United States District Court, N.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
JOHNSON COLEMAN United States District Judge.
Alfredo Gallardo, filed a two-Count Second Amended Complaint,
alleging employment discrimination based on his race,
ancestry, and disability. Defendant, Chicago Transit
Authority (“CTA”) moves to dismiss Count II of
the complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim . For the reasons
stated herein, the motion is denied.
Gallardo is of Hispanic ancestry and was employed by the CTA
as a Rail Maintenance Manager from May 2013 until CTA
terminated his employment on October 25, 2013. (Second Amend.
Compl. Dkt. 29 at ¶¶ 4, 6, 16). In Count II,
Gallardo also alleges disability discrimination in violation
of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) 42
U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. He alleges that he had a
history of physician diagnosed depression disorder and
anxiety disorder. (Id. at ¶ 25). Gallardo
alleges his condition substantially limited his sleep,
concentration, breathing, thinking, eating, marital
relations, and caused feelings of hopelessness. (Id.
at ¶ 26). He alleges that he is unable to perform or is
significantly restricted as to the condition, manner or
duration in performing the above major life activities as
compared to the average person. (Id. at ¶ 27).
alleges CTA became aware of his depression and his anxiety
disorder because he disclosed it to his managers, Bell and
O'Connell and to Human Resources personnel. (Id.
at ¶ 30). Additionally, Gallardo alleges that he
disclosed and provided further information and documentation
to CTA about his psychological conditions when he applied for
disability leave. (Id. at ¶ 31). Through the
process of applying for, and having his disability leave
request approved, Gallardo provided CTA with an opportunity
to access to his medical records. (Id.).
also allegedly communicated with Gallardo about his medical
status and ability to return to work, while he was on medical
leave. (Id.). He alleges that at all relevant times
he adequately performed his job duties and never received any
discipline. (Id. at ¶¶ 7, 15, 24). He
further alleges that, during his disability leave neither his
managers, Bell and O'Connell, nor Willison in Human
Resources ever informed him of disciplinary or performance
issues. (Id. at ¶ 35).
terminated Gallardo's employment on October 25, 2013,
during his medical leave. (Id. at ¶ 26).
Gallardo further alleges that CTA fired him because of his
superiors' displeasure and discomfort with his documented
his mental health conditions and his related inability to
return to work. (Id. at ¶ 37). He asserts that
CTA falsely claimed his termination resulted from performance
issues as evidence by the violation of CTA's own
procedure of progressive discipline. (Id. at ¶
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) challenges the
sufficiency of the complaint, not its merits. Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6); Gibson v. City of Chicago, 910 F.2d 1510,
1520 (7th Cir. 1990). In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion
to dismiss, the Court accepts as true all well pleaded facts
in the plaintiff's complaint and draws all reasonable
inferences from those facts in the plaintiff's favor.
AnchorBank, FSB v. Hofer, 649 F.3d 610, 614 (7th
Cir. 2011). To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the complaint
must not only provide the defendant with fair notice of a
claim's basis but must also be facially plausible.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct.
1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009); see also Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167
L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). “A claim has facial plausibility
when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the
court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 678.
CTA argues that this Court should dismiss Gallardo's
disability discrimination claim because his Illinois
Department of Human Rights (“IDHR”) and Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) charge
did not contain any claim of disability based on Gallardo
having a record of impairment or CTA regarding him as having
an impairment. It is CTA's position that Gallardo has not
exhausted his administrative remedies as to those claims.
scope of the judicial proceedings in the employment
discrimination context is limited by the nature of the
charges filed with the agency. Rush v. McDonald's
Corp., 966 F.2d 1104, 1110 (7th Cir. 1992).
“Courts review the scope of an EEOC charge
liberally.” Huri v. Office of the Chief Judge of
the Circuit Court of Cook Cnty., 804 F.3d 826, 831-832
(7th Cir. 2015) (citing Farrell v. Butler Univ., 421
F.3d 609, 616 (7th Cir. 2005)”. “To be cognizable
in federal court, a Title VII claim must simply be
‘like or reasonably related to the allegations of the
charge and growing out of such allegations.'”
Id. (quoting Cheek v. W. & S. Life Ins.
Co., 31 F.3d 497, 500 (7th Cir. 1994)). At minimum, the
complaint and the EEOC charge must describe the same conduct
and implicate the same individuals. Huri, 804 F.3d
Gallardo's IDHR and EEOC charge includes a claim for
disability discrimination. The fact that it states that CTA
was aware of Gallardo's disability does not mean that he
is precluded from asserting in his complaint that he is a
qualified individual with a disability under the ADA based on
his record of disability and that CTA regarded him as having
a disability. A Title VII plaintiff need not include in his
charge every fact that, individually or in combination, forms
the basis of a subsequent lawsuit's claims.
Huri, 804 F.3d at 831. The same conduct (disability
discrimination) and the same entity (CTA) are implicated in
both the charge and the complaint at issue here. How Gallardo
establishes that he is a qualified individual with a
disability for ADA purposes does not alter the notice
provided to CTA that Gallardo is claiming they discriminated
against him based on his disability. Accordingly, this Court
finds Gallardo exhausted his administrative remedies.
CTA argues that Gallardo fails to state a claim in Count II
for disability discrimination. The ADA prohibits
discrimination against qualified individuals with a
disability. 42 U.S.C. § 12131. To establish an ADA
violation Gallardo must allege that he is a qualified
individual with a disability under the statute, suffered an
adverse employment action, and there is a causal connection