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Monroe v. Consumers Energy

United States District Court, E.D. Michigan, Southern Division

October 19, 2017




         I. Introduction

         This is an employment case. Plaintiff Evangelene Monroe (Monroe), proceeding pro se, is suing defendants Consumers Energy and Rebecca Kosnik[2] claiming she was discriminated against in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12101-12213 stemming from a decision to have her undergo an independent medical examination (IME) following instances of aberrant behavior and work performance issues. Monroe claims that Consumers Energy improperly “regarded” her as disabled in requiring the IME.

         Before the Court is Consumers Energy's motion for summary judgment.[3] For the reasons that follow, the motion is GRANTED. This case is DISMISSED.

         II. Background

         The material facts as gleaned from the record follow.

         Monroe began working at Consumers Energy in May of 2000. At the time of the relevant actions, she was in the Gas Planning Department. Monroe's job involved the scheduling of gas related jobs. Beginning in 2010 and continuing through early 2016, Camille Powers (Powers) was Monroe's supervisor in the Gas Planning Department.

         In 2013, Powers gave Monroe a high profile assignment. Monroe struggled with the assignment despite having assistance from Powers. Eventually, Powers gave the assignment to another employee. Monroe was upset when Powers reassigned the assignment.

         Later in 2013, Powers began to notice work issues involving Monroe. Specifically Powers observed that Monroe was losing work focus and concentration which affected her work performance. Powers also observed that Monroe had became increasingly secretive towards her. Powers also noticed that Monroe was not interacting with her co-workers during staff meetings as she had in the past. Powers also noted that Monroe's work performance was significantly suffering but Powers did not know why.

         On November 27, 2013, Monroe filed a Code of Conduct complaint (complaint) with Consumers Energy's Compliance Department. In the complaint, Monroe stated that she was being tracked and surveilled by her co-workers. A sample of Monroe's allegations in the complaint follow:

• March 2013 - She believes employees began intercepting her personal text messages from her personal phone.
• April/May 2013 - She thinks listening devices were placed in her office to get information to use against her.
• June 2013 - She believes listening devices were placed at her desk by a co-worker and her conversations were overhead by Company employees. While at the Somerset Mall, she thought she saw her supervisor driving in the Mall parking lot looking for her.
• July 2013 - She thought she was being recorded in her cubicle.
• September 2013 - She believed she was being recorded via her personal phone and was being surveilled via cameras at work and at home.
• October 2013 - She thought her co-workers were taping her calls at work. She goes to the Apple Store and is told that this was not possible.
• November 11, 2013 - She thought two co-workers were recording her and that a listening device was installed in the office next to hers.
• November 13, 2013 - She goes to her home cable provider (Comcast) to determine if a sensor (surveillance device) was on her home cable service. Comcast tells her this has not occurred. She files a Police complaint against two of her co-workers.
• November 15, 2013 - She believes a GPS tracking device is installed on her car by her co-workers and her conversations were being listened to via the key FOB for her vehicle.

See Consumer's Energy Exhibit 2, Code of Conduct Complaint.

         As a result of the allegations in the complaint, Kathleen Delaney (Delaney), a Director in the Human Resources Department, conducted an investigation in early January of 2014. Delaney did not find any merit to any of Monroe's allegations against her co-workers regarding surveillance, recording and intercepting of calls and texts. As part of her investigation, Delaney also talked with Powers. Powers informed Delaney that Monroe had been losing work focus and concentration which negatively affected her work performance. Powers also told Delaney that Monroe was no longer interacting with her co-workers during staff meetings. Delaney then met with Monroe in late January 2014. During the meeting, Monroe insisted that her co-workers were tracking her as noted in her complaint.

         Due to the nature of the allegations, the results of the investigation, and Monroe's performance issues, Delaney arranged to have Monroe scheduled for an IME to determine if she was able to perform the essential functions of her job.

         A few days after the meeting between Delaney and Monroe, Powers found Monroe at her desk crying. Powers contacted Delaney who told Powers to place Monroe on paid sick leave. When Powers went back to tell Monroe, Monroe had left work. Powers ended up sending Monroe a letter telling her that she was on paid sick leave. Powers was later informed that earlier the same week Monroe had been found crying in a conference room.

         In February of 2014, Monroe had an Independent Neuropsychological Evaluation conducted by Dr. Jean-Claude Dutes, PhD, of MSU Rehabilitation. In his report issued in March of 2014, Dr. Dutes found that Monroe was having concentration issues and work efficiency issues. Dr. Dutes reported: “[t]here were indications of a high degree of interpersonal sensitivity, tendency toward paranoid thinking and difficulty in interpersonal relationships. This examinee is likely to appear guarded and suspicious of others...” Dr. Dutes recommended that, prior to returning to work, Monroe should complete 12 sessions of psychological counseling and then have a re-evaluation by her therapist. Following are excerpts from the report and addendum:

Mr. Steven Bush of Consumers' Energy referred the examinee, a 43-year-old African American woman, for this Independent Neuropsychological Evaluation due to reports of declining work performance and ...

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