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PELECH v. KLAFF-JOSS

March 4, 1993

JUDITH A. PELECH, Plaintiff,
v.
KLAFF-JOSS, LP; ROBERT DAVIS, an individual; HEATHERTON STAFF LEASING, LTD., an Illinois corporation; CRESCENT CLEANING COMPANY, a Delaware corporation; HARRY FINKEL, an individual; SAFEGUARD SECURITY, INC., an Illinois corporation; and STEVEN ROWLEY, an individual, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: MARVIN E. ASPEN

 MARVIN E. ASPEN, District Judge:

 Plaintiff Judith A. Pelech ("Pelech") brings this civil rights action against Klaff-Joss, L.P., Robert Davis, Crescent Cleaning Company, Harry Finkel, Safeguard Security, Inc., and Steven Rowley alleging unlawful gender discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (the "Act"). 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq. Presently before us is Crescent Cleaning Company ("Crescent") and Harry Finkel's ("Finkel") combined motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. For the reasons set forth below, we deny the motion.

 I. Factual Background1

 For the purposes of the present motion, the facts underlying this dispute are as follows:

 Beginning in May, 1987, Pelech was employed by Aegis Security Company ("Aegis") as a part-time security guard for the building located at 111 West Jackson Street in Chicago. Klaff-Joss owned the building, and Crescent, under contract to Klaff-Joss, provided cleaning services. In November, 1987, Aegis promoted Pelech to full-time security supervisor for the building.

 Between August 1988 and June 1991, Pelech, while still employed by Aegis as a security supervisor, temporarily filled in for the position of elevator starter to cover the holiday and vacation absences of the permanent elevator starter. During this time, Pelech adequately performed both jobs.

 In June, 1991, Pelech learned that the permanent elevator starter was retiring, leaving his position open. Armed with this news, Pelech informed Finkel, the chairman of Crescent, and Davis, the building manager at 111 West Jackson Street, that she wished to be considered for the position. According to Pelech, Klaff-Joss had the final authority to hire the replacement, but Finkel was responsible for interviewing and recommending applicants. Although Pelech had substituted for the elevator starter for close to three years, she was not interviewed for the job, and in July, 1991, Finkel and Davis decided to hire a man.

 When Pelech confronted Davis to ask him why she was not considered for the opening, he allegedly informed her that she was "not qualified," and was not the person they were looking for. Cmplt. at P 25. Unsatisfied with this explanation, Pelech telephoned her union representative to complain that she had been denied consideration for the position because of her gender. In addition to calling her union representative in front of management personnel, Pelech openly advertised her conviction that she had been denied the elevator starter position because she was a woman.

 In September, 1991, Safeguard Security, Inc. ("Safeguard") assumed Aegis' security contract at 111 West Jackson. Shortly thereafter, Finkel, Davis, and Rowley, the president of Safeguard, summoned Pelech into a meeting and allegedly informed her that unless she "smiled more," she would lose her job. In October, 1991, Pelech was accused of stealing a co-worker's personal calculator. Accordingly, on October 28, 1991, Rowley fired her from her position as security supervisor and dismissed her from Safeguard.

 On March 16, 1992, Pelech filed charges of gender discrimination and retaliation against Klaff-Joss, Davis, Crescent, Finkel, Safeguard, and Rowley with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). On October 6, 1992, the EEOC issued a "right to sue" letter.

 II. Discussion

 Crescent, and its Chairman, Finkel, argue that Pelech has failed to allege an employment relationship with them, and therefore cannot recover against them under Title VII. A review of Title VII case law, however, reveals that this contention misses the point. Although courts have held that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 "contemplates some employment relationship," this relationship need not necessarily be solely between the plaintiff and defendant. Thus, despite the fact that Pelech ...


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