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Bass v. Joliet Public School District No. 86

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

March 26, 2014

CORINA BASS, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
JOLIET PUBLIC SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 86, Defendant-Appellee

Argued November 6, 2013.

Page 836

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 11 C 8136 -- John W. Darrah, Judge.

For Corina Bass, Plaintiff - Appellant: Steven H. Jesser, Attorney at Law, P.C., Skokie, IL.

For Joliet Public School District No. 86, Defendant - Appellee: Shelli L. Anderson, Franczek Radelet P.C., Chicago, IL.

Before WOOD, Chief Judge, and FLAUM and TINDER, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 837

Wood, Chief Judge.

For 10 years, Corina Bass worked as a custodian for Joliet Public School District No. 86. She lost her job in 2011. Believing that she was the victim of sex discrimination, she brought this action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq . The district court granted summary judgment in the District's favor, and Bass now appeals. We have taken a fresh look at the record (so called de novo review), but we conclude that the district court was correct: there are no genuine issues of material fact, and the District is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. We therefore affirm.

I

Bass worked for the District as a custodian from May 2001 until February 2, 2011. In April 2002, she was assigned to work the 2:00-10:30 pm shift at Cunningham Elementary School. At the time Cunningham was a single-floor building but in 2003 a second story was added on. The additional space was more than one employee could handle, and so the District assigned Lewis Pickens, a male, to Cunningham to work the same shift as Bass; Pickens was responsible for cleaning the new second floor. The second floor included

Page 838

19 classrooms and the library, while the first floor had 11 classrooms and the gym. The principal of Cunningham, Maria Arroyo, was Bass's direct supervisor from November 2008 until she was fired.

During the 2008-09 school year, the District hired an outside vendor, Pike Systems, to conduct a time-study of custodial duties at 11 of its schools. The study was supposed to shed light on how long different custodial tasks should take and to recommend measures that would improve efficiency. At Cunningham, Pike's work revealed that the tasks associated with the second floor took more time to complete than one shift permitted, while those for the first floor could be finished in less time than one shift. As a result, Pike recommended that the restrooms on the second floor be reassigned to the custodian responsible for the first floor. While Bass was on leave, the District had the substitute first-floor custodian try out the new arrangement (that is, clean both the entire first floor and the second floor restrooms). She was able to do so during her shift. As a result, the District approved the reassignment of the second-floor restrooms to the ...


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