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Klean v. Board of Education of Proviso Township School Dist. Number 209

August 12, 2009

MICHAEL A. KLEAN, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE BOARD OF EDUCATION OF PROVISO TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT NUMBER 209, AND PROVISO TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT NUMBER 209, AND EMMANUEL CHRISTOPHER WELCH, INDIVIDUALLY, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Ronald A. Guzmán

MEMORANDUM AND OPINION ORDER

Michael Klean has sued the Board of Education of Proviso Township School District No. 209 ("School Board"), Proviso Township School District No. 209 ("School District") and Emmanuel Welch, the President of the School Board, for civil rights violations pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1983 ("sections 1981 and 1983"). Before the Court is defendants' motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure ("Rule") 12(b)(6). For the reasons set forth below, the Court grants in part and denies in part the motion.

Facts

Klean is a white male who worked as a security officer for the School District from 1990 until 1995 and later as a security manager from 1999 until November 30, 2007. (Am. Compl. ¶ 7.) He alleges that he is the only white security manager and security employee in the School District's security department. (Id. ¶ 11.) Klean applied for the position of Director of Security in October 2006, but he was denied the position that was filled by a less experienced and less qualified black male. (Id. ¶ 8.) In November 2007, Klean was demoted from a twelve-month, full-time security manager position to a ten-month officer shift position. (Id. ¶ 9.) Klean was replaced by a less qualified black male that had less seniority, and other less qualified black security managers were not demoted. (Id. ¶¶ 13-14.) On December 4, 2007, in response to the demotion, Klean filed an administrative complaint of race discrimination at the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). (Id. ¶ 10.)

In 2002, and later in 2005, Welch told Klean that his job would be protected if he handed out political literature, posted signs and collected names on petitions for certain school board candidates supported by Welch. (Id. ¶¶ 21-22.) Welch also asked Klean to perform other political work for his campaign for school board and state representative. (Id.) In 2006, Welch and Klean's supervisor asked Klean to participate in school board election activities for candidates they supported and told him that plaintiff's job depended on his participation. (Id. ¶ 23.) Klean complained about the work and refused to perform the political activities requested. (Id. ¶ 24.)

In November 2007, Welch, the School District, and the School Board demoted Klean as described above. (Id. ¶¶ 25-28.) Klean claims that the demotion not only was racially discriminatory, but it also violated his right to free speech and exercise of political views protected under the First and Fourteenth Amendments. (Id. ¶ 31.)

Klean alleges that the School Board and School District had a practice, custom and policy of interfering with individuals' employment depending on whether he or she performed political work for, or supported, certain candidates. (Id. ¶ 36.) Klean also alleges that defendants have a custom of discriminating against employees based on race. (Id. ¶ 37.)

Discussion

A complaint should not be dismissed under a Rule 12(b)(6) motion unless "it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 546 (2007). When reviewing the claims, the court should accept as true all well-pleaded allegations and all reasonable inferences that may be drawn from them. Mid Am. Title Co. v. Kirk, 991 F.2d 417, 419 (7th Cir. 1993). The complaint only needs to state a "short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). Thus, the allegations in the complaint must give the defendant fair notice of the claim and the "grounds upon which it rests," as well as suggest a right to relief beyond speculation. E.E.O.C. v. Concentra Health Servs., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776-77 (7th Cir. 2007) (quotation omitted).

I. Title VII Claims

A. Race Discrimination Claim Against Defendant Emmanuel Welch

Defendants move to dismiss the Title VII race discrimination claim against Welch and argue that such a claim cannot be brought against a supervisor. (Defs.' Mem. Supp. Mot. Dismiss 4.) However, in response to the motion to dismiss, Klean clarifies that his racial discrimination claim under Title VII is against the School Board and the School District, not Welch. He thereby withdraws any Title VII race discrimination claim against Welch. (Pl.'s Resp. Defs.' Mot. Dismiss 3.) The Court denies the motion to dismiss the Title VII race discrimination claim against Welch as moot.

B. Race Discrimination Claim Against School Board and School District

Next, defendant asserts that the plaintiff's Title VII race discrimination claim against the School Board and the School District is time-barred because it is based in part on an incident that occurred outside of the 300-day period prior to the filing of the administrative charges with the EEOC. (Defs.' Mem. 3.) The statute of limitations is an affirmative defense generally required in a responsive ...


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