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Hussain v. Federal Express Corp.

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

July 2, 2013

Shabi Z. Hussain, Plaintiff,
v.
Federal Express Corporation, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

THOMAS M. DURKIN, District Judge.

Plaintiff Shabi Hussain sued her employer, Federal Express Corporation, alleging gender and national origin discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. Presently before the Court is Federal Express' partial motion to dismiss Hussain's complaint. R. 18. For the reasons explained below, Federal Express' motion is granted.

Background

Hussain began working for Federal Express as a courier in 1996. In 1999, she became Manager of Operations, the position she currently holds.

Hussain alleges that she was repeatedly denied promotions to senior manager positions as well as lateral transfers to other manager positions because of her gender (female) and national origin (India). In particular, Hussain identifies seven hiring sequences at issue: (1) a senior manager position that was filled in the late fall of 2007 or early winter of 2008; (2) a manager position at the "GYY" facility that was posted in July 2009 (Hussain was ultimately offered and apparently accepted this position); (3) a manger position at the "BDF" facility that was also posted in July 2009; (4) a senior manager position at the "GYY" facility that was posted in July or August 2009; (5) a senior manager position that was posted in March or April 2010; (6) an interim senior manager position that was filled in October 2010; and (7) a senior manager position that was posted in November 2010. Hussain also hints that discrimination began even earlier than 2007, Compl. ¶¶ 11-12, but does not allege any facts about pre-2007 unlawful employment practices.

In addition to the failures to promote and transfer denials, Hussain alleges discrimination in "Bravo Zulu" award payments given out by a managing director. Hussain alleges that she received a $50 award while male managers received $100 awards. Hussain does not allege when this occurred.

On April 4, 2011, Hussain filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. In her EEOC charge, Hussain alleged that "I applied for promotions, but less qualified male, non-Indian, employees were selected over me, " that she "was not given the opportunity to train as acting Senior Manager, " and that she was "not being given an equal monetary recognition bonus." R. 1, Ex. A.

The EEOC issued a right to sue letter on July 2, 2012. R. 1, Ex. B. Hussain filed this lawsuit on September 26, 2012. Hussain's complaint contains two counts, one for gender discrimination and one for national origin discrimination. Hussain does not assert any hostile work environment claims.[1]

Standard of Review

A Rule 12(b)(6) motion challenges the sufficiency of the complaint. See, e.g., Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of Police of Chicago Lodge No. 7, 570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir. 2009). A complaint must include "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Under notice pleading standards, a plaintiff's "factual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Put differently, a "complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).

"In evaluating the sufficiency of the complaint, [courts] view it in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, taking as true all well-pleaded factual allegations and making all possible inferences from the allegations in the plaintiff's favor." AnchorBank, FSB v. Hofer, 649 F.3d 610, 614 (7th Cir. 2011). But "if a plaintiff pleads facts which show [s]he has no claim, then [s]he has pled himself out of court." McCready v. eBay, Inc., 453 F.3d 882, 888 (7th Cir. 2006). Thus, dismissal on statute of limitations grounds "is appropriate when the plaintiff pleads h[er]self out of court by alleging facts sufficient to establish the complaint's tardiness." Cancer Found., Inc. v. Cerberus Capital Mgmt., LP, 559 F.3d 671, 674 (7th Cir. 2009).

Analysis

Federal Express argues that Hussain's claims relating to employment practices that occurred more than 300 days before she filed her EEOC charge are time barred. Because Hussain filed her EEOC charge on April 4, 2011, Federal Express therefore seeks to dismiss Hussain's claims for employment practices that occurred prior to June 8, 2010, exactly 300 days earlier.

A Title VII plaintiff is required to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC within 300 days after the alleged unlawful employment practice occurred. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e)(1). In Nat'l R.R. Passenger Corp. v. Morgan, 536 U.S. 101, 105 (2002), the Supreme Court held that Title VII "precludes recovery for discrete acts of discrimination... that occur ...


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