United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
M. Dow, Jr. United States District Judge.
Rachel Dixon Love (“Plaintiff”) brings suit
against Defendant the Board of Education of the City of
Chicago (“Defendant”) for employment
discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in
Employment Act (“ADEA”), Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), and the
Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”). Before
the Court is Defendant's motion to dismiss
Plaintiff's amended complaint for failure to state a
claim . For the following reasons, the Court denies
Defendant's motion . This case is set for status
hearing on February 4, 2020 at 9:00 a.m.
following facts are taken from the governing amended
complaint  and assumed to be true for purposes of
Defendant's motion to dismiss. Plaintiff is a
fifty-nine-year-old African American female who was formerly
employed by Defendant. Her most recent position was teacher
at Arthur Ashe Elementary School in Chicago, Illinois
(“Arthur Ashe”). Plaintiff alleges that when she
began working at Arthur Ashe in August 2016, she “was
almost immediately subjected to a hostile work
environment” by another teacher at the school, Maria
Walls.  at 3. Walls is an African American female around
the same age or slightly older than Plaintiff. According to
the complaint, Walls “made numerous disparaging and
inappropriate age-related comments to Plaintiff, ”
including but not limited to, “[c]an you take your old
ass down the stairs, you left your jacket there” and
“Is that a bologna sandwich you are eating, you are so
old-fashioned.” Id. The complaint also alleges
that during a teacher's meeting in Plaintiff's
classroom, and in the presence of the school's assistant
principal, Dr. Jackson, Walls said, “Don't you
smell something, it smells old in here.” Id.
Walls also told Plaintiff on one occasion, “Hey Mrs.
Hard of Hearing. What is wrong with you, you are so
slow.” Id. at 4.
also allegedly made numerous comments to Plaintiff concerning
her race and color. For instance, on numerous occasions,
“Walls referred to Plaintiff by the name
‘Celie' which was the main character from the movie
The Color Purple and who was considered slow and
stupid.”  at 3. Plaintiff found the nickname to be
very offensive. On other occasions, “Walls referred to
Plaintiff as Boo-Boo, a small bear from Yogi Bear, ”
which Plaintiff took to “insinuate that she was a
follower and not a leader.” Id. at 4. This
comment was allegedly made many times in front of
Plaintiff's students and caused Plaintiff's students
to make fun of her and call her Boo-Boo, as well.
October 2016, Plaintiff complained to Dr. Jackson about
Walls' comments. Dr. Jackson told Plaintiff that he did
not “have time for your petty conversations with Ms.
Walls” and did not offer to investigate the matter.
 at 4. In November 2016, Plaintiff tried to set up a
meeting with Dr. Jackson to discuss her concerns over the
hostile work environment, but he did not respond. Later that
month, he told her that she was “such a headache for
me” and asked “are you stuck in Alzheimer's
her time at Arthur Ashe, Plaintiff was unable to carry heavy
items due to having two torn rotator cuffs and a hairline
fracture. Plaintiff alleges that she received these injuries
in 2015 while working in another school, and that she had
requested and received light work accommodation at the prior
school. When Plaintiff was transferred to Arthur Ashe, the
school knew or should have known from Plaintiff's file
that Plaintiff was disabled and continued to require light
duty accommodation. Plaintiff also told Dr. Jackson that she
was unable to carry heavy items due to her disability.
Nonetheless, on multiple occasions, Plaintiff was told to
carry heavy boxes of paper from the copy room upstairs to her
classroom. Plaintiff asked for help because of her torn
rotator cuffs, but Dr. Jackson told Plaintiff that she would
not be getting help and had to carry the boxes herself.
complaint alleges that “Plaintiff was also disabled in
that she had two partial amputations on fingers above the
knuckle of her left hand.”  at 5. Although
Plaintiff was generally able to hide the amputations, Walls
noticed them in October 2016 and told other staff members.
“Within a week thereafter, Plaintiff was told by Dr.
Jackson that, ‘we didn't know you couldn't
adequately teach the class.'” Id.
“After Plaintiff used hand signals for numbers,
Plaintiff was then transferred to teach the lowest level
students that needed a 1 on 1 teacher.” Id.
a Halloween event at Arthur Ashe, it was Plaintiff's
responsibility to escort a small number of students from the
classroom out of the school building where certain holiday
activities were to take place. Some of the students did not
have Halloween costumes so Plaintiff decided to take parts of
her costume off and give them to some of the students to use
as their costumes. During that process, Plaintiff cut her
finger, which caused it to bleed heavily. Plaintiff asked
another teacher, Mr. Thompson, to watch the students while
she went to the bathroom to clean the cut. Mr. Thompson
agreed to watch the students. When Plaintiff returned from
tending her injury, she was confronted by a school
administrator who accused Plaintiff of abandoning her
students. Plaintiff denied the allegation and explained her
need for medical attention. Nonetheless, Plaintiff was
ordered to sign a letter admitting that she neglected the
students. When Plaintiff refused, she was threatened,
“This [termination] is going to happen one way or the
other.”  at 6. Plaintiff signed the letter and was
then terminated and escorted out of the building. Plaintiff
alleges on information and belief that a “Do not
hire” note was placed in her file, preventing her from
getting a new job with any school in the Chicago Public
School system. Id.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant was required but failed to
pay her for “her first week of teaching in which she
was required to attend training sessions.”  at 10.
attaches to the Amended Complaint a copy of the Charge of
Discrimination she filed with the Illinois Department of
Human Rights on December 14, 2016. See [43-1]. On the charge,
Plaintiff has checked boxes indicating that her complaint
relates to discrimination on the basis of color, retaliation,
age, and disability. The charge asserts that during her
employment, Plaintiff was subjected to different terms and
conditions of employment, including lack of support and extra
scrutiny, that she was harassed and complained to Defendant
to no avail, and that she was discharged. The charge states
that Plaintiff believes she was discriminated against because
of her age, color (light complexion), in retaliation, and
because of her disability.
December 21, 2016, Plaintiff was issued a Notice of Right to
Sue from the EEOC. According to the complaint, Plaintiff
never received the letter and requested a replacement in June
2018. On June 18, 2018, Plaintiff received an EEOC Right to
Sue letter for the first time.
amended complaint contains claims for age
discrimination/hostile work environment (Count I); disability
discrimination (Count II); discrimination on the basis of
color (Count III); retaliation (Count IV); and violation of
the Illinois Wage and Payment and Collect Act (Count V).
Plaintiff seeks compensatory damages, costs, expenses, and
before the Court is Defendant's motion to dismiss for
failure to state a claim.
moves to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint under Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). “To survive a motion to
dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), plaintiff's complaint must
allege facts which, when taken as true, ‘plausibly
suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief, raising
that possibility above a speculative level.'”
Cochran v. Illinois State Toll Highway Auth., 828
F.3d 597, 599 (7th Cir. 2016) (quoting EEOC v. Concentra
Health Servs., Inc., 496 F.3d 773, 776 (7th Cir. 2007)).
The Court “accept[s] all well-pleaded facts as true and
draw all reasonable inferences in plaintiff's
favor.” Id. at 600 (citing Tamayo v.