Shamim v. Siemens Indus., Inc.

Decision Date30 March 2012
Docket NumberNo. 11 C 01479.,11 C 01479.
Citation854 F.Supp.2d 496
PartiesS. SHAMIM, Plaintiff, v. SIEMENS INDUSTRY, INC. f/k/a Siemens Building Technologies, Inc., and Chandrashekar Dandekar, Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — Northern District of Illinois


William Mark Weaver, Cary, IL, for Plaintiff.

Peter A. Milianti, Dawn Cutlan Stetter, James J. Hendrickson, II, McGuirewoods LLP, Chicago, IL, for Defendants.


RUBEN CASTILLO, District Judge.

Syed Shamim (“Shamim” or Plaintiff) brings this action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (Section 1981), against his former employer Siemens Industry, Inc. (Siemens) and former supervisor Chandrashekar Dandekar (collectively, Defendants). (R. 12, Am. Compl. at 1–2.) Presently before the Court is Defendants' motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). (R. 20, Defs.' Mot. at 1.) For the reasons stated below, Defendants' motion is granted in part and denied in part.


Shamim is a resident of McHenry County, Illinois. (R. 12, Am. Compl. ¶ 1.) He is of Pakistani national origin, a member of the Islamic faith, and a United States citizen. ( Id. ¶¶ 5–6.) Shamim was employed by Siemens as a full-time Business Analyst III from March 24, 2008, until his discharge on May 15, 2009. ( Id. ¶¶ 7, 23.) Shamim worked out of Siemens' Buffalo Grove, Illinois office throughout this time. ( Id. ¶ 7.)

During his tenure with Siemens, Shamim's supervisors included Dandekar, a Georgia resident, and Achim Ehning. ( Id. ¶¶ 3, 9, 16.) Additionally, Shamim communicated with Erin Smith, a co-worker, who worked out of Siemens' Georgia office. ( Id. ¶ 10.) According to, Shamim, he worked at Siemens for over a year without incident. ( Id. ¶ 8.) During this time, his work performance surpassed expectations and he received dozens of commendations and compliments from Siemens' end-users. ( Id.)

Shamim avers that in 2009 Smith made derogatory comments about his accent. ( Id. ¶ 11.) Shamim informed her that her comments were “not funny” and asked her to stop ridiculing his accent on multiple occasions. ( Id. ¶ 12.) On April 2, 2009, Smith sent an e-mail message to Shamim and his supervisors regarding a project issue on which Shamim and Smith had differing opinions. ( Id. ¶ 13.) Smith wrote that it was “an English translation issue.” ( Id.) Shamim reported the April 2nd e-mail (the April 2nd e-mail incident”) to Mac Carr in Siemens' human resources (“HR”) department. ( Id. ¶ 14.) Carr and another HR employee, Julie Hess, investigated the incident. ( Id.) On April 3, 2009, Smith sent a second e-mail to Shamim and his supervisors apologizing for her earlier comments and admitting they were inappropriate. ( Id. ¶ 15.) On April 16, 2009, Carr and Hess sent an interoffice letter to Shamim and Ehning stating that they were “unable to conclude that any discriminatory or prejudicial conduct occurred.” ( Id. ¶ 18.)

After the April 2nd e-mail incident, Dandekar allegedly began subjecting Shamim to “outbursts of yelling, profanity and insults” about Shamim's religion and ethnicity. ( Id. ¶ 16.) During one such outburst, Dandekar revealed to Shamim that he was having an intimate relationship with Smith. ( Id. ¶ 17.) After April 16, 2009, Dandekar allegedly “increased the severity and frequency” of “abusive and offensive language, including derogatory slurs” about Shamim's ethnicity and religion. ( Id. ¶ 19.)

On April 23, 2009, Shamim e-mailed Carr and Peter Zogg, Dandekar's supervisor, requesting that he be allowed to report only to Ehning. ( Id. ¶ 20.) Shamim's request was denied and Dandekar continued to supervise him. ( Id.) Thereafter, Shamim alleges that Dandekar “began to intentionally undermine [Shamim's] credibility with upper levels of management.” ( Id.) Specifically, Shamim avers that on May 11, 2009, Dandekar falsely told Zogg that Shamim thought a presentation by Zogg was a “joke.” ( Id. ¶ 21.) After these comments were made, Shamim informed Carr that Dandekar continued to verbally abuse and harass him through the use of “offensive slurs” regarding his ethnicity and religion. ( Id. ¶ 22.) Shamim again requested that Dandekar no longer be allowed to be his supervisor. ( Id.) On May 15, 2009, Shamim was discharged by Siemens. ( Id. ¶ 23.) No advance notice or severance pay was offered. ( Id.)

Shamim further alleges that on June 10, 2009, he filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and the Illinois Department of Human Rights (“IDHR”). ( Id. ¶ 24.) Attached to Shamim's complaint is a June 10, 2009 Charge of Discrimination (June 10th Charge”). (R. 12, Am. Compl., EEOC Charge at 17.) The June 10th Charge was presented to the EEOC, and in the field entitled “state or local agency, if any” both the Illinois Department of Human Rights and the EEOC are listed. ( Id.) Shamim indicated that the discrimination was based on retaliation and stated that the latest discrimination took place on May 15, 2009. ( Id.) Further, in describing the particulars of the discrimination, the June 10th Charge states:

I had been employed by Respondent since March 24, 2008, as a Business Analyst III. On April 2, 2009, I complained of discrimination. After I complained a Team Manager constantly berated me. On May 15, 2009, I lost my job.

I believe I have been retaliated against for engaging in a protected activity in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.

( Id.) On November 30, 2010, the EEOC mailed Shamim a Dismissal and Notice of Rights to Sue letter (“Notice”). (R. 12, Am. Compl., Notice at 16.) The Notice informed Shamim that he had to file a lawsuit within 90 days of receipt of the Notice, or his right to sue based on the June 10th Charge would be lost. ( Id.) Shamim avers that he received the Notice on December 1, 2010. (R. 12, Am. Compl. ¶ 26.)


Shamim initiated this action by filing a complaint against Defendants in the Circuit Court of Cook County (Circuit Court) on January 31, 2011. (R. 1, Not. Removal ¶ 2.) At the time Plaintiff filed his complaint with the Circuit Court, he was being represented by an attorney, W Mark Weaver. (R. 1–1, Ex. A at 13.) On March 2, 2011, Siemens filed a Notice of Removal with the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division, to remove the case from the Circuit Court. (R. 1, Not. Removal.)

On May 2, 2011, Weaver filed an appearance for Plaintiff in this proceeding, which the Court granted on May 4, 2011. (R. 10, Pro Hac Vice Mot.; R. 11, Min. Entry.) Despite Weaver's appearance, Plaintiff filed a pro se amended complaint (“Amended Complaint”) on June 3, 2011.1 (R. 12, Am. Compl. ¶ 70.) In his Amended Complaint, Plaintiff alleges seven counts against Siemens and Dandekar.2 ( Id.) Plaintiff has voluntarily withdrawn several counts from his Amended Complaint, including Counts III, VI, and VII. (R. 27, Pl.'s Resp. at 6–7, 16.) For purposes of the present motion, the relevant counts that remain are Counts I, II, IV, and V. In Count I, Plaintiff alleges a claim of discriminatory discharge pursuant to Title VII and Section 1981. (R. 12, Am. Compl. ¶¶ 27–35.) In Count II, Plaintiff alleges a hostile work environment claim pursuant to Title VII and Section 1981. ( Id. ¶¶ 36–44.) In Count IV, Plaintiff appears to set forth a state law claim for retaliatory discharge.3 ( Id. ¶¶ 51–55.) Finally, in Count V, Plaintiff alleges a state law claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress (“IIED”) against Dandekar. ( Id. ¶¶ 56–59.)

On July 6, 2011, Siemens and Dandekar filed a motion to dismiss several counts of Plaintiff's Amended Complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. (R. 20, Defs.' Mot.) Thereafter, on July 12, 2011, a second attorney filed an appearance in this proceeding for Plaintiff. (R. 24, Att'y Appearance.)


A motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) “challenges the sufficiency of the complaint to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.” Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of Police of Chi. Lodge No. 7, 570 F.3d 811, 820 (7th Cir.2009). When reviewing a motion to dismiss, the Court accepts as true all factual allegations in the complaint and draws all reasonable inferences in the non-movant's favor. Id. Pursuant to Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint must contain “a ‘short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,’ sufficient to provide the defendant with ‘fair notice’ of the claim and its basis.” Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1081 (7th Cir.2008) (quoting Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2) and Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). “To survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’ 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, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (internal citations omitted). “Plausibility” in this context does not imply that a court “should decide whose version to believe, or which version is more likely than not.” Swanson v. Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 404 (7th Cir.2010). Rather, to survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the plaintiff must give enough details about the subject matter of the case to present a story that holds together.” Id. In other words, “the court will ask itself could these things have happened, not did they happen.” Id.

Furthermore, a plaintiff's failure to adhere to a statute of limitations is an affirmative defense and “is rarely a good reason to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6).” Reiser v. Residential Funding Corp., 380 F.3d 1027, 1030 (7th Cir.2004). At the motion to dismiss stage, “the...

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