United States District Court, N.D. Indiana, Hammond Division
OPINION AND ORDER
S. VAN BOKKELEN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Plaintiff Nancy Powell has filed a complaint against the Lake
County Juvenile Justice complex alleging that it
discriminated against her because of her race and religion.
Her complaint also mentions the EPA (presumably the Equal Pay
Act) and wrongful termination.
has moved to dismiss the complaint on the grounds that she
failed to file a timely charge of discrimination with the
EEOC and that she has failed to plead any facts necessary to
show a violation of the Equal Pay Act or to sustain a
wrongful termination claim (DE 6). Plaintiff has not
responded to the motion, but even so, it can only be granted
Legal Standard for Evaluating a Motion to Dismiss
purpose of a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) for
failure to state a claim is to test the sufficiency of the
pleadings, not to decide the merits of the case. See
Gibson v. Chi., 910 F.2d 1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990).
Rule 8(a)(2) provides that a complaint must contain “a
short and plain statement of the claim showing that the
pleader is entitled to relief. A complaint must contain
enough factual matter to state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) A complaint is facially plausible if a court
can reasonably infer from factual content in the pleading
that the defendant is liable for the alleged wrongdoing.
The Timeliness of the EEOC Charge
states in her complaint that she was discriminated against on
account of her race and religion. She states that the
discrimination occurred around the end of August 2015 and the
beginning of November 2015 when a white employee of the
Defendant told her that “we stick together, you all
don't.” (DE 1 at 2.) In the EEOC charge of
discrimination she attached to her complaint, however, she
states that the discrimination against her took place on
January 28, 2016, when she was terminated. In the complaint,
she also states that she filed the charge of discrimination
on October 10, 2016. However, the copy of the charge she
attached to the complaint shows that it was not signed and
notarized until November 21, 2016.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §
2000e-5(e)(1), a person must file an EEOC charge within 300
days of the alleged discriminatory conduct. Because failure
to file a timely charge of discrimination is an affirmative
defense, dismissal is appropriate only when the allegations
in the complaint establish the elements of the defense, such
that the plaintiff pleads herself out of court. Stuart v.
Local 727, Intern. Broth. of Teamsters, 771 F.3d 1014,
1018 (7th Cir. 2014).
has pleaded herself out of court with respect to any claims
of discrimination that took place in August or November of
2015, because any discriminatory acts that took place then
are clearly outside the 300-day time limit, whether the Court
considers that Plaintiff is claiming October 10, 2016, or
November 21, 2016, as the filing date of the EEOC charge.
However, that is not the case with respect to her allegedly
discriminatory termination, which occurred on January 28,
2016. To be within the 300-day limitation period, Plaintiff
would have had to file her charge by November 23, 2016.
Nothing in Plaintiff's complaint establishes that she
filed the charge after that date. Accordingly she has not
pleaded herself out of court with respect to the
discrimination that allegedly occurred on January 28, 2016,
when she was terminated.
has attached to its motion to dismiss what it says is a file
stamped copy of Plaintiff's charge of discrimination,
which, it claims, establishes that the charge was filed with
the EEOC on November 25, 2016 (DE 6-1). The document is not
authenticated in any way. It does have a stamp, but the only
legible information the stamp provides is the date of
November 25, 2016, and the time of 2:36 pm. Even if the Court
considers this matter, which is outside the Plaintiff's
pleading, the stamp does not tell the Court what happened on
that date or where it happened. Accordingly, the Court will not
dismiss Plaintiff's claim with regard to discriminatory
acts that allegedly took place on January 28, 2016, on the
grounds that the charge was untimely.
Equal Pay Act Claim
Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from paying employees
different wages on the basis of gender. 29 U.S.C.§
206(d). Plaintiff has alleged no facts to plausibly suggest
that she was paid lower wages than those paid to similarly
situated male employees. Thus she has failed to state a claim
under the Equal Pay Act and may not proceed on any such
Wrongful Termination Claim
appears that Plaintiff is attempting to advance some sort of
wrongful termination claim that is separate from her claim
that she was terminated because of her race and religion,
perhaps a state law claim. But she has not pleaded any facts
to support such a claim. Therefore she ...