The opinion of the court was delivered by: Shadur, District Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Valerie Proffit ("Proffit") sues Keycom Electronic Publishing
("Keycom"), charging race-motivated employment discrimination
in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e to 2000e-17.*fn1 Keycom has
moved under Fed.R.Civ.P. ("Rule") 12(b)(6)*fn2 to dismiss
three of Proffit's claims. For the reasons stated in this
memorandum opinion and order, Keycom's motion (converted to one
under Rule 56*fn3) is granted.
1. In August 1983 Keycom's Vice President Bob Taller
("Taller") began recruiting an executive assistant. Although
Taller promised to interview Proffit for that position, he
never did so. Eventually Taller hired a white executive
2. In April 1984 Keycom sent a white departmental assistant
to a trade show but did not send Proffit.
3. In May 1984 Bob Burk interviewed Proffit for a higher
position, but he promoted a white worker to that spot.
4. In July 1984 Taller again began recruiting an executive
assistant. This time Taller did interview Proffit, but he
hired a white worker with less seniority than Proffit to fill
On October 5, 1984 Keycom fired Proffit.
Proffit complained to the relevant federal and state agencies
on two separate occasions. On June 8, 1984 she filed a charge
("Charge I," D.Ex. B) with both the Illinois Department of
Human Rights ("IDHR") and EEOC, claiming Keycom had denied her
promotion because of her race beginning in February 1984.
Nearly a year later (on May 15, 1985) Proffit submitted an
"Intake Questionnaire" (P.Ex. A) to EEOC, saying Keycom had
discharged her in retaliation for filing Charge I. Two weeks
later EEOC sent Proffit a proposed draft of a formal charge
document encompassing that retaliation claim, asking that she
sign and return the charge if it was satisfactory. Nearly 21/2;
months passed without any action by Proffit. Then on August 11
she signed the charge ("Charge II," P.Ex. C) and filed it with
EEOC. In turn EEOC proceeded on August 22 in accordance with
the applicable regulation (Reg. § 1601.14(a)):
1. Pursuant to the well-known sharing agreement between the
state and federal agencies, EEOC transmitted a copy of Charge
II to IDHR (D.Ex. D).
2. EEOC also sent a copy of Charge II to Keycom (D.Ex. E).
Timeliness and Scope of Proffit's Filings
Keycom advances three arguments to limit Proffit's claims in
1. Though Keycom's allegedly retaliatory discharge occurred
on October 5, 1984, Proffit neglected to file a charge with
EEOC until August 11, 1985 — 310 days later. That filing
failed to comply with Title VII's time limits under Section
2. Neither Charge I nor Charge II spoke of the allegedly
discriminatory refusal to send Proffit to a trade show in
3. Charge I contains no claim that Keycom discriminatorily
denied Proffit an interview for possible promotion in August
Those asserted flaws will be dealt with in turn.
1. Proffit's Retaliatory Discharge Claim
Section 2000e-5(e) provides a complainant must file a
discrimination charge with EEOC:
2. in deferral states — states that have established their
own agencies to remedy discrimination claims*fn5 — within
after the alleged discriminatory act. Absent special
circumstances (not asserted here), no plaintiff who fails to
file a timely charge with EEOC can maintain a Title VII suit.
Martinez v. United Automobile, Aerospace & Agricultural
Implement Workers of America, Local 1373, 772 F.2d 348, 350
(7th Cir. 1985).
Proffit retorts the Intake Questionnaire she submitted May 15,
1985 222 days after her discharge — constitutes a sufficient
"charge" under Section 2000e-5(e) and thus satisfies the
300-day filing requirement. Keycom counters with two
1. Under EEOC's regulations and for its own purposes, an
Intake Questionnaire is not treated as a "charge."
2. Even if the Intake Questionnaire were viewed as a
"charge," Proffit's failure to file it with IDHR within 180
days bars a Title VII suit based on the allegedly retaliatory
Both positions have merit, as the ensuing discussion shows.
Section 2000e-5(b) provides in part: Charges shall be in
writing under oath or affirmation and shall contain such
information and be in such form as the Commission requires.
Reg. § 1601.12(b) establishes the minimum requirements for the
contents of a charge:
Notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph (a) of this section
[outlining the required contents of a charge], a charge is
sufficient when the Commission receives from the person making
the charge a written statement sufficiently precise to identify
the parties, and to describe generally the action or practices
Proffit's Intake Questionnaire clearly contained enough
information to satisfy Reg. § 1601.12(b): It identified Proffit
and Keycom as the relevant parties and described the alleged
discriminatory act as "Retaliation due to discrimination
charges I filed with [I]DHR." Proffit relies on Casavantes v.
California State University, Sacramento, 732 F.2d 1441 (9th
Cir. 1984) to argue the Intake Questionnaire's content alone
should determine its status as a charge, regardless of any
other circumstances surrounding Proffit's failure to file a
timely formal charge. Casavantes, id. at 1443 did indeed
reject the argument — advanced by Keycom in this case — that an
Intake Questionnaire simply solicits general information, while
only an actual charge formally invokes EEOC's jurisdiction:
We find the University's position overly formalistic. We
observe that the same regulation permitting wide latitude in
the content of the charge also includes an amendment
procedure. . . . Consequently, while Casavantes's questionnaire
was not signed or verified, those deficiencies were cured by
amendment when the formal charge document was filed on April
14, 1979. We are thus led to the inescapable conclusion that
Intake Questionnaire, in the context of both the amendment
the completed procedures and the liberality to be ascribed to
the procedural requirements, is sufficient to constitute a
This Court finds Casavantes wholly unpersuasive as a rule of
decision for this case. It has several serious ...