United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER 
I. SCHENKIER UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Noemi Valdivia, has filed a two-count First Amended Complaint
("complaint") against defendant Township High
School District 214 ("District 214") seeking
damages and injunctive relief on the grounds that defendant
discriminated against her on the basis of race, in violation
of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000e, et seq. ("Title VII") and
interfered with her right to take job-protected leave, in
violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993, 29
U.S.C. § 2601, et seq. ("FMLA") (doc.
# 29: Compl., at ¶¶ 49-58). Defendant has filed a
motion to dismiss (doc. # 30), which is now fully briefed.
For the reasons set forth below, the Court denies
ruling on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, we construe
plaintiffs complaint in the light most favorable to her.
accept as true all well-pleaded factual allegations and draw
all reasonable inferences in favor of plaintiff. While v.
Kcely, 814 F.3d 883. 887-88 (7th Cir. 2016). We
summarize the relevant, well-pleaded facts below.
worked for District 214 as a secretary at Elk Grove High
School from May 2010 through June 2016: she states that she
always performed her job satisfactorily (Compl. at
¶¶ 13, 14). Plaintiff contends that during her
employment, her co-workers "regularly made derogatory
remarks about Hispanic students and their families, "
which increased in frequency beginning around September 2014
(Id., at ¶ 15). For example, one secretary made
comments one to two times per month to the effect that
Hispanic people come to America and want everything for free
even though they have new cell phones and their nails done
(Id., at ¶ 16). Another secretary told Ms.
Valdivia not to speak Spanish at work because they were in
"America" (Id., at ¶ 17). Plaintiff,
who is Hispanic, found these comments degrading, hostile and
offensive (Id., at ¶ 18).
Valdivia complained about these comments to Elk Grove
principal Paul Kelly "several times in 2015" and to
assistant principal Val Norris in November 2015 (Compl. at
¶¶19-20). Ms. Norris and Mr. Kelly told her there
was nothing they could do to address those comments because
the secretaries' union was too strong (Id.).
Valdivia became "distraught" about her work
environment (Id., at ¶ 21). In or around March
2016, 'in an effort to remove herself from the racially
hostile work environment at Elk Grove High School."
plaintiff applied for and was offered a position as a
secretary at Wheeling High School, another school within
District 214 (Compl. at ¶ 22). Ms. Valdivia began
working there in June 2016, and in July 2016. an associate
principal told her that "those people" - referring
to a Mexican family -- never pay their bills (Id.,
at ¶¶ 23-24). Afterward. Ms. Valdivia became
"extremely distraught and began crying regularly and
uncontrollably at work" (Id.,
atc25). While crying uncontrollably, she told her
supervisor. Principal Angela Sisi (whom she had known since
about 2012). that she was overwhelmed and afraid and she was
unsure if she could continue working (Id., at
¶¶ 25-26). In August 2016, Ms. Valdivia called
school counselor Ruby Aleman and I., atino Outreach Family
Coordinator David Maya while crying uncontrollably and told
them she did not know whether she could continue working for
District 214 (Id. at ¶ 28). In July and/or
August 2016, Ms. Valdivia asked Ms. Sisi to place her in a
ten-month position to give her two months off each school
year (Id., at ¶ 27).
response to Valdivia's various concerns regarding her
ability to work while in obvious distress." Ms. Sisi.
Mr. Aleman and Mr. Maya told Ms. Valdivia that she had to
decide between continuing or resigning her employment (Compl.
at, : 29). On August 3. 2016, Ms. Valdivia again
approached Ms. Sisi while crying uncontrollably and explained
that she was confused and overwhelmed: Ms. Valdivia also told
Ms. Sisi that she had not slept in weeks, had not been
eating, and was losing weight (Id., at ¶¶
30-31). Ms. Sisi again told plaintiff that she needed to
decide whether to continue working or to resign
(Id.). On August 4. 2016, Ms. Sisi texted Ms.
Valdivia to ask for a decision about her job (Id.,
at ¶ 32). Ms. Sisi and Ms. Valdivia discussed Ms.
Valdivia"s potential resignation, and Ms. Valdivia
stated that she would resign "due to medical
reasons" and feeling overwhelmed (Id., at
¶ 33). Ms. Sisi requested a written letter of
resignation; Ms. Valdivia was hesitant to provide one, but
she was unaware of any alternatives and she was unable to
continue working at that time (Id., at ¶¶
34. 36). Ms. Valdivia provided a letter of resignation on
August 4, 2016. effective August 11. 2016 (Id., at
August 4, 2016, District 214 posted a job vacancy seeking to
fill Ms. Valdivia's position (Compl. at ¶ 37). On
August 9, 2016. Ms. Valdivia went to Ms. Sisi's home and
told her she wanted to rescind her resignation (Id.,
at ¶ 38). Shortly thereafter, Ms. Sisi told Ms. Valdivia
that her replacement had been chosen and she could not return
to her position (Id., at ¶¶ 39-40).
Defendant's school board accepted plaintiff's
resignation on August 11. 2016 (Id., at ¶ 41).
Less than two weeks later, on August 23. 2016. Ms. Valdivia
was hospitalized for four days and diagnosed, for the first
time, with depression, anxiety disorder, panic disorder and
insomnia: she was cleared for secretarial work by her
physician after treatment (Id., at ¶¶
argues that plaintiffs complaint should be dismissed because
plaintiff has "failed to plead any facts" in
support of either her Title VII or FMLA claim (doc. ¶
30; Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss, at ¶¶ 2-3).
"To survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint must
'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its
face."' Foiling v. Kurtz Paramedic Servs.,
Inc., 840 F.3d 378, 382 (7th Cir. 2016) (quoting
Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly. 550 U.S. 544, 570
(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."""
Veiling* 840 F.3d at 382 (quoting Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662. 678 (2009)). When applying the
plausibility test, it is important to remember that the
requirement to plead enough factual material to show the
plausibility of a claim is not intended to transform federal
notice pleading into a regime of fact pleading. See
Bausch v. Stryker Corp., 630 F.3d 546. 558 (7th Cir.
Count I. Ms. Valdivia alleges that defendant discriminated
against her on the basis of her race in violation of Title
VII because it knowingly and continually subjected her to a
racially offensive and hostile work environment (Compl. at
¶¶ 51-52). Title VII prohibits "employers from
requiring people to work in a discriminatorily hostile or
abusive environment." Boss v. Castro, 816 F.3d
910. 920 (7th Cir. 2016) (citing Vance v. Ball Stale
Univ., 133 S.Ct. 2434, 2440-41 (2013)). To state a Title
VII hostile work environment claim, a plaintiff must allege
that: "(1) she was subject to unwelcome harassment: (2)
the harassment was based on her national origin or religion
(or another reason forbidden by Title VII); (3) the
harassment was severe or pervasive so as to alter the
conditions of employment and create a hostile or abusive
working environment; and (4) there is basis tor employer
liability." Hurt v. Office of The Chief Judge of the
Circuit Cowl of Cook Cty., 804 F.3d 826. 833-34 (7th
Seventh Circuit has "sometimes phrased the test
differently, replacing the first nrong-that the employee was
subject to unwelcome harassment-with the requirement that the
work environment was "both subjectively and objectively
offensive."" Cole v. Bd. of Trs. of N. III.
Univ.,838 F.3d 888. 896 n.6 (7th Cir. 2016) (quoting
Yancick v. Hanna Steel Corp.,653 F.3d 532. 544 (7th
Cir. 2011)). The question of whether the work environment was
both subjectively and objectively offensive may be
"subsumed by the question whether the harassment was
severe or pervasive enough to rise to the level of a ...