United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Honorable Thomas M. Durkin Judge
Odicho alleges Swedish Covenant Hospital failed to pay him
for lunch breaks when he was employed there as a pharmacist,
in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and its
Illinois counterpart (Counts I & II). Odicho also alleges
that when he complained about this practice he was retaliated
against by having his shifts understaffed and disciplinary
warnings added to his employment record (Counts III &
IV). Finally, Odicho brings a defamation claim against the
Hospital and his former supervisor, Jane Lee, for making the
accusations that were the basis of the disciplinary warnings
against him (Count V). Defendants have moved to dismiss all
counts against them for failure to state a claim pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). R. 10. For the
following reasons, that motion is denied in part and granted
12(b)(6) motion challenges the sufficiency of the
complaint. See, e.g., Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of
Police of Chi. Lodge No. 7, 570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir.
2009). A complaint must provide “a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief, ” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), sufficient to
provide defendant with “fair notice” of the claim
and the basis for it. Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). This standard “demands more
than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009). While “detailed factual allegations”
are not required, “labels and conclusions, and a
formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action
will not do.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. The
complaint must “contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570).
“‘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). In applying this standard,
the Court accepts all well-pleaded facts as true and draws
all reasonable inferences in favor of the non-moving party.
Mann, 707 F.3d at 877.
alleges that he began working at the Hospital as a clinical
pharmacist in March 2013. R. 1 ¶ 7. He always met or
exceeded performance expectations. Id. ¶ 8.
was paid on a hourly basis, and the Hospital's policy
required employees who worked more than 7.5 hours in a day to
take an unpaid 30 minute meal break, which was automatically
deducted from paychecks. Id. ¶¶ 9-10.
Odicho alleges that he was often forced to work through his
meal breaks, yet 30 minutes of pay was still deducted from
his check. Id. ¶ 11.
January 31, 2017, Odicho complained about the underpayment to
Lee. Id. ¶ 13. She refused to fix the problem
and suggested that Odicho should not have a problem with the
practice. Id. Shortly thereafter on February 7,
2017, Lee issued a disciplinary warning to Odicho, accusing
him of behaving aggressively toward her. Id. ¶
months later around March 3, 2017, Odicho again complained to
Lee about the underpayment of his wages. Id. ¶
15. Lee again issued a disciplinary warning to Odicho on
March 14, 2017, this time accusing him of inappropriately
touching a co-worker. Id. ¶ 16. Odicho alleges
that the co-worker denied the accusation. Id.
months later on June 27, 2017, Odicho complained during his
performance review about understaffing at the Hospital's
pharmacy. Id. ¶ 17. Three days later on June
30, 2017, Lee issued another disciplinary warning and sought
to have Odicho suspended, based on the allegation that he
left a cabinet open. Id. ¶ 18.
then sent a letter to Lee's supervisor on July 3, 2017,
complaining about the deductions from his paychecks, and
retained an attorney who contacted the Hospital's human
resources department about the issue. Id. ¶ 20.
The human resources department investigated the issue, and
around July 18, 2017, the Hospital paid Odicho $1, 909.04 for
99 unpaid meal breaks. Id. ¶¶ 21-22. The
Hospital did not provide documentation demonstrating that
this was the entirety of the wages Odicho was owed.
Id. ¶ 22.
continued to understaff Odicho's shifts. Id.
¶ 23. Odicho alleges that this understaffing
“created an unsafe environment for the Hospital's
patients.” Id. ¶ 24. Odicho resigned
because he “could not risk putting the patient's
health and safety at risk because of long hours with no
Wage Claims ...