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Carroll v. YMCA of Metro Chicago, LLC

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

January 9, 2015




Deirdre Carroll worked at a Chicago-area YMCA from January 2010 to December 2012. After the YMCA fired her, Carroll sued the YMCA and her supervisor David Rodriguez for employment discrimination and various intentional torts. The YMCA and Rodriguez move to dismiss Carroll's complaint on multiple grounds. The court grants in part and denies in part the motion [27].


Carroll's complaint alleges a pattern of sexual and ethnic harassment and discrimination during her employment with the YMCA. In January 2010, Carroll began working as a member-relations director at the Lattof branch of the YMCA in Des Plaines, Illinois. Dkt. # 24 at 2-4. Rodriguez was the branch's executive director. Carroll alleges that shortly after she started work, Rodriquez began making inappropriate comments to her and touching her inappropriately. For instance, Rodriguez allegedly told Carroll that he really liked her and that he found her very attractive. Id. at 4. Carroll relates that while she was in Rodriguez's office, Rodriguez would put his arm around her shoulders, touch her arms, hold her hands, and rub her legs. Id. at 4-5. Rodriguez also allegedly forced Carroll to remain in his office for hours at a time. Carroll states that Rodriguez would sometimes stare at her for thirty minutes without speaking as he tapped his pencil on his desk. Id. at 4. Carroll alleges that she repeatedly told Rodriguez not to touch her but that Rodriguez persisted in touching her against her wishes. At one point, Rodriguez allegedly stood in the doorway of his office to prevent Carroll from exiting. Id.

Rodriguez and Carroll attended business meetings together away from the YMCA facility, and Carroll alleges that Rodriguez insisted that Carroll ride in his car. Id. at 5-6. According to Carroll, Rodriguez repeatedly touched and rubbed Carroll's arm in his car. After one business meeting, Rodriguez allegedly drove Carroll to a casino against her wishes, which made Carroll nervous and afraid.

Carroll also details how Rodriguez treated her differently than male employees. Under Rodriguez's supervision, Carroll allegedly worked thirteen-hour days, seven days a week, when her male colleagues worked a 40 hour, 5 days a week schedule. Id. at 7. Carroll also alleges that Rodriguez imposed fundraising goals on her that were much greater than those of her male colleagues. Id. at 6. During director meetings, Rodriguez allegedly made comments such as "the boys on my team understand me" and "women are high drama." Id. at 8.

In November 2010, Carroll met with a human resources manager for the metro YMCA to discuss the situation at work. Id. at 10. Three months later, Carroll e-mailed metro YMCA's human relations vice president to describe Rodriguez's harassment. Throughout 2011, Carroll contacted another senior YMCA employee to complain about Rodriguez. Carroll alleges that, in December 2011, she called metro YMCA's president to quit but that the YMCA persuaded her to continue working. Id. Metro YMCA allegedly took no action in response to Carroll's repeated complaints. Id. at 11.

Early in 2012, Rodriguez allegedly began making pejorative comments about the Irish to Carroll, who was born in Ireland. Id. at 2, 6. She relates that Rodriguez made comments such as: "Irish people are not very smart; since you are Irish, you are not very smart, either." Id. at 6.

Carroll states that, in March, Rodriguez instructed her to run her hand around the rim of the toilets in the women's room, telling her to do so "because you are a girl." Id. at 9. Rodriguez also allegedly stripped Carroll of one her primary job duties in front of other senior employees. In May, Rodriguez gave Carroll a negative performance review.

The defendants do not contest that in May 2012 Carroll took a medical leave of absence for what Carroll alleges was a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder. When Carroll returned to work from medical leave, she was still required to work seven days a week. Dkt. # 26 at 18. Carroll maintains that no male employee had a similar work schedule. Dkt. # 24 at 11. When Rodriguez placed Carroll on a performance enhancement plan, dkt. # 26 at 18, he allegedly told other employees that Carroll needed to be fired, dkt. # 24 at 11.

On October 5, 2012, Carroll complained of discrimination to the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, both of which issued Carroll right-to-sue notices. Dkt. # 24-1 at 10-11. Rodriguez continued to file disciplinary reports against Carroll at work. Dkt. # 24 at 12. On December 11, 2012, Rodriguez fired Carroll. On December 30, 2013, Carroll sued the YMCA and Rodriguez in federal court, alleging numerous claims of employment discrimination under federal and state law and alleging various intentional tort claims.


A complaint must contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the [plaintiff] is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). In other words, the complaint "must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to state a claim to relief that is ...

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