United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ST. EVE, DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
13, 2017, Plaintiff Carla Little (“Little”)
brought the present Complaint against Defendant, Illinois
Department of Public Health (“IDPH”), alleging
violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
(“Title VII”), the Age Discrimination in
Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 612 et seq.
(“ADEA”), and 42 U.S.C. § 1981
(“1981”). Before the Court is Defendant's
motion to dismiss brought pursuant to Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure 8(a), 12(b)(1), and 12(b)(6). For the following
reasons, the Court grants in part and denies in part
Carla Little, is a 54-year-old African-American female who
resides in Lake County, Illinois. (R. 1, Compl. ¶¶
4, 11.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant's employees
harassed and retaliated against her on the bases of her race,
sex, and age. (Id. ¶ 7.)
February 2004, Defendant hired Plaintiff as a Laboratory
Research Scientist, and she currently is a Public Service
Administrator Option 6F with IDPH. (Id. ¶¶
12-13.) Plaintiff claims that her job performance meets
Defendant's expectations based on evaluations.
(Id. ¶ 14.) Starting in January 2015, Plaintiff
made several reports “regarding being harassed by her
Supervisors and those in superior positions than her.”
(Id. ¶ 15.) Specifically, between February 2015
and the present, Plaintiff alleges that she complained
internally to Mark Edminston, Win Rawls, Erik Rayman, Allan
Abinoja, and other managers and directors at IDPH.
(Id. ¶ 37.) Plaintiff also alleges that she
complained externally to Governor Rauner. (Id.
¶ 38.) Regardless of these complaints, Defendant failed
to take any corrective action. (Id. ¶ 16.)
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant increased surveillance on
Plaintiff, intentionally withheld necessary information,
tools, and documents Plaintiff needed to perform her job
effectively, purposely set Plaintiff up to fail, intimidated
and abused Plaintiff, and isolated Plaintiff. (Id.
Plaintiff alleges that IDPH employees have accused her of
running up excessive miles on rental cars and falsifying
reimbursement and travel documents. (Id. ¶ 19.)
Additionally, Plaintiff complained that Deborah Usherwood
intentionally delayed submitting Plaintiff's travel
vouchers in June 2015, and Michelle Gentry-Wiseman suggested
and approved multiple allegedly unjustified disciplinary
actions for Plaintiff. (Id. ¶¶ 18, 20.)
Plaintiff also alleges that, as the result of
Gentry-Wiseman's orders, Defendant subjected her to an
unjustified disciplinary action resulting in a two-day
suspension. (Id. ¶¶ 21-22, 27.) Plaintiff
claims that Erik Rayman changed her reporting structure so
that she reported to Gina Swehla, a Caucasian, instead of her
previous African American supervisor. (Id. ¶
40.) Plaintiff alleges that Defendant's employees have
subjected her to ongoing harassment under the Swehla's
supervision. (Id. ¶ 41.) Swehla, for example,
gave several of Plaintiff's job duties and assignments to
Jennifer Reid and several other inexperienced interns.
(Id. ¶ 46.) After Plaintiff expressed concern
about the importance of the assignments and the preparedness
of the interns, Swehla left the interns in control of the
assignments, causing embarrassment to Plaintiff.
(Id. ¶¶ 47-48.) Further, Plaintiff alleges
that Defendant did not equally enforce its policies, terms
and conditions, job duties, travel voucher requests, and
travel reimbursement policies across employees of all races.
(Id. ¶ 57.) Finally, Plaintiff alleges that her
age, sex, and race motivated Defendant's actions.
(Id. ¶¶ 1, 49, 57.)
October 5, 2015, Plaintiff filed a charge against Defendant
with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”). (Id. ¶ 6.) Before March
8, 2017, Plaintiff signed a voluntary withdrawal request form
with the Illinois Department of Human Rights and requested a
right to sue letter. (Id. ¶ 8.) On April 17,
2017, Plaintiff received a Notice of Right to Sue letter from
the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division.
(Id. ¶ 9.)
12(b)(6) and 8(a)
motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) challenges the viability of a complaint by arguing
that it fails to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted.” Camasta v. Jos. A. Bank Clothiers,
Inc., 761 F.3d 732, 736 (7th Cir. 2014). Under Rule
8(a)(2), a complaint must include “a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The short and plain
statement under Rule 8(a)(2) must “give the defendant
fair notice of what the claim is and the grounds upon which
it rests.” Bell Atlantic v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007) (citation omitted). Under the federal notice
pleading standards, a plaintiff's “factual
allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level.” Id. Put differently, a
“complaint must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). In determining the
sufficiency of a complaint under the plausibility standard,
courts must “accept all well-pleaded facts as true and
draw reasonable inferences in the plaintiffs'
favor.” Roberts v. City of Chicago, 817 F.3d
561, 564 (7th Cir. 2016).
12(b)(1) motion challenges federal jurisdiction, and the
plaintiff bears the burden of establishing the elements
necessary for jurisdiction, including standing, have been
met. Scanlan v. Eisenberg, 669 F.3d 838, 841-42 (7th
Cir. 2012). For purposes of a motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(1), the Court accepts all well-pleaded factual
allegations as true and construes all reasonable inferences
in the plaintiff's favor. Id. at 841. In ruling
on a Rule 12(b)(1) motion, the Court may look outside of the
complaint's allegations and consider the parties'
evidence on the issue of jurisdiction. Apex Digital, Inc.
v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 572 F.3d 440, 444 (7th Cir.
2009) (internal quotation marks omitted).
Motion to Dismiss, Defendant argues that the Court should
dismiss (1) Counts I and III due to Plaintiff's failure
to exhaust her administrative remedies; (2) Counts I, II, and
III for failure to state a claim; and (3) Count IV because
the Eleventh Amendment bars claims under §§ 1981
and 1983. The Court addresses each argument in turn.
Counts I and III, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant
discriminated against her on the basis of her sex and race in
violation of Title VII and age in violation of the ADEA.
Defendant argues that Plaintiff's Complaint does not
specify when various alleged acts of discrimination occurred,
and to the extent those acts occurred after October 5, 2015,
when Plaintiff filed her EEOC charge, those acts may not
support her claims because a plaintiff cannot bring federal
claims that she did not include in her EEOC charge. Because
Plaintiff failed to specify whether the acts underlying her
claims occurred before or after she filed her EEOC charge,
Defendant argues that the Court should dismiss
Plaintiff's claims for failure to exhaust her
administrative remedies.Plaintiff responds that because ...