The opinion of the court was delivered by: LEINENWEBER
Plaintiffs bring a nation-wide class action lawsuit against Abbott Laboratories ("Abbott") on behalf of African-American officials, managers, professionals and sales workers employed by Abbott, alleging claims of race discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Abbot moves to dismiss portions of the Amended Complaint and transfer the case to the Southern District of Ohio.
On May 28, 1997, Ronald Payne filed the initial two-count complaint in this action on behalf of himself and all others similarly situated. On August 12, 1997, plaintiff amended the complaint to add six additional plaintiffs to his § 1981 claim. Plaintiffs allegations of class-wide discrimination are based both on disparate treatment and disparate impact. Specifically, plaintiffs claim that Abbott has engaged in a continuing pattern and practice of discrimination by denying its African-American employees "employment opportunities such as equal consideration for management level positions and promotions, desirable job assignments, training and equal treatment and consideration in employment compensation and benefits." Amend. Compl. P 15. Plaintiffs also present statistical evidence of Abbott's discriminatory practices. Plaintiffs attach and incorporate in their complaint, a "Glass Ceiling Study," which indicates that 91.4% of Abbott's Ross Division high-level officials, managers, professionals, sales workers and employees with grade levels between 18 and 49, were white. Plaintiffs also attach Abbott's EEO-1 Reports, which reflect a similar racial make-up at Abbott company-wide.
Additionally, the Amended Complaint alleges the following facts with regard to each named plaintiff, which the court takes as true for the purposes of this motion to dismiss. Antonelli v. Sheahan, 81 F.3d 1422, 1427 (7th Cir. 1996).
Ronald Payne is the sole named plaintiff for plaintiffs' Title VII claim. On April 20, 1985, Payne began working for Abbott in the Ross Products Division, as an Employment Relations Representative, a Grade Level 14 position. Payne was promoted to a Grade Level 18 Manager of Human Resources for a Ross Products Division facility located in Sturgis, Michigan in March, 1986. This promotion marked the end of Payne's rise through Abbott's corporate ranks. For the duration of his employment with Abbott, Payne was only laterally moved, retaining Grade Level 18 status. In March of 1992, Payne was transferred to the position of Manager of Employment of Abbott's Ross Division and in October of 1994, Payne was moved to the position of Manager of Human Resource Projects at Abbott's Ross Division.
On March 13, 1996, Payne was terminated. In September or October, 1996, Payne discovered that his former responsibilities were taken over by a less-qualified, white male. On February 28, 1997, Payne filed an EEOC charge claiming, inter alia, that he was terminated as a result of his race and that "minority employees of Abbott['s] Ross Products Division, have not and do not receive the same treatment or consideration in promotional opportunities, management positions and other employment benefits that white employees receive."
On March 16, 1992, plaintiff Latrane Brackett began working for Abbott as a Staff Electrical Engineer. Brackett remained in this position until he voluntarily resigned from his position on May 31, 1996. Brackett alleges that he was denied promotional opportunities because of Abbott's discriminatory policies and practices.
Plaintiff Michael Redman began working for Abbott as a Grade Level 15 Supervisor of Safety. In July, 1989, Redman was promoted to a Grade Level 18 Official Manager. In 1993, Redman resigned from his position at Abbott allegedly because he was not promoted.
Plaintiff Marvin Fields is currently employed by Abbott. He began working for the company in 1987 as a Grade Level 16 Senior Project Engineer. In June, 1989, Fields was promoted to a Grade Level 18 Project Engineer. Despite consistent positive job performance evaluations, Fields has retained his same grade level since 1989 and has been only laterally transferred to other positions. Fields claims that despite his qualifications, demonstrated ability and seniority, he has been denied the same opportunities and job-related benefits which were given to white employees.
Plaintiff Patricia Handy began working with Abbott as a Grade Level 15 Compensation Specialist in July, 1983. In March, 1982, she was promoted to a Grade Level 16, Senior Employment Specialist at Abbott's Ross Division. In May, 1986, Handy was laterally moved to the position of Management Recruiter of Corporate Staffing. Handy was again promoted in December, ...