United States District Court, C.D. Illinois, Peoria Division
DARLENE L. SEALE, Plaintiff,
MEDSOURCE, LLC, Defendant.
ORDER & OPINION
BILLY McDADE United States Senior District Judge.
matter is before the Court on Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint. (Doc. 4). The motion has
been fully briefed and is ready for decision. For the reasons
stated below, the motion is granted in part and denied in
ruling on a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim
pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), “the court must treat all
well-pleaded allegations as true and draw all inferences in
favor of the non-moving party.” In re march FIRST
Inc., 589 F.3d 901, 904 (7th Cir. 2009). The pleading
must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). To survive a motion to dismiss, the
challenged pleading must contain sufficient detail to give
notice of the claim, and the allegations must
“plausibly suggest that the [non-movant] has a right to
relief, raising that possibility above a ‘speculative
level.' ” EEOC v. Concentra Health Servs.,
Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007)). The plausibility standard requires enough facts
“to present a story that holds together, ” but
does not require a determination of probability. Swanson
v. Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 404 (7th Cir. 2010).
Though detailed factual allegations are not needed, a
“formulaic recitation of a cause of action's
elements will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
545. Lastly, when a plaintiff pleads facts demonstrating that
he has no claim, dismissal of the complaint is proper.
McCready v. eBay, Inc., 453 F.3d 882, 888 (7th Cir.
is an African-American woman. She was employed by Defendant
on or about May 16, 2016. On and prior to August 25, 2016,
Plaintiff opposed acts of racial discrimination asserted
against her and others in the workplace by senior management
personnel, supervisory personnel and human resource personnel
employed by Defendant. That same day, Plaintiff submitted an
employee grievance advising Defendant of the alleged acts of
racial discrimination and her opposition to such acts.
Defendant investigated the grievance and found it to be
later filed a charge of discrimination against Defendant with
the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”). The allegations in the charge were
terse. (See Doc. 5-1). Plaintiff alleged she was
subjected to different terms and condition of employment
including, but not limited to, being denied an opportunity to
interview for a promotion. She also alleged that she believed
she was discriminated against because of her race. After an
investigation, the EEOC was unable to conclude that the
information obtained through its investigation established
the violation of any law. It nevertheless issued Plaintiff a
right to sue letter. (Doc. 1-1).
around November 13, 2016, the EEOC investigator provided
Defendant with a copy of the Right to Sue letter. On January
12, 2017, Plaintiff was terminated by Defendant on the basis
that the company was undergoing a reduction in workforce. She
alleges that at all times relevant she was meeting
Defendant's legitimate business expectations. This action
was filed on February 10, 2017.
Complaint alleges that Defendant discriminated against
Plaintiff on account of her race in violation of Title VII of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964, codified at 42 U.S.C. §
2000e et. seq. The Complaint is poorly drafted and does not
clearly set out the claims. However, the parties seem to
agree there are two separate claims: a racial discrimination
claim as to the conditions of employment and a retaliation
claim for filing an EEOC complaint regarding the racial
discrimination claim. Defendant argues that the Complaint
should be dismissed because first, the retaliation claim was
not presented to the EEOC before this suit was initiated, and
second, the racial discrimination claim does not allege
sufficient facts to make it plausible that Plaintiff suffered
an adverse employment action due to her race. The Court
disagrees with the Defendant's first argument but agrees
with its second argument.
argues that the retaliation claim should be dismissed because
Plaintiff did not present it to the EEOC before initiating
this lawsuit. A federal employment discrimination plaintiff
generally is limited in a Title VII action to pursuing only
the claims she made before the EEOC. Teal v. Potter,
559 F.3d 687, 691 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing Cheek v.
Western & Southern Life Ins. Co., 31 F.3d 497, 500
(7th Cir. 1994); Rush v. McDonald's Corp., 966
F.2d 1104, 1110 (7th Cir. 1992)). This requirement's
purposes are “to promote resolution of the dispute by
settlement or conciliation and to ensure that the sued
employers receive adequate notice of the charges against
them.” Id. Plaintiffs are also able, though,
to pursue claims that are “like or reasonably related
to the allegations of the [administrative] charge and growing
out of such allegations.'” Id. at 691-92.
(quoting Jenkins v. Blue Cross Mut. Hosp. Ins.,
Inc., 538 F.2d 164, 167 (7th Cir. 1976) (alteration in
original)). This inquiry turns on whether “there is a
reasonable relationship between the allegations in the charge
and those in the complaint, and the claim in the complaint
could reasonably be expected to be discovered in the course
of the EEOC's investigation.” Id. at 692
(citing Cheek, 31 F.3d at 500).
alleged incident of retaliation that occurred after a
plaintiff has already filed an EEOC complaint can serve as
the basis for a Title VII claim. McKenzie v. Ill. Dept.
of Transp., 92 F.3d 473 482-82 (7th Cir. 1996). In
situations where the alleged retaliation arose after the EEOC
charge was filed, only the single previous filing is
necessary to comply with Title VII, “a double filing
‘would serve no purpose except to create additional
procedural technicalities.'” Id. citing
Steffen v. Meridian Life Ins. Co., 859 F.2d 534, 545
(7th Cir. 1988).
situation falls squarely into the exception carved out in
McKenzie and Steffen cited above. Plaintiff
is claiming that she was retaliated against for filing the
EEOC claim. Forcing her to file yet another EEOC claim would
be a pointless procedural hurdle that serves no other
purpose. Steffen, 859 F.2d at 545. Thus, the latter
retaliation claim is clearly reasonably related to ...