United States District Court, S.D. Illinois
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
M. YANDLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff's Amended Complaint (Doc. 22). Plaintiff filed
a response (Doc. 24). For the following reasons, the motion
case arises out of Plaintiff Gustavo Navarrete's
employment by Madison County, Illinois as a
“Jailer” from April 2008 until February 1, 2016.
(Amended Complaint, Doc. 20 at ¶¶ 3, 6 and 11). In
his Amended Complaint, Navarrete asserts that he is Hispanic
and therefore a member of a protected class. (Id. at
¶ 3). He alleges that although he had not disclosed his
ability to speak Spanish prior to his hiring and was not
hired for that purpose, he was expected and required to
translate for the Spanish-speaking inmates in the Madison
County Jail. (Id. at ¶¶12-13). He also
alleges he was “required to translate Spanish for other
Madison County entities in dangerous situations without the
protection of a bullet proof vest or a weapon”
(Id. at ¶ 14), and that his co-workers and
supervisors called him “Speedy
Gonzalez.” (Id. at ¶12).
January 29, 2016, Navarrete filed a complaint with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and
the Illinois Commission on Human Rights (“First EEOC
Complaint”), alleging discrimination based on national
origin. (Id. at ¶¶ 4-5). He was terminated
from his employment three days later, on February 1, 2016.
(Id. at ¶ 6). Navarrete filed another complaint
in January 2017 (“Second EEOC Complaint”),
alleging that he was terminated due to his national origin
and in retaliation for filing the First EEOC Complaint.
(Id.). He received right-to-sue letters from the
EEOC on both matters. (Doc. 1 at pp. 6-7),  and subsequently
filed this action.
attacks the Amended Complaint on two grounds: first, that
Navarrete has not exhausted his administrative remedies
because the EEOC complaints were made against “Madison
County Sheriff” instead of “Madison County,
Illinois”; and second, that Navarrete has failed to
adequately plead a national-origin discrimination
claim. To survive a motion to dismiss for failure
to state a claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6), a Complaint must “state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.” Lodholtz v. York
Risk Servs. Group, Inc., 778 F.3d 635, 639 (7th Cir.
2015) (quoting Bell Atl. 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.” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). “[W]hen ruling on
a defendant's motion to dismiss, a judge must accept as
true all of the factual allegations contained in the
complaint.” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89,
94 (2007). The Court also draws all reasonable inferences and
construes all facts in favor of the nonmovant. See Vesely
v. Armslist LLC, 762 F.3d 661, 664 (7th Cir.
to exhaust administrative remedies is an affirmative defense,
and courts “usually refrain from granting Rule 12(b)(6)
motions on affirmative defenses. Rule 12(b)(6) tests whether
the complaint states a claim for relief, and a plaintiff may
state a claim even though there is a defense to that claim.
The mere presence of a potential affirmative defense does not
render the claim for relief invalid.” Brownmark
Films, LLC v. Comedy Partners, 682 F.3d 687, 690 (7th
Cir. 2012) (citation omitted). Courts may, however, grant a
Rule12(b)(6) motion based on an affirmative defense if the
complaint contains all of the elements of the defense.
Indep. Tr. Corp. v. Stewart Info. Servs. Corp., 665
F.3d 930, 935 (7th Cir. 2012).
a party not named as the respondent in an EEOC charge may not
be sued under Title VII.” Tamayo v.
Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1089 (7th Cir. 2008) (citing
Olsen v. Marshall & Ilsley Corp., 267 F.3d 597,
604 (7th Cir. 2001) and Schnellbaecher v. Baskin Clothing
Co., 887 F.2d 124, 126 (7th Cir. 1989)). There is an
exception, however, “where an unnamed party has been
provided with adequate notice of the charge, under
circumstances where the party has been given the opportunity
to participate in conciliation proceedings.”
Id. (quoting Schnellbaecher, 887 F.2d at
dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to exhaust
administrative remedies is inappropriate. There is nothing on
the face of the Amended Complaint to suggest that Navarette
failed to exhaust his EEOC remedies, so he has not pled
himself out of court. Thus, determining the merits of
Defendant's affirmative defense requires the evaluation
of evidence outside the pleadings; the assertion that
Navarette filed his EEOC Complaints against the Sheriff's
Office and not Defendant is supported solely by the exhibits
attached to Defendant's motion. While Rule 12(d) permits
a court to consider such evidence as long as it then treats
the motion as one for summary judgment, this Court declines
to do so.
also contends that Navarrete has failed to state a claim on
his national origin discrimination charge. “The
pleading requirement for employment-discrimination claims is
minimal. A plaintiff need only identify the type of
discrimination, when it occurred, and by whom.”
Clark v. Law Office of Terrence Kennedy, Jr., 709
Fed.Appx. 826, 828 (7th Cir. 2017) (citations omitted).
Navarette has sufficiently done so. He alleges that he was
required to undertake additional duties, was placed in
dangerous environments without adequate protection, and was
referred to by an offensive nickname. These allegations state
a plausible claim. Whether this conduct actually occurred and
whether Navarette can establish a link between the
objectionable conduct and his status as a Hispanic are issues
of proof, not pleading.
although Navarette does not name the specific coworkers,
supervisors or dates, the Amended Complaint meets the bare
requirements to place Defendant on notice. Therefore,
dismissal of the national-origins claim is not warranted, and
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is denied.