The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES H. ALESIA
Before the court is the motion of defendant, Roadway Services, Inc. ("Roadway"), to dismiss the Complaint, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure,
for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. For the reasons set forth below, the court grants defendant's motion.
Plaintiff Richard L. Bright filed his Complaint on October 21, 1993, alleging: (1) age and race discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq., respectively; (2) retaliatory discharge; and (3) intentional infliction of emotional distress. Plaintiff brings these claims against Spartan Central Express, Inc. ("Spartan"), and Roadway. The second and third causes of action are brought as pendent state claims.
Plaintiff, at the time of the Complaint a 51 year-old African American, began working for Spartan on November 25, 1991, and continued working for the company as a truck driver until his termination in April 1992. Plaintiff alleges that his supervisors consistently harassed and eventually fired him because of his age and race. Additionally, plaintiff claims that his termination was in retaliation for his filing a Worker's Compensation claim. Finally, plaintiff claims that his "sudden termination" was an "outrageous act," causing him "severe emotional distress."
According to plaintiff's Complaint, Spartan is a subsidiary of Roadway, an allegation taken as true for purposes of this motion. Plaintiff alleges that due to the fact that Roadway "owns and controls" Spartan, Roadway has "ratified and affirmed" all of the acts of discrimination alleged in plaintiff's Complaint. Thus, plaintiff seeks to hold both Spartan and Roadway liable for the acts alleged in his Complaint.
A. Dismissal of Plaintiff's Title VII and ADEA Claims (Count I)
Roadway offers two arguments in support of its motion as to Count I. First, Roadway contends that because it was not named as a respondent in plaintiff's EEOC charge, it must be dismissed from this action. Second, Roadway contends that the facts alleged in plaintiff's Complaint fail to state a claim against it for the alleged discrimination. Because the court grants defendant's motion on the basis of its first argument, the court need not address its second argument.
Generally, a party not named as a respondent in an EEOC charge may not be sued in a Title VII action. Schnellbaecher v. Baskin Clothing Co., 887 F.2d 124, 126 (7th Cir. 1989); Eggleston v. Chicago Journeymen Plumbers' Local Union No. 130, 657 F.2d 890, 905 (7th Cir. 1981), cert. denied, 455 U.S. 1017, 102 S. Ct. 1710, 72 L. Ed. 2d 134 (1982).
Because ADEA and Title VII share a common purpose and because the filing requirements of the two statutory schemes are similar, this principle applies with equal force to actions brought under ADEA. Oscar Mayer & Co. v. Evans, 441 U.S. 750, 756, 99 S. Ct. 2066, 2071, 60 L. Ed. 2d 609 (1979); Pauls v. Elaine Revell, Inc., 571 F. Supp. 1018, 1020 (N.D. Ill. 1983) ("ADEA procedural provisions generally receive the same interpretation as their Title VII counterparts."). The purpose of imposing this administrative requirement is two-fold: it provides notice to the party to be sued, and it affords that party an opportunity to participate in conciliation in an
effort to voluntarily comply with Title VII. Eggleston, 657 F.2d at 905. Nevertheless, it is not a jurisdictional prerequisite. Zipes v. Trans World Airlines, Inc., 455 U.S. 385, 393, 102 S. Ct. 1127, 1132, 71 L. Ed. 2d 234 (1982); Perkins v. Silverstein, 939 F.2d 463, 469-70 (7th Cir. 1991). Instead, the requirement is a condition precedent to bringing suit, comparable to a statute of limitations. Perkins, 939 F.2d at 470. As such, the requirement is subject to equitable modification such as waiver, estoppel or tolling. Zipes, 455 U.S. at 393, 102 S. Ct. at 1132; Liberles v. County of Cook, 709 F.2d 1122, 1125 (7th Cir. 1983).
The Seventh Circuit has recognized an exception to the rule that parties to a Title VII suit must be named in the administrative charge. Schnellbaecher, 887 F.2d at 126-27; Eggleston, 657 F.2d at 905. Specifically, "where an unnamed party has been provided with adequate notice of the charge, under circumstances where the party has been given the opportunity to participate in conciliation proceedings aimed at voluntary compliance, the charge is sufficient to [allow a cause of action against] that party." Eggleston, 657 F.2d at 905.
This exception fulfills the purposes of the administrative requirement, while at the same time preventing frustration of the goals of Title VII by not requiring procedural exactness in stating the charges. See, e.g., Eggleston, 657 F.2d at 905-06.
Plaintiff argues in opposition to Roadway's motion that the facts of the present case fit the Eggleston exception. Both parties agree that Roadway received notice of the EEOC charge against Spartan. In addition, both parties agree that Roadway's in-house legal counsel appeared before the EEOC in an attempt to conciliate on behalf of Spartan. The parties, however, disagree as to whether ...