United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
JUNE E. ROUNDS-RHEAUME, Plaintiff,
JOHN C. DOWLING, BRIAN D. VAUGHAN, SANDRA K. PRISBE, CYNDA DEMONTIGNY, BARB WOEHRL, and BOARD OF REGENTS OF UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN SYSTEM, Defendants.
OPINION & ORDER
D. PETERSON, DISTRICT JUDGE.
plaintiff June E. Rounds-Rheaume is proceeding on retaliation
claims under Title VII and the First Amendment.
Rounds-Rheaume sent grievances to her union and various
government agencies about employment practices of her former
employer, the State of Wisconsin Hygiene Lab, which is part
of the University of Wisconsin. She alleges that defendants
retaliated against her by reprimanding and suspending her in
2004 and that they continued to retaliate even after her
resignation by intimidating her and interfering with her job
sides move for summary judgment. Dkt. 36 and Dkt. 45. All of
Rounds-Rheaume's claims based on events that occurred in
2004 are time-barred because she failed to file a timely
charge with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development
Equal Rights Division (ERD) or the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (EEOC). As for her claims based on the
events after her resignation, they fail on the merits.
Rounds-Rheaume adduces no evidence that any defendant
intimidated her or interfered with her job search. I will
grant defendants' motion and deny Rounds-Rheaume's
following facts are undisputed unless otherwise noted.
worked at the State of Wisconsin Hygiene Lab from 1978 to
2004. She held various positions, including the Lab Sample
Control and Receiving Technician position. Dkt. 40-17 and
Dkt. 40-18. The Lab is part of the University of Wisconsin,
and defendants John C. Dowling, Brian D. Vaughan, Sandra
Prisbe, Cynda DeMontigny, and Barb Woehrl are all current or
former employees of the University. The Lab and the
University are not legal persons, so they are not defendants
in this case; instead, defendant Board of Regents of the
University of Wisconsin System, which governs the University
and its programs, is Rounds-Rheaume's former employer.
Dkt. 19, at 4.
2004, Rounds-Rheaume was reprimanded and suspended for one
day without pay. Dkt. 52, ¶ 7. The parties dispute why.
Rounds-Rheaume contends that the University retaliated
against her for filing a grievance with her union asking for
a non-hostile, non-discriminatory workplace. Dkt. 40, ¶
11. According to defendants, Rounds-Rheaume was negligent in
her duties, failed to exercise good judgment, and was
discourteous to her coworkers, students, and the general
public. Dkt. 40-11, at 1. Rounds-Rheaume resigned in June
the years that followed, Rounds-Rheaume sent letters
complaining about the Lab to the Wisconsin Government
Accountability Board, the Wisconsin Attorney General's
Office, the Wisconsin Judicial Commission, the Wisconsin
Employment Relations Commission, the Wisconsin Department of
Natural Resources Water Division, and the Wisconsin Democracy
Campaign. She adduces only the letters she sent to the
Government Accountability Board and the Attorney
General's Office. Those letters reported, among other
things, Rounds-Rheaume's being unfairly reprimanded by
her supervisors, nepotism and inappropriate relationships
among her colleagues, and missing items at the Lab. Dkt.
40-24, at 2-3 and Dkt. 29-3, at 1. Rounds-Rheaume also filed
four charges with the ERD, claiming sex discrimination, age
discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation.
Rounds-Rheaume adduces her first, second, and fourth ERD
charges. Dkt. 40-1, at 1-3, Dkt. 40-2, at 1-2, Dkt. 40-4, at
1-2. The missing third ERD charge and letters to the
government agencies do not affect the analysis in this
contends that, even after she left the Lab, defendants
continued to retaliate against her in two ways. First, she
contends that Dowling, an attorney at the University of
Wisconsin Office of Legal Affairs, wrote her intimidating
emails. Dkt. 1, at 2-3. She states that Dowling criticized
her ERD charges and told her to direct all matters regarding
her employment disputes only to him. According to
Rounds-Rheaume, she found Dowling's emails so
intimidating that she lost confidence at her job interviews
and, as a result, did not get those jobs. Defendants concede
that Dowling wrote the emails, but they deny that
Dowling's emails intimidated Rounds-Rheaume.
Rounds-Rheaume contends that defendants retaliated against
her by interfering with her job search. In particular, she
states that she interviewed for security positions, but she
could not get those jobs because defendants failed to provide
accurate descriptions of her past positions at the Lab.
Rounds-Rheaume adduces copies of her past job descriptions
and a reference letter that the University's human
resources department prepared after she filed her ERD
charges. Dkt. 40-17; Dkt. 40-18; Dkt. 40-20. The job
description states, in pertinent part, that
Rounds-Rheaume's duties include “signing customers
in and preparing the appropriate badge and identifying
unusual packages or deliveries.” Dkt. 40-18, at 4.
Rounds-Rheaume states that the job description should have
included controlling entrance access and checking
visitors' IDs. Id.; Dkt. 40, ¶ 7. She also
adduces her own, unsworn statements to support the
proposition that these documents caused her prospective
employers' decision not to hire her. Dkt. 40-6, at 1-2.
Defendants deny having sent any job description or reference
letter to Rounds-Rheaume's prospective employers.
Defendants adduce individual defendants' declarations
that they had no contact with Rounds-Rheaume's
prospective employers. Dkt. 46, ¶¶ 3-5 (Vaughan);
Dkt. 47, ¶ 5 (Dowling); Dkt. 49, ¶ 5 (Prisbe); Dkt.
48, ¶ 6, 7 (DeMontigny); Dkt. 50, ¶ 5 (Woehrl).
They also adduce the declaration of DeMontigny, who states
that all reference requests at the University are forwarded
to her but she received none. Dkt. 48, ¶¶ 6-10.
court has subject matter jurisdiction over
Rounds-Rheaume's claims because they arise under federal
law. 28 U.S.C. § 1331.
district court must grant summary judgment when no genuine
issue of a material fact exists and the moving party is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a);
Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23
(1986). The court must view the evidence in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party, but “the nonmoving
party must come forward with specific facts showing that
there is a genuine issue for trial.” Armato v.
Grounds, 766 F.3d 713, 719 (7th Cir. 2014) (quoting
Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp.,
475 U.S. 574, 587 (1986)). To withstand summary judgment,
“a party may rely only on admissible evidence.”
Lewis v. CITGO Petrol. Corp., 561 F.3d 698, 704 (7th
Title VII ...