United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
I. Schenkier Magistrate Judge
Maxine Jackson ("Plaintiff or "Ms. Jackson")
was the Director of Human Resources for defendant Village of
University Park, Illinois ("Defendant" or
"Village"). She filed this suit pursuant to Title
VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e
et seq. ("Title VII"), alleging
discrimination and harassment on the basis of her sex and
retaliation (doc. # 1: Complt). The Village has moved to
dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim pursuant
to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) (doc. # 12: Mot. to Dismiss). For
the reasons stated below, the motion is granted in part and
denied in part.
motion to dismiss, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), challenges the
sufficiency of the complaint. Hallinan v. Fraternal Order
of Police of Chi. Lodge No. 7, 570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th
Cir. 2009). A complaint must contain enough information, in
the form of "a short and plain statement of the claim,
" to show that the pleader is entitled to relief, and
must give the defendant "fair notice" of the claim
and its basis. Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), Bell Ad. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). We accept as true all
well-pleaded facts in the complaint and construe the
complaint in the light most favorable to the non-moving
party, drawing all possible inferences in the non-moving
party's favor. Hecker v. Deere & Co., 556
F.3d 575, 580 (7th Cir. 2009), cert. denied, 558
U.S. 1148 (2010). That said, in deciding a motion to dismiss,
a court must determine whether the complaint includes
"enough facts to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face." Bible v. United Student Aid
Funds, Inc., 799 F.3d. 633, 639 (7th Cir. 2015),
quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557. This
"standard demands more than an unadorned,
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). Rather,
"[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.'" Mann v.
Vogel, 707 F.3d 872, 877 (7th Cir.2013) (quoting
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678).
may consider documents attached to the complaint without
converting the motion into one for summary judgment.
Bible, 799 F.3d at 640. In this case, Plaintiff
attached to her complaint (1) "An Employment Agreement
For the Position of Director of Human Resources Between the
Village of University Park and Maxine Jackson"
("Employment Agreement") (Complt., Ex. 1), (2) a
termination letter dated January 12, 2016 from Johnna L.
Townsend, the Acting Village Manager, to Maxine Jackson
("Termination Letter") (Complt., Ex. 2), (3) a
charge of discrimination presented to EEOC
("Charge") (Complt., Ex. 3), and (4) a notice of
right to sue letter from the U.S. Department of Justice,
Civil Rights Division ("Right to Sue Letter")
(Complt., Ex. 4). We therefore may consider these exhibits
when deciding the motion to dismiss.
purposes of this motion, we accept as true the following
factual allegations in the Complaint. Plaintiff is female
(Complt., Ex. 3). Ms. Jackson and the Village entered into a
written employment agreement dated May 18, 2015; on that
date, she began her employment as the Director of Human
Resources for the Village (Id. ¶¶ 2, 9,
11). While Ms. Jackson was employed by the Village, Johnna
Townsend ("Ms. Townsend") was the Acting Village
Manager and Plaintiffs supervisor, and Joseph E. Roudez,
Oscar Brown, Jr., Keith J. Griffin, and Milton C. Payton were
trustees of the Village ("Trustees") (Id.
¶ 6). Plaintiff performed all of the duties of her
position and met the Mayor's and the Village
Manager's legitimate expectations as Director of Human
Resources for the Village (Id. ¶ 10).
2015, Plaintiff accepted the resignation of a relative of
Trustee Roudez (Complt. ¶ 14). Thereafter, Trustee
Roudez stated to Plaintiff that "she should stay in her
lane and she was to give his relative his job back
immediately if she did not want a claim filed against her
with the EEOC and not to rock the boat and she should know
her place" (Id. ¶ 14), Plaintiff alleges
that Trustee Roudez "continued to harass" her and
"came to the Plaintiffs office to intimidate her"
(Id. ¶ 14).
October 22, 2015, Plaintiff was instructed to move her office
to the police station (Complt. ¶ 15). "At said
time and place Trustee Griffin stated to the [C]hief of
Police who was helping Plaintiff to move 'Fuck that
bitch' and while moving her over to the police station
Trustee Griffin then stated to the Chief of Police 'find
a reason to arrest her ass'" (Id. ¶
15). In Plaintiffs memorandum opposing the motion to dismiss
(doc. # 23, Pl's Mem. at 10), Plaintiff states she was
present when Trustee Griffin made the statements to the Chief
of Police; however, her Complaint does not contain this
October 2015, the Village was in the process of selling the
golf course it owned and operated (Complt. ¶ 16). Prior
to the execution of a contract for sale of the golf course,
the buyer took possession and control of the golf course
(Id. ¶ 16). The Village did not give its
existing golf course employees proper notice of termination
and human resources protocol was not followed by the Village
(Id. ¶ 16). Plaintiff advised the Mayor and Ms.
Townsend of the situation, and requested a copy of the
contract to ensure that employee matters were addressed
(Id. ¶ 16). Plaintiff was concerned that the
Village would not be able to meet a monthly financial
commitment of $43, 000.00 while carrying a $3, 500, 000.00
deficit (Id. ¶ 16). In response to her request,
Plaintiff received a document that was referred to as a
contract; however, after review, the Plaintiff informed the
Mayor and Ms. Townsend that the document was a rider and did
not address the employee issues or concerns (Id.
¶ 16). The Plaintiff then e-mailed her recommendations
to the Mayor and Ms. Townsend (Id. ¶ 16).
the October 22, 2015 statement by Trustee Griffin, Ms.
Jackson e-mailed Ms. Townsend and the Mayor objecting to
harassment by Trustee Griffin (Complt. ¶ 20). Nothing
was done to alleviate the harassment issues, and when Ms.
Jackson later reminded Ms. Townsend of this, Ms. Townsend
responded by saying "I was told to terminate you by both
Trustee Griffin and Trustee Roudez" (Id. ¶
20). Ms. Jackson also alleges that in a follow-up meeting
after the golf course issue arose, Ms. Townsend informed
Plaintiff that she would have to terminate Plaintiffs
employment because Trustees Roudez and Griffin "wanted
her gone" (Id. ¶ 17). When Plaintiff
inquired why, Ms. Townsend claimed Plaintiffs contract was
illegal (Id. ¶ 17). The Complaint does not make
clear whether the alleged comments by Ms. Townsend about
termination occurred during one meeting or in two separate
meetings. In November 2015, Ms. Jackson spoke with the Mayor
and Trustees Wilson and Brown, all of whom denied knowledge
of a decision to terminate Plaintiff and stated they were
pleased with her job performance (Id. ¶ 20).
January 12, 2016, Plaintiff received a letter from Ms.
Townsend terminating her employment (Complt. ¶ 12). The
letter stated that the termination was due to the existing
financial state of the Village (Id., Ex. 2).
However, in the annual Village budget, Plaintiffs position of
Director of Human Resources was identified as a priority
(Id. ¶ 18). Additionally, Ms. Townsend, with
the support of the Trustees, recruited a new Director of
Public Works (whose gender is not alleged), a position
previously held by a consultant at a lower cost and with no
benefits (Id. ¶ 19).
filed her Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC on February
17, 2016 (Complt. ¶ 21 and, Ex. 3), and on January 4,
2017 a right to sue letter was issued by the United States
Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division (Id.,