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Sauceda v. Central Pool Supply, Inc.

United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Rock Island Division

January 30, 2015

JONNELL SAUCEDA, Plaintiff,
v.
CENTRAL POOL SUPPLY, INC., Defendants.

ORDER

SARA DARROW, District Judge.

This is an employment discrimination case filed pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and 775 ILCS 5/2-102 and 775 ILCS 5/6-101. Before the Court is Defendant Central Pool Supply's Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 6. Central Pool Supply argues that Plaintiff Sauceda only pleads facts in his Complaint, ECF No. 1, sufficient to support the inference that he was discriminated against on the basis of his national origin, rather than his race, and that national origin cannot give rise to a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1981. For the following reasons, the Motion to Dismiss is DENIED.

BACKGROUND[1]

Jonnell Sauceda is half French and half Hispanic. ¶¶ 4, 9. On February 20, 2012, he began working as a driver for the Moline branch of Central Pool Supply, a swimming pool parts distributor with offices in Peoria, East Peoria, and Moline, Illinois. ¶¶ 4-5. In hiring for the position ultimately filled by Sauceda, Randall Gebhardt, who ran the Moline branch, told Mitchell George, the warehouse manager, "Do not hire any Mexicans or black people... [a]ll they do is steal from me." ¶ 7. Nevertheless, Mitchell later hired Sauceda, which upset Gebhardt. Id.

Over the course of Sauceda's employment at Central Pool Supply, Gebhardt made a number of statements that Sauceda construed as racially derogatory. These were:

• On September 16, 2012, Mexican Independence Day, Gebhardt sarcastically asked Sauceda if he would like to take the day off to celebrate. When Sauceda said that he would, Gebhardt refused to allow it. ¶ 9.
• Gebhardt asked Sauceda: "Don't all Mexicans drink tequila and ride borrows [sic]?"[2] Id.
• Gebhardt yelled on several occasions "All Mexicans are fucking stupid!" Id.
• Gebhardt told Sauceda that he was a "Frenchican, " a joke whose humor came from Sauceda's mixed heritage. Id.
• On Cinco de Mayo, Gebhardt asked Sauceda where his sombrero was. Id.
• When Sauceda came in wet after having unloaded his truck in the rain, Gebhardt asked: "What's the matter Silver, aren't you used to getting wet?" Sauceda construed this as a joke about his Mexican racial identity whose humor came from the derogatory racist term "wetback." Id.
• When discussing then-Congressional candidate Cheri Bustos, Gebhardt said to Sauceda, "[I]f she wins there will be tacos for everyone." Id.
• Gebhardt referred in Sauceda's presence to President Obama as a "monkey" and "nigger." Id.
• Gebhardt told Sauceda to cut an African-American employee's hours because Gebhardt had "never had any luck ...

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