Case name: Skotnik v. Moraine Valley Community College, et al., No. 15‐cv‐11619 (N.D. Ill. 09/26/17).Ruling: The U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois granted summary judgment in favor of Moraine Valley Community College.What it means: To prevail in a disability‐discrimination suit, a terminated employee must prove her disability was the reason why she was fired.Summary: Moraine Valley Community College was aware that Renee Skotnik had a major depressive disorder when it hired her as a part‐time clerical employee in 1985.In October 2013, Skotnik allegedly asked several co‐workers whether they were scared of her. She was also: (1) involved in a verbal and physical altercation with a co‐worker that resulted in a police response and (2) reprimanded for leaving campus during her shift without permission.After she was terminated a few weeks later, Skotnik filed a suit claiming violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.The college filed a motion for summary judgment.Skotnik conceded that MVCC had ample grounds to fire her. However, she argued that there was an illegal motive behind her otherwise justifiable termination. In support of her position, Skotnik presented evidence that MVCC had an escalating system of discipline, and contended that the college skipped some disciplinary steps when it terminated her.But the district judge said Skotnik had not identified any evidence tending to show that MVCC had uniformly applied its progressive discipline system to other employees. She also ruled that even if the college violated its progressive discipline policy, there was no evidence suggesting an improper motive was involved.Skotnik next argued that her termination was based in part on a 2009 written warning that was issued as a result of falsified testimony. But the judge said Skotnik had failed to show that: (1) the 2009 warning contributed directly to her termination and (2) MVCC knew the 2009 warning was based on false testimony.Finally, Skotnik asserted that there was bad faith and a potential cover‐up because she proved that the college's memoranda supporting her termination were drafted after the decision to fire her had already been made.But the judge ruled that when and where the memoranda were prepared was irrelevant because the stated reasons for Skotnik's termination — disruptive and unprofessional behavior, leaving work without permission, and unsatisfactory performance — had already been set forth in the Notice of Proposed Disciplinary Action that had previously been provided to her.The judge granted summary judgment in favor of MVCC.
Campus Security Report – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 2018
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