United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
July 13, 2004.
Walsh Construction Co.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES ZAGEL, District Judge
On November 11, 2001, Plaintiff-Intervenor Janice Lenoir filed
a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission ("EEOC") against Co-Defendant Walsh Construction
Company of Illinois ("the Company"). This lawsuit was filed five
hundred and sixty (560) days later, on May 28, 2003. When Lenoir
filed a Second Amended Complaint on or about February 17, 2004,
she named Walsh/II in One Joint Venture ("the Joint Venture") as
an additional defendant. The EEOC and Lenoir allege in their
respective complaints that the Company and the Joint Venture
violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended,
42 U.S.C. § 2000(e). The Joint Venture now seeks to be dismissed,
arguing (1) that neither Lenoir nor the EEOC served any charge of
discrimination on the employer as required by
42 U.S.C. § 2000-5(e), and (2) that the statute of limitations set forth in
that section expired as to the Joint Venture before it was named
as a defendant, thereby barring this suit against it.
Generally, a party "not named in an EEOC charge may not be sued
under Title VII." Eggleston v. Chicago Journeymen Plumbers'
Local Union No. 130, 657 F.2d 890, 905 (7th Cir. 1981); see
also Perkins v. Silverstein, 939 F.2d 463, 471 (7th Cir. 1991).
However, there is an exception that renders the charge sufficient
to confer jurisdiction over an unnamed party if that party was
provided with adequate notice of the charge and given the
opportunity to participate in conciliation proceedings aimed at
voluntary compliance. Eggleston, 657 F.2d at 905 (citations
omitted); see also Perkins, 939 F.2d at 471; Schnellbaecher v.
Baskin Clothing Co., 887 F.2d 124, 126 (7th Cir. 1989). Because
the purpose of this exception is "to prevent frustration of the
goals of Title VII by not requiring procedural exactness in
stating the charges," parties that are "sufficiently named or
alluded to in the factual statement" should be joined as
defendants. Eggleston, 657 F.2d at 905-06 (citations omitted).
The emphasis on voluntary compliance and conciliation in Title
VII calls both for minimum standards of statutory compliance as
well as exemption from failure to name an employer when the
unnamed party had the opportunity to comply with the purpose of
Title VII. Id. at 906. That is, an employer who had actual
notice of a charge and was offered the opportunity to conciliate
may properly be named a defendant, even though it was not named
in the charge. EEOC v. Christie Lodge Assocs., Ltd., 51 Fair
Empl. Prac. Cas. (BNA) 916, 919 (N.D. Ill. Nov. 30, 1989).
If Lenoir's November 2001 EEOC charge naming the Company as her
employer gave actual notice to the Joint Venture, there will be
no statute of limitations issue and the Joint Venture will be
considered a properly notified defendant under Title VII. See
Eggleston, 657 F.2d at 905; Christie Lodge, 51 Fair Empl.
Prac. Cas. (BNA) at 919. I cannot, however, determine whether the
EEOC charge provided the Joint Venture with actual notice without
considering facts outside of the pleading and converting the
motion to one for summary judgment. See Kopec v. City of
Elmhurst, 966 F. Supp. 640, 644 (N.D. Ill. 1997); Christie
Lodge, 51 Fair Empl. Prac. Cas. (BNA) at 916. I decline to do
so, and therefore deny the Joint Venture's Motion to Dismiss. The
issues brought forward by the Joint Venture in its motion are
more appropriately considered in a motion for summary judgment.
For the reasons stated above, the Joint Venture's Motion to
Dismiss is DENIED.
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