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Hill Segura v. the Strive Group

March 5, 2012

HILL SEGURA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
THE STRIVE GROUP, LLC, STEVE HARAF, AND JOHN DOES 1-10, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hon. Harry D. Leinenweber

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Before the Court is Defendants' Motion for Partial Dismissal. Defendants argue for dismissal of all counts as to Defendant Steve Haraf ("Haraf") and dismissal of all but Count One (§ 1981 race discrimination) and Count Four (Title VII "national origin" discrimination) as to Defendant The Strive Group ("Strive"). Defendants do not seek dismissal on behalf of any "John Doe" Defendants 1-10. For the following reasons, the Defendants' motion is GRANTED in part and DENIED in part.

I. BACKGROUND

Pro se Plaintiff Hill Segura ("Segura" or "Plaintiff") began work as a clerk for Strive in March 2008. He alleges that after an investigation into theft of company property, he was fired on June 29, 2010 by Haraf, who cited "unsatisfactory work" as the reason. Plaintiff claims: this was a pretext; that he was actually fired because of his race, age, and national origin; and that he alleged as much in an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the "EEOC") intake form on March 4, 2011. The EEOC charge form prepared by the EEOC and signed by Segura, however, lists only "national origin" as a basis for the firing. After receiving a right-to-sue letter mailed from the EEOC on July 14, 2011, Segura timely filed this action.

II. LEGAL STANDARD

In analyzing the sufficiency of a complaint, the Court construes it in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, accepts well-pleaded facts as true, and draws all inferences in the plaintiff's favor. Estate of Davis v. Wells Fargo Bank, 633 F.3d 529, 533 (7th Cir. 2011).

III. ANALYSIS

As a preliminary matter, Plaintiff's Complaint is unclear in connecting each count to a specific statute. The introduction to Plaintiff's Complaint cites Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e), 40 U.S.C. § 1981 and 29 U.S.C. § 623. However, at least for some counts, it is not immediately clear which statute relates to which claim. But pro se complaints are to be construed liberally, and the Court will endeavor to do so.

Because two counts concern race discrimination, and Plaintiff in his response specifically ties Count One to 42 U.S.C. § 1981, the court construes Count One as a § 1981 race discrimination claim and Count Three, the other race discrimination claim, as a Title VII claim. Count Two is construed as a 29 U.S.C. § 623 (Age Discrimination in Employment Act or "ADEA") claim. Count Four is construed as a Title VII national origin discrimination claim. Count Five alleges a state law claim of Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress and Count Six alleges the state law claim of Willful and Wanton Misconduct.

A. Claims Against Individuals Under Title VII and ADEA

The ADEA and Title VII specifically use the word "employers" rather than individuals. Therefore, charges under those acts against non-employers are improper. See Williams v. Banning, 72 F.3d 552, 555 (7th Cir. 1995) ("[A] supervisor does not . . . fall within Title VII's definition of employer."); see also, Horwitz v. Bd. of Ed., 260 F.3d 602, 610 n.2 (7th Cir. 2001) (noting no individual liability under ADEA).

Accordingly, Defendant Haraf's Motion to Dismiss the ADEA age charge and the Title VII race and national origin charges is granted as to him.

B. Failure to Exhaust Administrative

Remedies with Respect to the ADEA Claim and the Title VII Race Claim Title VII and ADEA claims require filing a complaint with the EEOC, and the issuance of a "right-to-sue" letter. A plaintiff may not bring claims under Title VII or the ADEA unless he has first brought them to the EEOC. ...


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