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Williamson v. Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory

United States District Court, Seventh Circuit

November 7, 2013

CARRIE WILLIAMSON, f/k/a Carrie Holzgrafe, individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
v.
FERMI NATIONAL ACCELERATOR LABORATORY, c/k/a Fermilab, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

VIRGINIA M. KENDALL, District Judge.

Carrie Williamson filed suit on behalf of herself and similarly situated individuals against Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, c/k/a Fermilab[1] for violation of the Genetic Information Nondisclosure Act of 2008 (GINA), via 42 U.S.C. § 1981, when Fermilab required all employees to submit to a physical exam and questionnaire that included questions about family medical history. Ms. Williamson also alleges, for herself only, that Fermilab unlawfully discharged her from her position as administrative assistant in violation of Title I of the Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA).

Fermilab moves to dismiss the class action portion of Count I of Ms. Williamson's Complaint on grounds that Williamson did not exhaust administrative remedies because her EEOC charge allegations did not contain and are not reasonably related to allegations of class-wide discrimination. In the alternative, Fermilab argues that the Court should limit the class period to the period beginning December 3, 2011, 300 days before the EEOC issued its determination letter dated September 28, 2012. For the following reasons, the Motion to Dismiss the class claims is denied.

FACTS

When considering a motion to dismiss, all reasonable inferences must be drawn in favor of the non-moving party, and the veracity of the well-pleaded allegations is assumed. See Killingsworth v. HSBC Bank, 507 F.3d 614, 618 (7th Cir. 2007) (citing Savory v. Lyons, 469 F.3d 667, 670 (7th Cir. 2006)). On May 13, 2010 Fermilab hired Williamson by letter as an Administrative Support Assistant IV in the Directorate/Program Planning Department. (Compl. ¶ 6). Williamson started her employment with Fermilab on May 15, 2010. Id. Sometime after starting her job at Fermilab, Fermilab required Williamson to fill out a medical questionnaire, provide a DNA sample, and submit to a physical examination. Id. at ¶ 8. On the questionnaire, which included questions regarding Williamson's family medical history, Williamson disclosed that she suffered from depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and is genetically predisposed to heart disease, hypertension, hearing problems, and cancer. Id. at ¶ 8-9. Approximately ten days after her physical exam, Fermilab required Williamson to submit to an EKG test, a hearing test, and a vision test. Id. at ¶ 10.

On July 15, 2010, Williamson was fired without warning from her employment at Fermilab. Id. at ¶ 7. The termination letter stated that the reason for the discharge was "deficient job performance." Id. at ¶ 24. Up until being fired, Williamson had received no warnings or criticism of her job performance. Id. at ¶ 11. Williamson filed a timely charge to the EEOC, alleging that Fermilab had discriminated against her in violation of both the ADA and GINA. Id. at ¶ 12. Williamson's charge in relevant part stated,

"I began my employment with Respondent on May 15, 2010 and my most recent position was Administrative Assistance. On July 15, 2010, I was discharged.
I believe I was discriminated against because of my disability, in violation of the Americans with Disability Act of 1990, as amended.
I also believe I was discriminated against because of my genetic information, in violation of the Genetic Information Non-discrimination Act of 2008." (Def. Ex. 8-1).[2]

By letter dated September 28, 2012[3] the EEOC made the following determination,

... the evidence obtained in the investigation establishes reasonable cause to believe that Respondent discriminated against Charging Party because of her disability and her genetic information, in that she was discharged, in violation of the ADA and GINA.
...
I have also determined that Respondent discriminated against a class of individuals, including Charging Party, by acquiring their ...

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