Cook, 48 F. Supp.2d 1104, 1109 (N.D.Ill. 1999); Saldana v. City
of Chicago, 972 F. Supp. 453, 456-57 (N.D.Ill. 1997); Dormeyer
v. Comerica Bank, No. 96 C 4805, 1997 WL 403697, at *4-5
(N.D.Ill. July 15, 1997). Accordingly, the court denies the
Government's motion to dismiss Hamilton's disparate treatment
allegation from his complaint.
C. Allegation of a Pattern and Practice of Discrimination
In Hamilton's complaint, he alleges that the Customs Service
"has a history of discriminatory patterns and practices toward
persons of color." The Government, however, contends that this
allegation should be dismissed because Hamilton failed to assert
this allegation in his Department of Treasury Complaint.
As a general rule in a Title VII action, the scope of an
administrative complaint limits the scope of the subsequent
judicial proceedings. Babrocky v. Jewel Food Co., 773 F.2d 857,
863 (7th Cir. 1985). Thus, a "plaintiff cannot bring claims in a
lawsuit that were not included in . . . [the] EEOC charge."
Cheek v. Western & Southern Life Ins. Co., 31 F.3d 497, 500
(7th Cir. 1994). This rule serves two important purposes: (1) it
gives the administrative agency the opportunity to settle the
dispute; and (2) "it gives the employer some warning of the
conduct about which the employee is aggrieved." Rush v.
McDonald's Corp., 966 F.2d 1104, 1110 (7th Cir. 1992). Although
this rule is not jurisdictional, it is a condition precedent.
Gibson v. West, 201 F.3d 990, 994 (7th Cir. 2000). Therefore,
the plaintiff can make equitable arguments to excuse his failure
to present his claim at the administrative level. Id.
In this case, Hamilton did not allege in his Department of
Treasury Complaint that the Customs Service has a pattern or
practice of discriminating against persons of color in
employment. However, if this claim is "like or reasonably related
to the allegations of the [EEOC] charge and growing out of such
allegations," Hamilton's claim will be cognizable. Jenkins v.
Blue Cross Mut. Hosp. Ins., Inc., 538 F.2d 164, 167 (7th Cir.
1976). Thus, the allegations in the EEOC charge must be
reasonably related to the claims in the complaint before the
court and it must be reasonable to expect the claim in the
complaint before the court to grow out of an EEOC investigation
of the allegations in the EEOC charge. See Cheek, 31 F.3d at
Hamilton's claim is reasonably related to the allegations in
his Department of Treasury Complaint,*fn5 if the Department of
Treasury Complaint and the complaint filed with this court
describe the same conduct and implicate the same individuals.
See id. at 501. Hamilton's Department of Treasury Complaint
describes the conduct of Heckert while investigating Hamilton's
background and the conduct of a few employees of the Customs
Service in response to Hamilton's questions about the background
investigation. These allegations relate only to the Customs
Service's treatment of Hamilton. The allegations do not set forth
a claim of class-wide discrimination. In fact, no where in the
Department of Treasury Complaint does Hamilton allege a pattern
or practice of discriminatory conduct by the Customs Service's
employees. In fact, twice he states the exact opposite: (1) "I do
believe that I was treated differently than others who apply for
coop positions;" and (2) "I was almost always told that these
things should not have happened and that they were clear
violations of Background Investigation Policy." (Def's Ex. B.)
Thus, because the allegations in his Department of Treasury
Complaint relate only to discrimination against Hamilton, his
claim that the Customs Service has a pattern and practice of
discriminating against persons of color is not reasonably related
allegations in his Department of Treasury Complaint.*fn6
Hamilton has not set forth any equitable defenses for his failure
to allege a pattern and practice of discrimination in his
Department of Treasury Complaint.*fn7 Accordingly, the court
dismisses Hamilton's allegation of a pattern and practice of
discrimination from Hamilton's complaint.
For the foregoing reasons, the court denies in part and grants
in part defendant's motion to dismiss plaintiff's complaint.
Accordingly, the court enters the following orders:
1. The court denies defendant's motion to dismiss the
plaintiff's allegation of disparate treatment from
2. The court grants defendant's motion to dismiss the
plaintiff's allegation of a pattern and practice of
discrimination from his complaint.