plaintiffs verified complaint and demand for jury trial

Latabitha Bryant

10736 Lamon Ave

Oak Lawn, IL 60453

(773) 791 5364

Plaintiff in pro per



LAtabitha bryant,Plaintiff, vs. EDWARD HINES JR. VA HOSPITAL; AND DENIS R. MCDONOUGH, SECRETARY, DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS (VETERANS’ HEALTH ADMINISTRATION),Defendants. Case No.: Numberplaintiff’s verified complaint and demand for jury trial

Plaintiff Latabitha Bryant (“Plaintiff”), pro se, brings and hereby submits this complaint against Defendant Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital (“Defendant”), and in support thereof, aver as follows:


This is an action for discrimination, retaliation and harassment perpetrated by Defendant’s employees and/or agents. Defendant is vicariously liable for the actions of its agents and/or employees. For the foregoing causes of action and others discussed herein, Plaintiff seeks compensation among other remedies outlined in this Complaint.


This Court has subject matter jurisdiction under 28 U.S. Code § 1331 (federal question); 28 U.S.C. § 1343 (civil rights); 29 U.S.C. § 626(c) (civil actions); 29 U.S.C. § 791 (employment of individuals with disabilities); 42 U.S.C § 1981 (equal rights); 42 U.S.C. § 1988 (vindication of civil rights); and 42 U.S.C. § 12117 (enforcement).

Venue is proper in this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1391(b); and 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(3). The facts and causes of action described herein took place in the State of Illinois.


Plaintiff Latabitha Bryant, is a citizen of the State of Illinois and a resident of Cook County. Plaintiff is an African American female has been employed with the Department of Veteran Affairs for almost 12 years. The plaintiff was hired full-time in September 2010. In 2012, the Plaintiff requested to go from working 80 to 72 hours a pay period, to meet her family needs. This request changed the plaintiff status from full-time to part-time, however the plaintiff was able to maintain all her full-time benefits. The Plaintiff worked 72 hours a pay-period from 2012-2015. Unfortunately, in 2015, the plaintiff husband became ill, and again to meet the needs of her family the Plaintiff requested to job share with another employee who also needed to work part-time. In 2015, the Plaintiff hours were reduced from 72 hours a pay period to 40 hours a pay period.

Defendant United States Department of Veterans Affairs is a federal agency mandated with providing life-long healthcare services to eligible military veterans at veterans’ affairs medical centres and clinics located throughout the country.


From July 2019-October 2020, the plaintiff endured racial discrimination, disparate treatment, hostile work environment, and retaliation from her nurse manager, Reena Varkey.

April 2019, Reena Varkey, a female of Asian descent, became the new manager responsible for several LPN including the Plaintiff. Within the same month, the Plaintiff expressed to Mrs. Varkey that she was interested in taking up a full-time shift, to which Mrs. Varkey was agreeable.

April 2019, there were 6 unfilled LPN available. (See Exhibit A)

6 positions were vacant at that time

1 will became open for a temporary position once the employee started in the upcoming month or so.

May 2019 when asked by the manager and staff asked the Plaintiff to work extra shifts, the plaintiff was happy to help.

After weeks of working extra shifts, the Plaintiff realized the much-needed help on the unit and expressed her interest in going back full-time to Varkey.

May 28th and May 31st, 2019, during a staff meeting Varkey never mentioned anything regarding any vacate position. (See exhibit B)

June 24th and June 28th, 2019, noted in staffing meeting that she was interviewing for temporary LPN position, to replace the employee who was accepted in the VANEEP program. (See exhibit C)

Varkey announced the hiring of Shyni Kurien, LPN

No announcement of any other open vacancies

Never any mention of postings on USA JOBS

July 2019, after returning from vacation the plaintiff reminded Varkey of her interest in filling one of the vacate full-time position. Varkey told the Plaintiff she will be reaching out to HR to see what needed to be done.

July 2019, no staff meeting was held

August 22, and 26th, 2019, during staffing meeting Varkey announced several open positions, one of those vacancies was for a full-time, LPN position, however, Varkey mentioned interviewed were already completed. (See Exhibit D)

Never any mention of postings on USA JOBS

Plaintiff again mentioned to the Varkey of her interest in any full-time position.

Varkey again told Plaintiff “She was waiting on HR”.

August-September 2019, Varkey filled several of the 6 vacate LPN positions (See Exhibit E),

none of which were announced during staffing meeting or any mention of posting on USAJOBS.

On August 4th, 2019, Shyni Kurien, female of Asian descent was hired to work a full-time day shift.

On September 3rd, 2019, Arthur Deguzman, male of Asian descent was hired to work a full-time night shift.

On September 29, 2019, Jon Piramide, male of Asian descent was hired to work a full-time night shift.

On September 29, 2019, Shalimol Saju, female of Asian descent was hired to work a full-time night shift.

October 15, 2019, Kiranben Patel, female of Asian descent was hired to work a 24-month temporary full-time Day shift position

October 20, 2019, Daudo Sezo, male (non-African American), exact race unknown.

September 2019, the Plaintiff once again reminded Mrs. Varkey of her interest to convert to a full-time shift. The Plaintiff went further to explain that she was willing to take any full-time shift available, be it a day shift or a night shift. Again, Mrs. Varkey received the information with positivity and eagerness to grant the request.

All employees hired above was trained and precepted by Plaintiff, at Varkey request as well as two other LPNs currently on the unit who are currently working as Registered Nurses, and many other newly hired LPNs throughout the past ten years.  

The Plaintiff has demonstrated excellent performance of her duties and responsibilities while under the employment of the Defendant, as noted in all Plaintiff evaluations. The Plaintiff has been recognized for her contributions and as a result has received several awards.

The Plaintiff has not once been the subject of any disciplinary proceedings or action while she has been employed by the Defendant.

Though the Plaintiff was disappointed that she was not selected to take up a full-time shift despite her discussions with Mrs. Varkey, she remained positive and hopeful while continuously working full-time hours at Mrs. Varkey request. The Plaintiff was confident Varkey will act towards her request regarding the last vacant position. (See Exhibit F )

On or about February 11th, 2020, Mrs. Varkey sent out an email with an invitation to apply for a day shift position with a deadline of February 21st, 2020. The Plaintiff acted on the opportunity and happily submitted her resume to be considered for the position. (See Exhibit G)

March 12th 2020, Varkey called Plaintiff to schedule interview for the following day on.

for that same day and couldn’t come in the following day on March 13th, 2020, for the interview.

The Plaintiff informed Varkey she was schedule to have foot surgery and informed Varkey she would not be able to make it because the plaintiff was told she may need to stay off her foot till her follow up appointment.

March 13th, 2020, the Plaintiff called Varkey to update her on the surgery and her doctors’ orders to not return to work until follow-up appointment.

Varkey told Plaintiff she would approve her Sick Leave, but she had to come in to interview on 3/16 or the position would have to go to someone else. ( See Exhibit H)

March 16th, 2020, despite the doctor’s directions, the Plaintiff attended the interview as scheduled. At the conclusion of the interview the Plaintiff was notified that she will receive a notice from HR advising on the results of her interview.

Against doctors’ orders Plaintiff attended interview.

On or about April 4th, 2020, Plaintiff returned to work after she had fully recovered from the surgical procedure.

On or about April the end of April, 2020, the Plaintiff came into the knowledge that the position had been filled. The successful candidate was a temporary employee of Asian descent with no more than six months spinal cord injury experience, compared to the Plaintiff’s ten years plus.

The very same day, Mrs. Varkey, and not HR, informed the Plaintiff that she does not know why HR has not contacted her but unfortunately, she had to give the last LPN position to a MORE QUALIFIED PERSON. Furthermore, Mrs. Varkey informed the Plaintiff the successful candidate had a family and deserved to get the position. Aside from that, no official reason was given.

The Plaintiff was bewildered by this information because she too has a family, she had the relevant experience, and above all else she had demonstrated sacrifice and commitment.

The Plaintiff expressed her doubts and concern for the criteria used to select the successful candidate. Equally so, the Plaintiff expressed that she too has a family and was extremely concerned about surviving during the COVID-19 pandemic. Mrs. Varkey advised the Plaintiff not to worry as her hours will remain the same.

Mrs. Varkey continued to urge the Plaintiff to remain patient, and she will “investigate it and I should be hearing from HR with the final decision.

For then next month the Plaintiff awaited notification from HR.

May 24th, 2020, Lilium Garcia, a temporary employee and a female of Hispanic descent was hired by Mrs. Varkey.

Plaintiff expressed her frustration and disappointment with Mrs. Varkey and the criteria used by Mrs. Varkey. This issue was escalated, and the Plaintiff requested to meet with Varkey and Union representative.

May 28th, 2020, the Plaintiff and Mrs. Varkey both met, a union representative was present. However, the two were not able to have a consensus of the mind.

May 29th, 2020, one day after union after the union meeting, a follow up was made by the Union Representative. During this session, Mrs. Varkey informed the Plaintiff that as of pay period 13, the Plaintiff’s hours will be cut back down to 40 hours, but Mrs. Varkey will allow the Plaintiff to work 48 hours due to 12-hour shift scheduling contrary to what she had earlier assured the Plaintiff would not happen. Furthermore, she asserted that there are no more LPN positions available for the Plaintiff to be considered. In retaliation hours were reduced after union grievance was initiated.  In this same email Varkey mentioned receiving the Plaintiff name from the USAJOBS certification list. This was impossible because the Plaintiff had no knowledge of any USAJOBS announcement posted. As Varkey had only told the Plaintiff to email her resume and was never told of any job posting. See Exhibit

Varkey cited Plaintiff hours would be cut back down to 40 hours, due to low census. This was never mentioned before meeting with the union rep. Hours never had to be personally approved before meeting with the union representative. Scheduling was done by a staff appointed by Varkey to handle scheduling. The scheduler would let me know if open shift and ask if I was available. The schedule draft would be then given to Varkey and she would approve the schedule made by the scheduler. Varkey never got involved unless overtime needed to be approved.

June 19th, 2020, Plaintiff reached out to Jon Bisard, via email and notified him of the situation. Per email Bisard informed Plaintiff she has 45 day from the day of the discriminatory act or the last day of events. (Exhibit I)

After July 7th, 2020, Varkey would not approve the Plaintiff to work any extra shifts.

Despite the needs of the veterans Varkey would force staff to work short or pull from other units.

July ???  Varkey sent off an email notifying staff that several staff were being reassigned to SCI-N. Two of those staff were part-time and was reassigned to Full-time, both in which s were of Asian descent. Sony, Herra and Robin, Sindhu (see exhibit J) Neither of those employees were subject to reapplying and interviewing. By this time the relationship between Mrs. Varkey and the Plaintiff had eroded significantly. As such Mrs. Varkey began to influence and cause other staff to disassociate with the Plaintiff.

After receiving the email in July, it was clear to the plaintiff that Varkey was not hiring her because she was African American.

Sometime in July Plaintiff was accepted in nursing school and went to Varkey to ask if she can sign the manager input form so the Plaintiff can apply for tuition reimbursement.

The Plaintiff again informed Varkey that she was interested in any shifts available and work whenever needed. Varkey told Plaintiff to leave her papers with her and she would let her know when they were ready. Plaintiff informed Varkey she would be forced to pay for school out of pocket and she desperately need a full-time job so she could take care of  her family and pay for school. Student loans would not be the best option for her. Varkey never signed the input forms.

August 11th, 2020, Plaintiff filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).

Within a few weeks after filing her EEO complaint, Plaintiff was told by Varkey that she would open a vacancy for the Plaintiff if she was willing to “let this whole thing go”. Plaintiff was baffled and didn’t know what to do because she really needed the job.

Withing a week a Plaintiff had to go back to Varkey to ask if she approved her paperwork. Varkey handed her the paperwork and reminded her if she wanted the position, it was hers. Plaintiff asked Varkey why she could not just give the job to her if indeed it was hers, and why she was making Plaintiff go through all that. Plaintiff asked her why she was trying to embarrass or humiliate her.  

August 20, 2020, Plaintiff agreed to mediation. The first meeting was meeting was scheduled for 9/23/2020. However, the Plaintiff was to wait to receive her FOIA request. Via email, Plaintiff informed Tammy Brewington of the situation and told her Mrs. Brewington gave me a month to get the needed info. The FOIA office roof had collapsed, and staff had to relocate, so it was taking a little longer. (See Exhibit K)

August 22nd and August 26, 2020, Varkey held a staff meeting, during that meeting she announced another new opening for a FT LPN. Despite, the fact over the last few months July-August Varkey noted no shifts available. Plaintiff wondered how Varkey was hiring more staff if there were no open shifts. For months Plaintiff was told there were no extra shift and told there will be no more open position (See Exhibit L)

Once Plaintiff received the FOIA information, she immediately called Mrs. Brewington and they rescheduled another meeting.

Several ADR mediations were rescheduled after my initial rescheduling. None was rescheduled at the fault of the Plaintiff.

August 2020 staff meeting, Varkey announced a new LPN, and stated it would be posted on USAJOBS. (See Exhibit M)

On November 23rd, 2020, the Plaintiff filed her Complaint.

All conditions precedent to the filing of this action have been performed.

Sometimes in August 2020, the Plaintiff lodged a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) raising issues of discrimination and hostile workplace. The Plaintiff equally notified the Defendant of the matter before the EEOC.

An ADR mediation meeting was scheduled with the Plaintiff and Mrs. Varley for October 21st, 2021.

On or about October 2nd, 2020, Mrs. Varkey informed the Plaintiff of a vacant full-time LPN position that was created to accommodate the Plaintiff’s request for a full-time position.

Within days of the new job posting several staff started texting me saying Reena told them to call Plaintiff to let her know about the open position. A few co-workers told Plaintiff that Varkey stated she didn’t get the previous job because she didn’t apply. (Exhibit N)

Mrs. Varkey offered the Plaintiff the position on condition that the Plaintiff withdraw the EEOC complaint. The Plaintiff rejected the offer for reason that it was not a genuine offer, but one meant to conceal the unfairness of Mrs. Varkey’s selection process.

On or about October 14th, 2020, a notice was issued advising employees that the application period for the newly created LPN position had ended.

Shortly after the LPN application period ended, ADR mediation was rescheduled per Mrs. Varkey’s request.

On or about October 23rd, 2020, despite Plaintiff’s reservation she did submit her application for the position, Mrs. Varkey approached the Plaintiff and urged the Plaintiff to attend an interview for the position on October 29th, 2020. (See Exhibit O)

The Defendant was aware of the pending investigation regarding the complaint with EEO. As such the Plaintiff informed Mrs. Varkey that she was unavailable to interview on October 29th, 20202 and requested via email that the interview be rescheduled after November 4th, 2020, ADR to allow the mediation process to run its course. Again, true to Mrs. Varkey’s character, she insisted that the interview must proceed as scheduled, failure of which the Plaintiff would not be considered for the position.  (Exhibit P)

The Plaintiff maintained her position and did not attend the interview, due fear of continued mistreatment after text messages and emails were sent to the Plaintiff only a few days prior, revealing concerning and disturbing accusations regarding Mrs. Varkey’s hiring practices. (See Exhibit Q)

October 28th, 2020, the Plaintiff received emails from an anonymous source displaying emails from Whitney Tower-Woods to Patel. Dated back to February 2019, Whitney was instructed by Reena to coach Patel for her interview back in March. There was also an email showing a recommendation letter that Varkey wrote for Patel on get behave. (See Exhibit) When Plaintiff asked Varkey about the email and recommendation letter, she admitted asking Whitney to help Patel and that she also wrote the letter. She noted she must write that for all new hires. Plaintiff asked Varkey why Whitney was allowed to sit on the panel if she was coaching the other candidate. That was a huge unfair advantage for the other candidate. (See Exhibit P)

October 30th, 2020, the Plaintiff was notified that she was not selected for the position. However, it was apparent that no other candidate was selected for the position.

November 2nd, Plaintiff received Right to file Formal Compliant. She immediately emailed Stacey Porter to inform her the wrong date was on the forms was wrong; the date should have been July 7th. Plaintiff also informed her of the most recent incident of Varkey trying to manipulate her into dropping the EEO complaint. Plaintiff informed Stacey of how she was unfairly not selected to fill the October vacancy that was posted by Varkey. Plaintiff was told since it was a similar situation to the one she was filing, she could not file another complaint with the same charges. Due to the non-selection in March, Plaintiff’s hours were not reduced until July 7th, 2020, and that was the first day of an adverse action due to Varkey discriminatory hiring towards African American.

On November 23rd, 2020, the ADR mediation took place and it was agreed that a follow up meeting was supposed to occur to allow Mrs. Varkey to furnish copies of the policies and procedures she claims to follow when hiring new staff.  No follow up was ever done to submit copies of policies followed by Defendant.  

On or about December 22nd, 2020, the EEO issued a determination dismissing the Plaintiff’s complaint for untimeliness and failure to state a claim.

Plaintiff filed a timely EEOC appeal. EEOC waived the untimely filing of the right to file. However, the case was dismissed due to untimely connect with an EEO counselor. Plaintiff filed her initial compliant within the timelines. There were several events that occurred that led her to file. EEOC dismissed the case without considering all events that occurred from March 2020 to October 2020.  EEOC sent their final judgment on 5/24/2020. EEOC noted  that the arising circumstances of the complaint were indeed suspect of discrimination.

Staff began belittling the Plaintiff and saying Reena Varkey was doing her best and she should just leave it alone, because Varkey was doing the best she could.

Varkey has told and continues to tell untruths about Plaintiff and tell the staff that all of it was her fault because Plaintiff should have done what she told me to. She stated that Plaintiff was incompetent during her job, that’s why she had to pick someone else. For 2 years Varkey continued to defame Plaintiff’s professionalism and staff continued to harass me to just leave Varkey alone.  Varkey also admitted in an email that Plaintiff need to only look for jobs she qualified for, insinuating that she doesn’t have the skills needed to work in SCI, although Plaintiff has had a very productive and successful career working as a caring nurse in the acute care setting.



Race-based Discrimination and Harassment in Violation of the IHRA, 775 ILCS 5/2-102(A)

Plaintiff incorporates by reference all prior paragraphs.

In Texas Dept. of Community Affairs v. Burdine, 450 US 248 (1981), it was held as follows: “The burden of establishing a prima facie case of disparate treatment is not onerous. The plaintiff must prove by a preponderance of the evidence that she applied for an available position for which she was qualified, but was rejected under circumstances which give rise to an inference of unlawful discrimination. The prima facie case serves an important function in the litigation: it eliminates the most common nondiscriminatory reasons for the plaintiff’s rejection. See Teamsters v. United States, 431 U. S. 324, 358, and n. 44 (1977). As the Court explained in Furnco Construction Corp. v. Waters, 438 U. S. 567, 577 (1978), the prima facie case “raises an inference of discrimination only because we presume these acts, if otherwise unexplained, are more likely than not based on the consideration of impermissible factors.” Establishment of the prima facie case in effect creates a presumption that the employer unlawfully discriminated against the employee. If the trier of fact believes the plaintiff’s evidence, and if the employer is silent in the face of the presumption, the court must enter judgment for the plaintiff because no issue of fact remains in the case.”

As described above, the Defendant discriminated against Plaintiff based on her race, African American, in violation of the IHRA, 775 ILCS 5/2-102(A). The Defendant’s discriminatory actions included treating Plaintiff’s request and applications for full-time positions less favorably, in contrast to persons of the same descent as Mrs. Varkey. Plaintiff suffered injury, both economic and otherwise, including emotional distress, because of the Defendant’s discrimination.

Plaintiff is a member of a protected class.



Plaintiff incorporates by reference all prior paragraphs.

A plaintiff may establish unlawful retaliation using either the direct or indirect method of proof. Humphries, 474 F.3d at 404. Under the direct method, Stephens must demonstrate that (1) he engaged in a statutorily protected activity; (2) he suffered a materially adverse action by his employer; and (3) a causal connection exists between the two. Argyropoulos, 539 F.3d at 733; Humphries, 474 F.3d at 404. Under the indirect method, the first two elements remain the same, but instead of proving a direct causal link, the plaintiff must show that he was performing his job satisfactorily and that he was treated less favorably than a similarly situated 787*787 employee who did not complain of discrimination. Argyropoulos, 539 F.3d at 733.

Retaliation in Violation of the IHRA, 775 ILCS 5/6-101(A)

As described above, the Defendant retaliated against the Plaintiff by (1) cutting her work hours despite giving assurance that the Plaintiff’s work hours will remain the same pending her conversion to a full-time employee, and (2) by turning fellow staff against the Plaintiff for lodging a complaint against the Defendant for unfair recruitment practices. Plaintiff suffered injury, both economic and otherwise, including emotional distress, as a result of the Defendant’s retaliation.

Retaliation in Violation of Title VII, 42 USC § 2000e-3(a)

Plaintiff incorporates by reference all prior paragraphs.

As described above, the Defendant retaliated against Plaintiff for raising concerns of unfair hiring practices after being Plaintiff was denied converting from a part-time employee to a full-time employee.

As described above, the Defendant retaliated against Plaintiff for lodging a complaint against the Defendant by turning staff against the Plaintiff.

Plaintiff suffered injury, both economic and otherwise, including emotional distress, because of the Defendant’s retaliation.

Retaliation in Violation of the FLSA, 29 USC § 215(a)(3)

Plaintiff incorporates by reference all prior paragraphs.

As described above, the Defendant retaliated against Plaintiff in violation of the FLSA, 29 USC § 215(a)(3). The Defendant retaliated against Plaintiff for asserting her rights to reasonable recruitment policies and procedures, and for complaining when the Defendant deprived her of these rights. The Defendant’s retaliatory actions included cutting the Plaintiff’s hours after giving reassurance the hours will be maintained; and turning staff against the Defendant for complaining and asserting her rights under the law.

Plaintiff suffered injury, both economic and otherwise, including emotional distress, because of the Defendant’s retaliation.


REASONS WHEREFORE, PREMISES CONSIDERED, Plaintiff respectfully requests that this Court award her:

  1. A declaratory judgment that the Defendant has violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act;
  2. A permanent injunction enjoining the Defendant from continuing its practices of race-based discrimination, retaliation in employment, and unlawful denials of reasonable accommodations, and requiring the Defendant to submit a plan detailing how it will address these violations and end its discriminatory practices and implement such plan;
  3. General damages in the sum of $_________;
  4. Punitive damages;
  5. Pre-judgment and post-judgment interest on the above damages;
  6. Costs of this suit and litigation expenses;
  7. Such equitable relief as this Court deems fair; and
  8. Such other and further relief as the Court deems just and proper.

Dated this ____ day of February, 2022.

Respectfully Submitted,


Latabitha Bryant

Plaintiff in pro per


Plaintiff demands a jury trial on all causes of action and claims to which she has a right to a jury trial.

Dated this ____ day of February, 2022.

Respectfully Submitted,


Latabitha Bryant

Plaintiff in pro per


I, Latabitha Bryant, being duly sworn depose and say that I have read the foregoing Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial and know the contents thereof. That the same is true of my own knowledge except as to those matters and things stated upon information and belief, and as to those things, I believe them to be true.


(Sign in the presence of a Notary Public)

Sworn to and subscribed before me this ___ day of ___________________, 2021.


Notary Public


(Printed name of Notary Public)

My Commission Expires: ____________________

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