Joseph L. Reed, Plaintiff-Appellant,
Freedom mortgage Corporation, Defendant-Appellee.
April 12, 2017
from the United States District Court for the Northern
District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. l:15-cv-00954 -
James B. Zagel, Judge.
POSNER, ROVNER, and WILLIAMS, Circuit Judges.
ROVNER, Circuit Judge.
L. Reed sued his former employer, Freedom Mortgage Company,
under the Illinois Human Rights Act, alleging race-based
discrimination. After concluding that Reed lacked evidence of
racial bias, the district court granted summary judgment in
favor of Freedom Mortgage. Reed challenges the court's
decisions on evidentiary matters as well as the court's
ultimate conclusion on summary judgment. We affirm.
Mortgage is a full service residential mortgage lender based
in New Jersey, with offices around the country. Reed and
co-worker Felicia Bates initially came to work for the
company as temporary employees from a staffing agency. On
November 1, 2012, Freedom Mortgage hired Reed and Bates as
full-time Broker Liaisons at its Downers Grove, Illinois
office at the recommendation of Regional Operations Manager
Cheryl Bidstrup. Reed and Bates reported directly to Bidstrup
who, in turn, reported to the Regional Branch Manager, Vickie
Sperry Reed and Bates are African-American and both Bidstrup
and Sperry are white.
regular hours of operation for the Downers Grove office were
8 a.m. to 5 p.m., although some employees worked other
schedules with the permission of senior management. Other
employees worked a different schedule in order to accommodate
accounts in other time zones. Freedom Mortgage had an
employee handbook that contained the company's official
Attendance Policy, which stated that seven or more absences,
late arrivals, or early departures in a twelve month period
could trigger disciplinary action, including termination of
employment. Reed understood that he was expected to start
work at 8 a.m. each day. He assumed that his co-workers were
all on the same schedule but he admitted that other employees
may have had permission to work alternate schedules of which
he was not aware.
January 21, 2013, Bidstrup sent an email to the twenty-nine
employees who reported directly to her:
Vickie and I pride ourselves on being flexible with our staff
and in making the Chicago branch a pleasant place to work.
Unfortunately, however, our good natured dispositions with
regard to the office atmosphere have been and are being taken
advantage of. Therefore, I find it necessary to reiterate the
• Our work hours are 8:00 am to 5:00 pm in the Downers
Grove physical location with an hour for lunch and 2-15
minute breaks. Any deviation from these hours or location
must be prior approved by Vickie or me. There will be no
further "setting your own hours" and assuming that
you can stay until 6:00 pm to make up for coming in at 9:00
• If you are going to be absent or late, you
must contact me prior to 8:00 am with the reason for
your absence or tardiness. If I am unavailable, your
voicemail message will be time stamped.
• The technical ability to work from home is to
be utilized for after-hours work only and only when needed.
Working from home during regular business hours must be
prior approved by Vickie or me and will only be approved
in an extreme emergency and is at our discretion.
There are only 3 Operations' employees who currently work
remotely on a regular basis and have been ...