The opinion of the court was delivered by: ASPEN
MARVIN E. ASPEN, Chief Judge:
Plaintiff Hope Briggs brings this six-count Second Amended Complaint against the North Shore Sanitary District ("NSSD"), four of its employees, and a member of its Board of Trustees.
Presently before this court is the defendants' motion to dismiss, and for the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.
Briggs, an African-American woman, applied for a position as an analytical chemist at NSSD in September 1993. Despite allegedly being told that she would not enjoy working at the facility because of the smell of waste water, Briggs persisted and was hired by NSSD on October 6, 1993. However, she claims that from the time she started working at NSSD her employer refused to train her properly, thereby ensuring her failure. Briggs claims that a co-worker named John Tegen was assigned to train her, but that he worked with her for a shorter period of time than was necessary and omitted essential information from her training. Second Compl. PP 16-18. Briggs informed her immediate supervisor, Toni Favero, about this inadequacy in her training, as well as about racial slurs that Tegen allegedly directed at her,
but Favero shrugged off her complaints. Id. PP 19-24. Favero's only action, Briggs contends, was to assign Gina Piotrowski to observe Briggs for one week in April 1994. On June 11, 1994, Favero placed Briggs on probation for four weeks. Id. P 34. This probationary period was subsequently extended to September 26, 1994, ostensibly because Briggs had used expired water samples in some of her tests, although Briggs contends that Favero gave her the samples. Id. PP 36-37.
In addition to disciplinary action, Briggs contends that she was treated with disdain and hostility by her white co-workers and supervisors. In particular, she accuses Favero of refusing to sit with her in the lunchroom on one occasion, and another time of failing to invite her out to lunch with all her co-workers. Id. PP 30-31. In November 1993, Piotrowski allegedly hung a black "pickaninny" doll, suspended by a string tied around its neck, to a bulletin board in the lab area shared with Briggs. The plaintiff complained about the doll, but claims that no one at NSSD took any action to remove it. Id. PP 32-33. Finally, Briggs claims that on the morning of July 6, 1994, she observed Favero and Piotrowski standing near the switch for the exhaust fan, and after her eight hour shift she discovered that the exhaust fan had been turned off, thereby exposing her to toxic mercury fumes for eight hours. She claims that she suffered headaches and chemical burns to her nose and lungs, requiring her to stay home for the following two days. Id. PP 42-43.
The plaintiff also alleges that because she was required to perform repetitive tasks such as "pipetting," she developed a repetitive stress injury to her wrist, which was aggravated by being required to lift fifty pound drums of water. She claims that she asked Favero to assign her to a position that did not involve "pipetting," but that Favero said no such position existed. Briggs alleges that her wrist deteriorated, and that she eventually filed for worker's compensation benefits. The plaintiff contends that Favero said she was "stupid to complain about a strained wrist," and that the other defendants mocked and disparaged her because of her injury. Second Compl. Count V PP 61, 66.
Briggs claims that she contacted the Urban League of Waukegan in July 1994 to complain about the racial hostility at NSSD, and the organization scheduled a meeting with NSSD for August 1994. Prior to the meeting Briggs was asked to meet with Karen Farrell, the Director of Laboratory Services at NSSD, who told Briggs that she knew Briggs had spoken to the Urban League "because you're the only black here, and the doll was in your lab." Second Compl. P 41. Farrell and Mark Hawn, a member of the Board of Trustees of NSSD,
met with Urban League representatives on August 31, 1994, during which time they admitted the existence of the pickaninny doll in the laboratory. However, during the meeting they also characterized Briggs as a troublesome employee who had filed a Title VII lawsuit against her previous employer, and disparaged her for taking time off from work because of her alleged wrist injury. Second Compl. P 47, Count V P 62.
On September 19, 1994, NSSD terminated Briggs for "writing over" numbers in test result forms after turning off the testing instruments. Briggs claims that no one at NSSD had informed her that "writing over" numbers was improper, and that Tegen and Favero had even approved this practice. Id. PP 48-50. She claims that although she performed her duties as well as Tegen, she was terminated while he was not. Finally, Briggs contends that although NSSD employs approximately 120 people, she was one of only two blacks, who were hired only because of pressure placed upon NSSD by the Urban League. Id. PP 52-55.
Briggs filed charges of race and disability discrimination with the EEOC on January 13, 1995 and January 30, 1995. She received right to sue letters on August 2, 1995, and filed the instant action within 90 days. Briggs brings suit against the defendants in their individual and official capacities, claiming that they violated her rights under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, as enforced through 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983, 1985(3) (Counts I and IV), her rights to equal employment and freedom from retaliation under Title VII (Counts II and III), her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") (Count V), and her state law right to be free from the intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count VI). The defendants move to dismiss all the counts against them.
II. Motion to Dismiss Standard
A motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) should not be granted "unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of [her] claims which would entitle [her] to relief." Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46, 2 L. Ed. 2d 80, 78 S. Ct. 99 (1957); Chaney v. Suburban Bus Div. of the Regional Transp. Auth., 52 F.3d 623, 627 (7th Cir. 1995). At this stage in the litigation we take as true all factual allegations contained in the complaint, and construe all reasonable inferences therefrom in the plaintiff's favor. Murphy v. Walker, 51 F.3d 714, 717 (7th Cir. 1995).