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Owens-Floyd v. City of Chicago

August 11, 2006

BEVERLY OWENS-FLOYD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge George M. Marovich

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff Beverly Owens-Floyd ("Owens-Floyd") filed a complaint against the City of Chicago (the "City") asserting claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"). The City moves to dismiss the complaint in part on the grounds that several of Owens-Floyd's allegations fall outside the applicable limitations period and that several of her claims are beyond the scope of the underlying EEOC charges. For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants in part and denies in part the City's motion.

I. Background

For purposes of this motion to dismiss, the Court takes as true the allegations in Owens-Floyd's first amended complaint (the "complaint") and also considers the documents attached to and referenced in the complaint.

The City has employed Owens-Floyd, a 52-year-old female, for more than twenty years in the Health Department. In or about September 2000 and again in February 2002, Owens-Floyd complained to the Commission on Human Rights that the City was discriminating against her on the basis of her age.

After she filed her complaint with the Commission on Human Rights, the City allegedly retaliated against her. For example, it required her to perform additional duties not within her position's scope. In addition, a series of events that occurred between September 2002 and March 2004 led Owens-Floyd to believe that the City was retaliating against her due to her complaints to the Commission on Human Rights. For example, in September 2002 she requested a Saturday off after arranging for another employee to replace her and then was disciplined for not working that day. That same month, the City initiated disciplinary proceedings against her for conduct that she allegedly did not commit. Five months later, Owens-Floyd received an oral warning for arriving late to a meeting when other employees who were late did not receive a warning. Ten months after the City administered the oral warning, it again initiated allegedly false disciplinary proceedings against her. Three months afterward, Owens-Floyd's supervisors required her to retrieve files in a rancid area of her job site's basement. In addition to these events, the City repeatedly denied Owens-Floyd "desk audits" for an upgrade of her pay grade between September 2002 and June 2004. During the same period, the City hired younger individuals into higher positions to perform the same duties as Owens-Floyd. It also declined to place Owens-Floyd into available positions within her unit for which she claims to have been highly qualified.

On March 30, 2004, based on these events, Owens-Floyd filed a charge of age discrimination and retaliation with the EEOC. In her charge, she alleged that beginning in or around January 2003 her supervisor hired and promoted only individuals under the age of forty. She also alleged that the City retaliated against her for complaining to the Commission on Human Rights and for filing grievances with her Union concerning the City's conduct throughout her employment. Owens-Floyd noted that, among other things, the City assigned her additional duties, required her to perform an unnecessary task in her job site's basement and constantly scrutinized her work.

In April 2004, the City again denied Owens-Floyd a "desk audit" and requested that she drop her EEOC charge. The next month, the City delivered a written warning to her for a parking violation but did not deliver warnings to other employees who committed the same violation. In June 2004, the City again denied Owens-Floyd a desk audit and transferred her to another job site. Although the City informed Owens-Floyd that it had eliminated her position from the budget, she later learned that her former position remained available and that the City eventually upgraded and filled it.

On October 8, 2004, in response to these events, Owens-Floyd filed a second charge of age discrimination and retaliation with the EEOC. She noted in her charge that the City transferred her on June 7, 2004 (approximately nine weeks after she filed her first EEOC charge) and that the City denied her a promotion on June 25, 2004.

The City moves to dismiss in part Owens-Floyd's complaint for two reasons. First, the City argues that a portion of Owens-Floyd's claim is time-barred because she failed to file EEOC charges for several of the City's allegedly discriminatory acts within the limitations period. Second, the City argues that some of the conduct alleged in Owens-Floyd's complaint exceeds the scope of her underlying EEOC charges.

II. Standard on a Motion to Dismiss

The Court may dismiss a claim pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure if the plaintiff fails "to state a claim upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). In considering a motion to dismiss, the Court accepts as true all well-pleaded factual allegations and draws all reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. McCullah v. Gadert, 344 F.3d 655, 657 (7th Cir. 2003). On a motion to dismiss, the "issue is not whether a plaintiff will ultimately prevail but whether the claimant is entitled to offer evidence to support the claims." Cole v. U.S. Capital, Inc., 389 F.3d 719, 724 (7th Cir. 2004) (quoting Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236 (1974)).

In considering a motion to dismiss, a court may not consider matters outside the pleadings without converting the motion to a motion for summary judgment. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b). The pleadings include documents attached to the complaint. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c). A court may also consider documents referenced in a plaintiff's amended complaint, such as Owens-Floyd's EEOC charges, because they are relevant to the plaintiff's claims and do ...


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