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Slaughter v. Fred Weber

March 3, 2008


The opinion of the court was delivered by: J. Phil Gilbert District Judge


This matter comes before the Court on Defendant Laborers Local 670's Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 57). Plaintiff has responded (Doc. 60) and Defendant has replied (Doc. 65). For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part the motion.


The following facts are accepted as true for purposes of this motion. Plaintiff Valerie Slaughter (Slaughter) is an African-American female. Slaughter has been a member of Defendant Laborers Local 670 (Local 670), a labor organization, since September 9, 2002. At all relevant times, Slaughter was a member in good standing with Local 670. Defendant Fred Weber, Inc. (Weber) is a signatory employer to a collective bargaining agreement with Local 670. Under the collective bargaining agreement, Local 670 was the sole source of referrals to Weber for laborers. The collective bargaining agreement required Local 670 to establish a date, time and place for its members to register in person for work on a weekly basis. Local 670 was to refer applicants for employment with signatory employers provided the applicants had the necessary skill and experience for the position. Local 670 was prohibited from discriminating against applicants for referral positions on the basis of age, race or sex.

Local 670 required members to sign a daily registration sheet in order to be referred for work. Scott Vitek (Vitek), President of Local 670, and Steve Trokey (Trokey), Business manager for Local 670, acting on behalf of Local 670, refused to allow Slaughter and other female or African-American union members to complete the daily or weekly sign-up sheets. Instead, Vitek and Trokey, on behalf of Local 670 would fill out daily and weekly sign-up sheets on behalf of union members who were not present at the hiring hall. Vitek and Trokey would then refer those union members for work for which Slaughter and other female or African-American union members were qualified. Additionally, Local 670 referred Slaughter and other female or African-American union members to temporary or short-term jobs, while referring white male union members to full-time or permanent positions.

On or about December 2, 2005, Slaughter, proceeding pro se, filed a charge with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) alleging race and gender discrimination. Slaughter's IDHR claim was dual filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Slaughter's claim alleged that on August 8, 2005, Local 670 refused to refer Slaughter to a job with Weber for which she was qualified because of her race and/or her gender. Instead, Local 670 referred a union member with less seniority. On April 27, 2006, the EEOC issued a right to sue letter to Slaughter. Slaughter brought suit against Local 670 and Weber under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. and the Illinois Human Rights Act (IHRA) on May 18, 2006, in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Venue was subsequently transferred to this court. After filing the suit, Slaughter withdrew her IDHR charge.

Slaughter also filed a charge on April 13, 2007, with the National Labor Relations Board Region 14 (the Region), alleging that Local 670 violated Section 8 of the National Labor Relations Act. The Region investigated the allegations and determined that there was insufficient evidence to proceed further. Slaughter appealed the Region's determination to the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board. On October 25, 2007, Slaughter's appeal was denied.

Local 670 filed this motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6).


For purposes of a motion to dismiss, the court must accept all factual allegations in the complaint as true and draw all reasonable inferences from those facts in favor of the plaintiff. Erickson v. Pardus, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 2200 (2007) (per curiam ) (quoting Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1965 (2007)); Tricontinental Indus., Ltd. v. PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, 475 F.3d 824, 833 (7th Cir.2007). The federal system of notice pleading requires only that the plaintiff provide "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Therefore, the complaint need not allege detailed facts. Pisciotta v. Old Nat'l Bancorp, 499 F.3d 629, 633 (7th Cir.2007).

However, in order to provide fair notice of the grounds for his claim, the plaintiff must allege sufficient facts "to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Id. (quoting Twombly, 127 S.Ct. at 1965 (2007)) (internal quotations omitted). The complaint must offer "more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of a cause of action's elements will not do." Twombly, 127 S.Ct. at 1965. The plaintiff's pleading obligation is to avoid factual allegations "so sketchy that the complaint does not provide the type of notice of the claim to which the defendant is entitled under Rule 8." Airborne Beepers & Video, Inc. v. AT & T Mobility LLC, 499 F.3d 663, 667 (7th Cir.2007). However, "when a complaint adequately states a claim, it may not be dismissed based on a district court's assessment that the plaintiff will fail to find evidentiary support for his allegations or prove his claim to the satisfaction of the factfinder." Twombly, 127 S.Ct. at 1969 n. 8.

I. Effect of Withdrawal of IDHR Charge on Title VII Claims

Counts VII through XII of Slaughter's first amended complaint are directed at Local 670. Counts VII, IX and XI are brought under Title VII, while counts VIII, X and XII are brought under the IHRA. Both parties agree that Slaughter's withdrawal of her IDHR charge constitutes a failure to exhaust her administrative procedures for her IHRA claims. Therefore, Slaughter's IHRA claims are not properly before the Court. See, e.g., Shaw v. Inter-Continental Hotel Chicago Operating Corp., 314 F.3d 278, 282 ( 7th Cir.2002) (citing Manley v. City of Chicago, 236 F.3d 392, 397 (7th Cir.2001); Village of Maywood Board of Fire & Police Comm'rs v. Department of Human Rights, 695 N.E.2d 873, 881 (1998)). Accordingly, the Court dismisses those Counts.

Local 670 contends that Slaughter's withdrawal of her IDHR charge is fatal to not only her IHRA claims, but her Title VII claims as well. Local 670 cites no law to support this contention. Instead, Local 670 points to Khader v. Aspin, 1 F.3d 968 (10th Cir.1993) and Parks v. University of Chicago Hospitals and Clinics, 896 F.Supp. 775 (N.D. Ill. 1995), both cases where the plaintiff's withdrawal of her EEOC charge barred the plaintiff's Title VII claim, and Pace v. Ill. Human Rights ...

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