United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Virginia M. Kendall United States District Judge.
Laura Wicik brings this action against her employer Cook
County Health and Hospital System (“CCHHS”), her
supervisor Lynda Harper, and Cook County for discrimination
in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(“ADA”), 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et
seq.; interference with her rights under the Family
Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”); and retaliation in
violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42
U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. Currently before the
Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss. (Dkt. 11). For
the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion is
granted in part and denied in part. Wicik is given until
April 13, 2018 to file an amended complaint consistent with
this opinion to the extent that she can do so. In any event,
the parties are directed to exchange their mandatory initial
discovery within 30 days, or by April 13, 2018.
1992, Laura Wicik, a Caucasian woman, began working for
CCHHS. Wicik suffers from a “medical disability, which
includes high blood pressure and stress”; Defendants
were aware of her condition, although Wicik does not include
specifics concerning how or when Defendants became so aware.
(Dkt. 1) at ¶¶ 4, 14, 20, 24; see also Id.
at ¶ 48 (“Upon information and belief, Plaintiff
has advised her supervisors, union representatives, and the
Defendants of her disabilities . . . .”). As relevant
here, on or about November 4, 2013, Wicik was working as an
administrative assistant at John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital
(“Stroger”). Id. at ¶ 18. During
her time at Stroger, her supervisor, Fran Rampick, harassed
her by issuing unwarranted “write ups” and
otherwise “targeted [Wicik] for harassment.”
Id. ¶¶ 19, 23. Wicik reported incidents of
harassment and reverse-racial discrimination to Defendant
“on multiple occasions” and she “complained
about her treatment in 2015” and after, but no
discipline was effected and management continued to pressure
her and disregard her need for disability accommodations.
Id. at ¶¶ 16, 21, 22.
point (which, based on the complaint's structure and
Wicik's EEOC charge, was prior to December 2016), because
of her “medical disability, ” Wicik requested
FMLA leave from work, but Defendants interfered with her use
of protected leave. Specifically, her managers discouraged
her from taking leave, stating that it is “looked down
upon and is a strike against employees who use it.”
Id. at ¶¶ 20, 26, 27; see also
id. at ¶ 65 (“Plaintiff attempted to apply
for FMLA time but was discouraged by her supervisors that it
would affect her ability to obtain advancements and would put
a target on her back.”). Therefore, Wicik was
“forced” to use sick and vacation time.
Id. at ¶ 24. When Wicik returned to work, she
was “subject to disciplinary write-ups, ”
although Wicik does not specify what the alleged discipline
was for. Id. at ¶ 25.
November 22, 2016, Wicik signed a Charge of Discrimination,
which she then filed on December 2, 2016. Id. at
¶ 40 & Ex. B. Wicik's charge named Stroger as
her employer and alleged the following:
My employer subjected me to disparate and discriminatory
treatment on the basis of my disability and interfered with
my use of protected medical leave. In 2015, I raised my
concerns to the chairman of the company regarding the
disparate treatment I was receiving from my manager. I was
told that they prefer someone with the mentality of my
manager running the office. Nothing was done to remedy the
situation, the behavior continued, and I became her target.
As a result of management's targeting, the hostile work
environment grew worse and I was forced to take time off work
due to high blood pressure. When I returned to work, I
received a write-up for the events that caused me to miss
work in the first place. I requested protected medical leave,
but was told management looks down on it and does not approve
of employees' [sic] using protected medical leave.
Id. at Ex. B.
this same time, Wicik's administrative assistant position
was eliminated. In December of 2016, Wicik was transferred
from Stroger to Oak Forest Hospital, where she worked as a
Document Processor in the Call Center under Defendant Lynda
Harper. Id. ¶¶ 6, 29. Although Wicik was
performing her Call Center duties satisfactorily, she was
harassed by Harper and her Call Center co-workers. For
example, Wicik was not given a telephone at her desk, which
meant that she had to walk to her supervisor's office
with all questions and issues; her co-workers kept track of
her daily whereabouts and behaviors and complained about how
often she was moving around the office; she received emails
on her days off; she received requests that she report
throughout the day regarding her project-completion status;
she was disciplined as tardy even though she clocked in
within a six-minute non-tardy grace period; she received
other disciplinary write-ups; and she received
“downgraded reviews.” Id. at
¶¶ 30-36, 50. Wicik was also harassed when she was
required to “aux in and out” for all regular,
lunch, and bathroom breaks, because, according to Wicik, she
had not been required to “aux in and out” for
such breaks previously and CCHHS did not have a policy that
required this. Id. at ¶¶ 33-34. Finally,
at some point, the Chief Operating Officer of the Oak Forest
Hospital told Wicik that she would not be promoted because of
complaints she had made. Id. at ¶ 17.
unspecified point, Wicik was diagnosed with “stress
urinary incontinence, ” which caused her to take
several breaks throughout the workday. Id. at ¶
37. While she was working at the Call Center under Harper,
Wicik received a doctor's note and sought an
accommodation from Harper-that she be allowed to take
bathroom breaks without “aux[ing] in and out.”
Id. at ¶ 38. Harper denied this request without
discussing the request with Wicik, and Harper did not offer
any alternative accommodations. Id. at ¶ 39.
issued Wicik a Right to Sue letter on June 26, 2017, after
which Wicik filed a four-count complaint alleging: violations
of the ADA based on Defendants' failures to accommodate
her high blood pressure and urinary incontinence, and
discriminatory treatment on account of her disabilities
(Count I); a violation of the FMLA because Defendants
interfered with her request for FMLA benefits by discouraging
her from applying for leave (Count II); retaliation in
violation of Title VII for filing her Charge of
Discrimination with the EEOC (Count III); and indemnification
by Defendant Cook County (Count IV). Wicik seeks compensatory
damages and an order requiring Defendants to give her a
position “commensurate with her skills and experience
and allow for an accommodation of her disability.”
Id. at ¶¶ 58, 67, 76, 82.
seek dismissal of the complaint Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6), which challenges its legal sufficiency.
For a claim to survive a motion to dismiss brought pursuant
to Rule 12(b)(6), it must contain sufficient factual matter
to state a claim for relief that is plausible on its face.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). A claim
is plausible on its face when the complaint contains factual
content that supports a reasonable inference that the
defendants are liable for the harm. Id. In the
complaint, a plaintiff must include “enough detail to
give the defendant fair notice of what the claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests, and, through his allegations,
show that it is plausible, rather than merely speculative,
that he is entitled to relief.” Tamayo v.
Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1083 (7th Cir. 2008)
(quoting Lang v. TCF Nat'l Bank, 249 F.
App'x 464, ...