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Thornton v. AT&T Mobility Services

September 14, 2010


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Michael P. McCUSKEY Chief U.S. District Judge


This matter comes before the Court on Defendant AT&T Mobility Services, L.L.C.'s (AT&T) Motion to Dismiss or in the Alternative, Motion for a More Definite Statement (d/e 8). Pro se Plaintiff Maylena Thornton works for AT&T at its call center in Springfield, Illinois. She alleges claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA), and the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act (IWCA). 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.; 29 U.S.C. § 2601 et seq.; 29 U.S.C. § 651 et seq.; 820 ILCS 305/1 et seq. For the reasons set forth below, the Court: (1) allows the request to dismiss Thornton's OSHA and IWCA claims; (2) allows the request to dismiss Thornton's ADA claims that are not timely; but (3) denies the request to dismiss her FMLA claims and her timely ADA claims.


For purposes of this Motion, the Court must accept as true all well-pleaded factual allegations contained in the Complaint and draw all inferences in the light most favorable to Thornton. Hager v. City of West Peoria, 84 F.3d 865, 868-69 (7th Cir. 1996); Covington Court, Ltd. v. Village of Oak Brook, 77 F.3d 177, 178 (7th Cir. 1996).

Thornton started working for AT&T in October 2005. Early in her tenure at AT&T, Thornton filed a grievance against her immediate supervisor Jerry Pusch. Jerry Pusch's wife, Gaye Ann Pusch, worked at AT&T and was in charge of approving leave. Thornton alleges that Jerry and Gaye Ann Pusch harassed her after she filed the grievance. In 2007, Thornton began having medical problems with her feet. In June 2007, she requested two days of approved leave under the FMLA, but Gaye Ann Pusch denied her request. Thornton claims the denial was wrongful. Thornton alleges that Gaye Ann Pusch thereafter consistently lied to Thornton and made representations to Thornton in which Pusch omitted material information. Thornton alleges that Gaye Ann Pusch's harassment became part of an ongoing effort by AT&T to harass Thornton and get her to quit because of her disabilities.

Thornton had eye surgery in October 2007. Thereafter she suffered from migraine headaches as a result of the eye problems. She came back to work from the surgery sometime in November 2007. At that time, she was working part-time.

Beginning in January 2008, Thornton began missing time due to her eye condition and related migraine headaches. She used her accumulated leave time. She exhausted her accumulated leave time by some time in July 2008. Thornton alleges that AT&T was close to firing her for excessive absences, but did not.

In August 2008, Thornton was offered "ADA paperwork" in order to request an accommodation due to her medical conditions. Pro se Complaint Against Employment Discrimination, Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5 (d/e 1)(Complaint), attached General Facts of Claim, at 2. AT&T had earlier failed to offer Thornton an accommodation under the ADA even though she had asked. Thornton's doctor filled out the paperwork provided to Thornton. Thornton requested a number of accommodations. Among them, she asked that her computer screen be dimmed because she had photophobia, or extreme sensitivity to light. She alleges that the request for this accommodation was wrongfully denied in August 2008.

In August 2008, Thornton took leave for foot surgery. She returned in October 2008. At that time she was being investigated for a business code violation involving text messages with co-workers. The investigation was eventually closed. In December 2008, Thornton contracted pneumonia and was admitted to the hospital. She alleges that her pay was wrongfully reduced at this time.

Beginning in January 2009, AT&T allegedly wrongfully interfered with and delayed Thornton's ability to secure an independent medical examination (IME) in connection with workers' compensation claims that Thornton filed. The delays persisted. As of the date that Thornton filed the Complaint on March 25, 2010, she was still waiting to have the IME performed.

On June 17, 2009, Thornton made another request for accommodations under the ADA. She complained in August 2009, that she had not received a response. AT&T's administrator informed her at that time that it would not consider the request because it was on the wrong form. AT&T did not otherwise respond to the ADA request for accommodations until March 2010.

In July 2009, Thornton filed a claim with the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA Administration). She complained because AT&T did not list Thornton on an OSHA log. AT&T stated that it did not include her situation on the log because her case was classified as a first aid case. Id. at 3. Thornton's complaint was investigated. Thornton alleges that AT&T was eventually found to be in violation of OSHA.

On September 4, 2009, AT&T involuntarily placed Thornton on unpaid disability leave. The leave continued until October 13, 2009. Upon her return to work, Thornton alleges that she was denied her requested job placement. She claims that there were openings in the areas she preferred, but AT&T would not allow her to take one of them.

In February 2010, Thornton missed two days of work because of snowy conditions. Due to her poor eyesight, Thornton could not come to work because she could not see well enough to drive during snowy conditions. Thornton asked for an accommodation under ...

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