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Jordan v. Whelan Security of Illinois, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

March 21, 2014

TERRA T. JORDAN, Plaintiff,

Page 747

For Terra T. Jordan, Plaintiff: Cynthia Hannan Faccenda, Robert Marc Chemers, Pretzel & Stouffer, Chtd., Chicago, IL; David Joseph Stein, Richard Mangieri Burgland, Pretzel & Stouffer Chartered, Chicago, IL.

For Whelan Security of Illinois, Inc., Defendant: Neal F Perryman, LEAD ATTORNEY, Gregory D Bulgrin, Lewis, Rice & Fingersh, LC, St. Louis, MO; Peter Andrew Steinmeyer, Epstein, Becker & Green, PC, Chicago, IL.

For Health Care Service Corporation Illinois State PAC, NFP, doing business as Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, Defendant: Michael A. Wilder, Littler Mendelson, P.C., Chicago, IL.

Page 748


JOAN B. GOTTSCHALL, United States District Judge.

Terra Jordan has filed a ten-count third amended complaint against her former employers, Whelan Security of Illinois (" Whelan" ) and Health Care Service Corporation Illinois State, NFP d/b/a Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (" HCSC" ), alleging discrimination on the basis of her race, color, and gender, and retaliation, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (" Title VII" ), and 42 U.S.C. § 1981. Whelan and HCSC have both moved to dismiss the complaint in part. For the reasons stated below, both motions are denied.

I. Background

The following facts are taken from Jordan's complaint, which the court accepts as true for purposes of a motion to dismiss. See Munson v. Gaetz, 673 F.3d 630, 632 (7th Cir. 2012). The court also considers Jordan's Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (" EEOC" ) charge because the charge is " critical to the complaint and referred to in it," as well as the facts set forth in Jordan's brief opposing dismissal regarding her EEOC intake questionnaire, as those facts are " new elaborations [that] are consistent with the pleadings." Geinosky v. City of Chi., 675 F.3d 743, 745 n.1 (7th Cir. 2012); Graham v. United Parcel Serv., 519 F.Supp.2d 801, 805 (N.D. Ill.

Page 749

2007) (considering EEOC charge for purposes of motion to dismiss).

Terra Jordan is a light-skinned, African-American woman who lives in Chicago, Illinois. In 1999, Whelan hired Jordan to work as a security guard at office buildings in downtown Chicago. Between 2007 and 2012, she was assigned to work at HCSC's offices located at 300 E. Randolph St. and 111 East Wacker Dr.

In June of 2011, managers at Whelan and HCSC informed Jordan and other security guards that the HCSC offices at 111 E. Wacker would be closing and that employees would need to apply for positions at the 300 E. Randolph location. Jordan applied for the positions, but she did not hear back for several weeks. When she learned from a co-worker that five of her male colleagues had been offered interviews, she complained to her supervisor, Randall Thomas, who shortly thereafter extended an interview to Jordan.

At the interview, Jordan met with Thomas, HCSC deputy supervisor of security James Keathley, and Whelan Vice President Michael Seldin. Thomas told Jordan that they could not hire her because she had not completed a multi-week training course in how to work in a building's control room. Jordan alleges that Whelan and HCSC never offered this training to her but did offer it to dark-skinned African-American men. Thomas told Jordan to keep applying and that eventually she would get a job.

Jordan continued to apply for various positions at the 300 E. Randolph building for several weeks, but she was unsuccessful. She then learned that Thomas had selected another dark-skinned African-American man and a white woman for two of the jobs to which she had applied. When she learned this, Jordan decided to file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC.

To file the charge, Jordan first had to complete an intake questionnaire. The questionnaire included questions about Jordan's personal information, information about her employer, and the basis for her discrimination charge. Jordan listed Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois (" BCBS" )[1] and Whelan as the organizations that she believed discriminated against her. She checked boxes indicating that she believed BCBS and Whelan had discriminated against her on the basis of her race, sex, and skin color. She stated that she believed that BCBS and Whelan had discriminated against her by providing training only to men and by selecting employees for positions with less seniority than her. She wrote, " I am the only light skinned African American female officer in my Department at 111 E. Wacker facility BCBS 19th Floor." (Am. Compl. 9, ECF No. 18.)

After Jordan completed the intake questionnaire, someone prepared the EEOC charge itself.[2] Whoever prepared the charge for Jordan omitted many of the allegations contained in her intake questionnaire. The charge listed only Whelan as a respondent and did not mention BCBS. It charged Whelan only with sex and color discrimination, despite Jordan having also checked the box for race discrimination. It described Jordan only as a " light-skinned female," despite Jordan having described herself as a " light-skinned

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African American female" in response to three different questions on the intake questionnaire. Nevertheless, Jordan signed the charge, verifying that ...

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