United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
OPINION AND ORDER
L. ELLIS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
his termination from Glendale Nissan, Inc., Plaintiff Robert
Sheaffer filed this action claiming that Glendale Nissan:
violated the Illinois Whistleblower Act, 740 Ill. Comp. Stat.
174/1 et seq. (Count I); improperly discharged
Sheaffer in retaliation for reporting instances of fraud,
violating Illinois common law (Count II) and 42 U.S.C. §
2000-e3(a) (Count IV); subjected Sheaffer to a hostile work
environment in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 2000-e2 (Count
III); violated the Illinois Gender Violence Act
(“IGVA”), 740 Ill. Comp. Stat. 82/1 et
seq. (Count V); discriminated against Sheaffer based on
his age in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment
Act (“ADEA”), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et
seq. (Count VI); and violated the Illinois Wage Payment
and Collection Act (“IWPCA”), 820 Ill. Comp.
Stat. 115/1 et seq. (Count VII). Glendale Nissan now
moves to dismiss Sheaffer's IGVA and IWPCA claims (Counts
V and VII). Because Sheaffer does not adequately state a
claim under the IGVA, the Court dismisses Count V without
prejudice. But because Sheaffer does adequately state a claim
under the IWPCA, the Court denies in part Glendale
Nissan's motion to dismiss.
began working for Glendale Nissan as its Director of Finance
in April 2016. When he joined, each financing deal that
Glendale Nissan made was under a detailed review because of
past questionable practices with its car loan documents. As a
result, Sheaffer's responsibilities included rebuilding a
rapport with banks and ensuring that Glendale Nissan
eliminated all questionable practices.
after he began working at Glendale Nissan, Sheaffer learned
that many of the questionable practices were still ongoing,
including that the Finance Manager was calling in potential
car sales to banks to obtain financing on a customers'
behalf, but was knowingly giving the bank false information
about the amount needed to finance the sale. Sheaffer
demanded that the Finance Manager cease the fraud and
reported the fraud to the Acting General Manager. Sheaffer
also learned that new and used car sales employees were
regularly engaged in a practice called “power
booking.” “Power booking” is the practice
of falsely and fraudulently telling financing banks that the
car at issue had added features, such as a sunroof or
navigation system, when the employee knew that the car did
not possess those features. By implementing this practice,
employees could obtain higher financing for the car and
increase the revenue gained by the sale at the expense of the
financing bank. Sheaffer continually reported this fraud to
the Acting General Manager.
March 10, 2018, the Used Car Manager presented Sheaffer with
a contract for him to submit for financing. However, when
Sheaffer reviewed the contract and compared it against other
documents, he determined that the customer's listed
social security number did not match the customer's date
of birth and was likely fraudulent. When Sheaffer reported
the fraud to the General Sales Manager, the General Sales
Manager asked him to change the customer's date of birth
to match the listed social security number and submit it to
the bank for financing. After Sheaffer refused to
participate, the General Sales Manager created a fake social
security number, called a bank with which Sheaffer had a
close relationship, and used Sheaffer's name to complete
the financing deal using the false and fraudulent
information. Sheaffer reported this to the Acting General
Manager. Three days later, on March 13, 2018, Glendale Nissan
he worked at Glendale Nissan, Sheaffer regularly saw explicit
drawings and cartoons that the General Sales Manager had
posted around the office. The General Sales Manager also told
Sheaffer that he would perform sexual acts on Sheaffer if he
closed a deal or got the Manager a good rate on financing for
a customer. The Director of Used Cars also regularly made
explicit sexual comments to Sheaffer. Similarly, one of
Glendale Nissan's employees regularly asked if he could
perform sexual acts on Sheaffer. This employee grabbed
Sheaffer in a sexual way by sneaking up behind him, grabbing
and squeezing him so hard that Sheaffer suffered a rib
injury. In December 2017, Sheaffer complained to the Acting
General Manager about these incidents. Rather than
investigate or correct incidents of this nature, the Acting
General Manager told Sheaffer to “man the **** up,
” to have “thicker skin, ” and that they
were only joking. Doc. 1 ¶ 39.
Sheaffer worked at Glendale Nissan, he received comments
about his age. The Operations Manager regularly called
Sheaffer an “old man” and a
“dinosaur.” Id. ¶ 47. One of
Glendale Nissan's employees regularly asked Sheaffer
“what it was like to know Moses, ” if he
understood “what a computer is, ” and “why
don't you retire, old man.” Id. ¶ 48.
Several other employees informed Sheaffer that the management
team did not like him because of his age and he personally
witnessed a manager state that he wanted to “get rid of
all the old timers.” Id. ¶ 50. Finally,
when Sheaffer raised a pay disparity issue between what
Glendale Nissan agreed to pay him during the hiring process
and his actual payment, the former General Manager informed
Sheaffer that his pay was lower “because of his age,
” and because he “was not young blood.”
Id. ¶ 51. After Glendale Nissan terminated
Sheaffer, it replaced him with a man in his mid-30's.
Sheaffer filed a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC on
May 24, 2018 regarding the age discrimination, sexual
harassment, hostile work environment, and retaliation he
experienced. On March 22, 2019, the EEOC issued Sheaffer a
“Notice of Right to Sue;” after which, Sheaffer
filed the present action.
motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) challenges the
sufficiency of the complaint, not its merits. Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6); Gibson v. City of Chicago, 910 F.2d 1510,
1520 (7th Cir. 1990). In considering a Rule 12(b)(6) motion
to dismiss, the Court accepts as true all well-pleaded facts
in the plaintiff's complaint and draws all reasonable
inferences from those facts in the plaintiff's favor.
AnchorBank, FSB v. Hofer, 649 F.3d 610, 614 (7th
Cir. 2011). To survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the complaint
must not only provide the defendant with fair notice of a
claim's basis but must also be facially plausible.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct.
1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009); see also Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d
929 (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.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
IGVA Claim (Count V)
IGVA states, in pertinent part:
Any person who has been subjected to gender-related violence
. . . may bring a civil action for damages, injunctive
relief, or other appropriate relief against a person or
persons perpetrating that gender-related violence. For
purposes of this section, “perpetrating” means
either personally committing the gender-related violence ...