Count II invokes the PDA, claiming defendants terminated plaintiff because of esphofical reflux, a pregnancy-related condition. Furthermore, the count alleges that defendants discriminated against plaintiff and disparately applied a sick leave policy to plaintiff's detriment. Plaintiff further alleges that defendant Thomas Wides "verbally abused Plaintiff concerning her pregnancy related condition by expressing doubt as to her ability to become pregnant and her ability to combine pregnancy and her career." (Id. at 5, P 34.)
Count II also describes some details of plaintiff's employment relationship with Inland Steel between October 1986 and June 1993. She alleges that on February 12, 1992, Wides informed plaintiff that her esphofical reflux was "'a problem.'" Wides then "handed Plaintiff a memo which placed her on probation." (Id. at 6, P 35.) In March 1992 plaintiff explained the February 12 incident to Bill Lowry, Inland Steel's Personnel Director. Lowry informed plaintiff that "a letter from her treating physician would alleviate any problems." (Id. P 36.) Plaintiff provided such a letter dated July 30, 1992, addressed to Richard Heiden at Inland Steel. (Complaint Ex. B.) In March 1992 Wides informed plaintiff that she was considered a "'High Risk' and that it was inevitable that she would be terminated." (Complaint at 6, P 37.) Plaintiff submitted a memorandum to her personnel file regarding these events on November 23, 1992 (attached as Complaint Ex. C).
Count III alleges age discrimination in violation of the ADEA, claiming that plaintiff, over 40 years old, was replaced by a younger person despite her being qualified and satisfactorily performing her duties. Again, plaintiff alleges the behavior was pursuant to "a de facto policy, practice, custom or usage of discrimination." (Complaint at 7, P 50.)
Finally, Count IV alleges a violation of the ADA. Plaintiff claims that her condition, esphofical reflux, is a physical impairment substantially limiting reproduction, a major life activity. Plaintiff claims defendants terminated her, discriminated against her, and disparately applied the company's sick leave policy to her detriment because of her condition.
Plaintiff seeks various legal and equitable remedies, which need not be discussed here, as they are not relevant to resolution of this motion.
Defendants now present five separate arguments for dismissal, in whole or in part, of plaintiff's Second Amended Complaint: (1) plaintiff failed to file a timely charge with the EEOC, barring her claims under Title VII, the ADA, and the ADEA; (2) Count II fails to state a claim for discrimination "because of or on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions" within the meaning of the PDA; (3) Count IV fails to state an ADA claim because her condition is not a "disability" covered by the ADA; (4) defendants Monanteras and Wides are not subject to suit as supervisors under Title VII, the ADA, or the ADEA; (5) plaintiff has not pleaded state action to present a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1983.
II. STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS ON FILING OF EEOC CHARGE
A. Statutes of Limitations in Federal Employment Discrimination Law
Plaintiff and defendants are in agreement as to the relevant administrative statute of limitations in this case: Title VII, which governs Counts I and II of the Complaint, requires that, as a prerequisite to a subsequent lawsuit, a claimant must file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC "within three hundred days after the alleged unlawful employment practice occurred." 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e)(1). Under the ADEA, governing Count III of the Complaint, a charge similarly must be filed with the EEOC "within 300 days after the alleged unlawful practice occurred." 29 U.S.C. § 626(d)(2). Finally, the ADA, controlling Count IV, adopts the Title VII procedures for filing a charge and enforcing one's statutory rights, thus imposing the 300-day limitation as well. See 42 U.S.C. § 12117(a); see also Kent v. Director, Missouri Dep't of Elementary & Secondary Educ. & Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, 792 F. Supp. 59, 62 (E.D. Mo. 1992).
Perhaps for the sake of clearer argument, defendants have actually invoked the longer of the two relevant administrative statutes of limitations. The shorter period, and the one plaintiff invoked in her Complaint (Complaint at 2, P 4), is 180 days. The 300-day limitations period applies where plaintiff has initially filed a charge "with a State or local agency with authority to grant or seek relief from such practice." 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e)(1); see also Gilardi v. Schroeder, 833 F.2d 1226, 1230 (7th Cir. 1987). There are two requirements: (1) that the state be such a so-called "deferral" state; and (2) that the plaintiff have actually filed such a state charge. Gilardi, 833 F.2d at 1230. Illinois, plaintiff's state of residence and the state in which the alleged wrongdoing occurred, is such a deferral state. Id. (citing ILL. REV. STAT. ch. 68, § 7-101 (now codified at 775 ILCS 5/7-101)); see also 29 C.F.R. § 1601.80 (listing Illinois Department of Human Rights as a certified state agency). However, there is no indication that plaintiff utilized state avenues. Indeed, in the Complaint plaintiff pleads only that she filed a charge directly with the EEOC, and accordingly invokes the 180-day statute of limitations.
Ultimately, defendants' concession is not damaging, which presumably prompted the concession in the first place. If, as is defendants' theory, plaintiff missed the 300-day limit, she would have missed the 180-day limit. The concession would only be damaging if plaintiff's claimed accrual date was between the 180-day and 300-day point, counting back from July 9, 1993, the date she filed her EEOC charge. However, as is discussed below, plaintiff's claimed accrual date for purposes of this motion is May 21, 1993.
B. Resolution of Limitations Issue
As alleged in the Complaint, "in March of 1992 Defendant Thomas Wides informed Plaintiff that she was considered a 'High Risk' and that it was inevitable that she would be terminated." (Complaint at 6, P 37.) Defendants argue that the limitations period accrued in March 1992, and that therefore the July 9, 1993, filing of the EEOC charge was more than 300 days after the point of accrual. Plaintiff contends instead that she was not notified of her termination until the May 21, 1993, letter, informing her that her last day of work would be June 11. (Complaint Ex. D.) Plaintiff attempts to explain away the intervening warning signals as follows:
While Plaintiff was placed in a high risk category in March of 1992, she was [not] terminated until June 1, 1993 [sic]. In the month of March 1992 Plaintiff was also assured by Personnel Director Bill Lowry of Inland Steel that a letter from her treating physician would alleviate any problems. . . . While plaintiff was continually threatened she was made officially aware that she would be terminated when she received official notice that her last day of employment would be June 11, 1993. Indeed the [May 21, 1993] letter indicated that a plant wide search for a suitable position has been ongoing. Thus this indicated that a final determination of Plaintiff's dismissal on June 11, 1993 was not reached until the date of the letter May 21, 1993.