate Judge Weisberg's summary disposition of each of her claims. We have jurisdiction over this final disposition pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291. We affirm.

I.

Weiss began employment at Coca-Cola on February 21, 1989, while she was on a two week vacation from her position as a shipping and receiving clerk at K-Mart Apparel Corporation. She was hired in the checker/inventory control position at a starting salary of $9.00 per hour.

Weiss describes a number of incidents of employment-related sexual harassment. By her second week, Lawrence, who was warehouse manager and one of Weiss' supervisors, began asking Weiss about her personal life and complimenting her, telling her how beautiful she was. By her fourth week, Lawrence began asking her for dates. Weiss told Lawrence that she would not have a sexual or dating relationship with a co-worker. Lawrence said he understood and went on about his business. Several weeks later, however, Lawrence asked Weiss to a wedding. Weiss also complains that Lawrence would jokingly call her a "dumb blond" when errors in her inventory counts would come out. She treated these statements as jokes, but stated that it bothered her when he called her that in front of other employees.

When Weiss had difficulties with a month-end inventory, she called Lawrence at home for assistance. Lawrence then called later from a bar to check on how the inventory was proceeding. He invited her to come to the bar when she was finished. Weiss went there with a friend and another co-worker. Lawrence bought them a drink, discussed their inventory problem, and they played darts. Lawrence later put his arm around Weiss' chair and tried to kiss her, but she pulled back, said she was leaving and went home. The next week, Lawrence placed "I love you" signs in Weiss' work area. Weiss threatened to report it to their supervisors if it ever happened again, but it did not. Weiss testified that Lawrence put his hand on her shoulder at least six times during her employment. On one occasion she objected, and he took his hand off of

Page 335

her shoulder. Finally, after having testified that Lawrence avoided her in June, Weiss later stated that Lawrence had approached her twice in the front office at Coca-Cola and tried to kiss her. She responded by pulling away and asking him to leave her alone.

Throughout her employment, Weiss had difficulty performing the inventory counts for which she was responsible. Weiss blames her performance problems on inadequate training, alleging that she had been promised eight weeks of training when she took the job but that she never received it. When Terry McCord ("McCord") was terminated for being absent without calling, Weiss attempted to transfer to the inbound checker/supervisor position that he had held, because she felt that her performance might be better there. Weiss alleges that she was turned down on account of gender. Weiss' continued performance problems eventually prompted her supervisors to compare one of her inventory counts with one they would perform. They warned Weiss that they would do this, telling her the exact date on which it would occur. Even with the advance notice, Weiss was unable to perform an accurate inventory count. For this reason, she was discharged. Weiss claims that this explanation for her discharge was a pretext for gender discrimination. After her discharge, Tim Bailey ("Bailey") assumed...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP