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Stacy Alexander, Kim Rogers v. Casino Queen

July 13, 2011

STACY ALEXANDER, KIM ROGERS, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CASINO QUEEN, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Stiehl, District Judge:

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

Before the Court is defendant Casino Queen, Inc.'s motion to dismiss plaintiffs Stacy Alexander and Kim Rogers's amended complaint pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6) (Doc. 10), to which plaintiffs have filed their memorandum in opposition (Doc. 16). Plaintiffs claim race discrimination and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq.; as well as race discrimination and retaliation under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (Doc. 5). Defendant argues that plaintiffs' complaint should be dismissed because (1) the entire action is barred by res judicata, (2) the Title VII claims were not filed with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), (3) plaintiff Rogers did not receive a notice of right to sue from the EEOC, and (4) any discrimination more than four years before this suit is barred by § 1981's statute of limitations. Defendant also asserts that plaintiffs' claims are frivolous and, therefore, seeks attorney's fees and costs.

This Order will not address two potential issues included in defendant's motion, presumably by mistake. Defendant mentions Rule 12(b)(1) without actually contesting subject-matter jurisdiction. Similarly, the title of defendant's motion says, "motion for more definite statement," without discussion elsewhere.

FACTUALANDPROCEDURALBACKGROUND

Plaintiffs Stacy Alexander and Kim Rogers are former cocktail waitresses at a casino in East St. Louis, Illinois, operated by defendant Casino Queen, Inc. They are both African-Americans. Alexander began her employment in 1993, Rogers in 1994.

On October 11, 2007, plaintiffs filed a complaint in this Court, Case No. 07-CV-634, alleging unlawful discrimination and retaliation under Title VII and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Their complaint accused defendant of having a racially hostile work environment and alleged continuing violations of discrimination. That case was dismissed with prejudice for want of prosecution, and judgment was entered for defendant (Docs. 21 & 22, Case No. 07-CV-634; Doc. 5, ¶ 20).

Alexander and Rogers have since each filed new charges of discrimination with the EEOC, alleging continuing actions based on unlawful racial discrimination and retaliation. The EEOC issued them both notices of right to sue. Alexander filed her complaint in this Court on November 12, 2010 (Doc. 2), and amended it to add Rogers on November 16, 2010 (Doc. 5).

Plaintiffs aver that defendant assigned African-Americans to "back of the house" positions at the casino. They allege that defendant's practices and conduct created a hostile work environment for them, were motivated by race, and were in retaliation for plaintiffs' protests against race discrimination. They claim that throughout their employment:

* they had only one African-American as their supervisor; all other positions above the cocktail waitresses were held by Caucasians

* their supervisors watched them, scrutinized their performance, monitored their breaks, and questioned their time cards, and those of other African-American cocktail waitresses, more closely than they did those of Caucasian waitresses

* defendant assigned them and other African-American waitresses to less desirable areas, such as near the penny slots, without regard to seniority and the usual process of bidding for assignments, which adversely affected plaintiffs' tips

* in 2009, defendant reduced Alexander's tips by removing the dollar slot machines from her area and giving them to a Caucasian waitress

* in 2010, a waitress was absent, and Rogers was given the least desirable section to cover, which lowered her tips, while two Caucasian waitresses were given more lucrative sections

* defendant disciplined, reprimanded, and warned them for alleged infractions for which it did not similarly discipline or warn Caucasian waitresses

* in 2008, defendant fired Alexander for not calling off work at least two hours before her shift started, although Caucasian employees had failed to call without being fired. Alexander filed a grievance through her labor union and was reinstated

* in April 2009, defendant sent Rogers home without pay for arriving at work late. Later a Caucasian waitress did not call in or show up for her shift, but she was not disciplined. Another Caucasian waitress came in to work an ...


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