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Case Name EEOC v. Caterpillar EE-IL-0039
Docket / Court 1:03-cv-05636 ( N.D. Ill. )
State/Territory Illinois
Case Type(s) Equal Employment
Special Collection EEOC Study -- in sample
Attorney Organization EEOC
Case Summary
On February 2, 2002, a female employee ("KL") filed a charge of discrimination against her employer, Caterpillar Inc. ("Defendant"), with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC" or "Plaintiff"). At that time, KL was employed at the Defendant's facility in Aurora, Illinois. This action ... read more >
On February 2, 2002, a female employee ("KL") filed a charge of discrimination against her employer, Caterpillar Inc. ("Defendant"), with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC" or "Plaintiff"). At that time, KL was employed at the Defendant's facility in Aurora, Illinois. This action arose out of the EEOC's subsequent investigation into sexual harassment allegedly occurring at that facility. The EEOC brought sexual harassment claims on behalf of five current at that time Caterpillar employees-VE, SI, LJ, WH, RT-and sexual harassment and retaliation claims on behalf of two former Caterpillar employees-KL, and DG.

On August 14, 2003, the Chicago District Office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") filed this lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. The plaintiff sued Caterpillar, Inc. under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title I of the Civil Rights Act of 1991. The plaintiff sought permanent injunctions enjoining the defendant from engaging in any employment practice that discriminates on the basis of sex and from retaliating against any employee for participating in protected activity; to order the defendant to institute and carry out policies that provide equal employment opportunities for women; require the defendant to provide women back pay, pecuniary losses and punitive damages; and order the defendant to provide training regarding sexual harassment and retaliation in the workplace. The plaintiff claimed that the defendant discriminated against a class of female employees because of their sex by subjecting them to a pattern or practice of sexual harassment and by retaliating against them for asserting Title VII violations.

On September 22, 2004, Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer denied the defendant's motion for partial summary judgement and for dismissal of the plaintiff's pattern or practice claims. She permitted the plaintiff to proceed on the sexual harassment claims on behalf of the women who had worked with RG, Safety and Security Manager at Caterpillar's Aurora Illinois facility as there was a reasonable nexus between RG's charge and the pattern and practice allegations in the case. On reconsideration, Judge Pallmeyer withdrew the limitation to women who worked with RG and approved a plant-wide class. The defendant sought leave to take an interlocutory appeal of this ruling.

On February 22, 2005, Judge Pallmeyer certified a question for review by the Court of Appeals as follows: in determining whether the claims in an EEOC complaint are within the scope of the discrimination allegedly discovered during the EEOC's investigation, must the court accept the EEOC's administrative determination concerning the alleged discrimination discovered during its investigation, or instead, may the court itself review the scope of the investigation? On that same day, Judge Pallmeyer determined that the case would proceed as a class action.

On June 1, 2005, the Seventh Circuit decided that "if courts may not limit a suit by the EEOC to claims made in the administrative charge, they likewise have no business limiting the suit to claims that the court finds to be supported by the evidence in the Commission's investigation. The existence of probable cause to sue is generally and in this instance not judicially reviewable."

On February 9, 2006, the case was referred to the Magistrate Judge Geraldine Soat Brown for settlement.

On August 9, 2007, Judge Pallmeyer granted the defendant's motion for summary judgment as to the plaintiff's retaliation claim on behalf of DG, the plaintiff's sexual harassment claims on behalf of LJ and RT, and the plaintiff's claim for punitive damages on behalf of WH. In all other respects, the defendant's motion for summary judgment was denied.

A bench trial was held from March 13, 2008 until April 7, 2008.

On June 18, 2009, Judge Pallmeyer entered judgment in favor of the defendant on all counts and denied the plaintiff's request for injunctive and equitable relief. Based on the evidence as a whole, Judge Pallmeyer concluded that any unwelcome sexual conduct KL suffered was not severe or pervasive enough to create a hostile work environment during her employment with Caterpillar. 628 F.Supp.2d 844. This case is now closed.

Justin Kanter - 05/28/2008
Joanna Kuzdra - 03/30/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
Discrimination-area
Discharge / Constructive Discharge / Layoff
Harassment / Hostile Work Environment
Training
Discrimination-basis
Sex discrimination
EEOC-centric
Direct Suit on Merits
No EEOC Final Resolution Type
General
Disparate Treatment
Pattern or Practice
Retaliation
Plaintiff Type
EEOC Plaintiff
Causes of Action Title VII (including PDA), 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e
Defendant(s) Caterpillar, Inc.
Plaintiff Description Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Indexed Lawyer Organizations EEOC
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Defendant
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None
Source of Relief None
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Additional Resources
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  Microsoft Gender Discrimination Class Action Lawsuit
Date: Oct. 14, 2016
By: Outten & Golden
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Age Discrimination Class Action seeks Fair Employment for Older PwC Applicants
http://www.pwcagecase.com/
Date: Apr. 27, 2016
By: Outten & Golden
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Smith Barney Gender Discrimination
https://www.lieffcabraser.com/employment/smith-barney/
Date: August 2008
By: Outten & Golden
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Megacases, Diversity, and the Elusive Goal of Workplace Reform
Date: Mar. 1, 2008
By: Nancy Levit (University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Law Faculty)
Citation: 49 B.C. L. Rev. 367 (2008)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Second Generation Employment Discrimination: A Structural Approach
Date: Apr. 1, 2001
By: Susan Sturm (Columbia Law School Faculty)
Citation: 101 Colum. L. Rev. 458 (2001)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
05-8006 (U.S. Court of Appeals)
EE-IL-0039-9001.pdf | Detail
Date: 05/27/2005
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
1:03-cv-05636 (N.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0039-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/03/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
EEOC Press Release
EE-IL-0039-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/13/2003
Complaint [ECF# 1]
EE-IL-0039-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/13/2003
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 41] (336 F.Supp.2d 858) (N.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0039-0004.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 09/22/2004
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Petition for Permission to Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division (409 F.3d 831)
EE-IL-0039-0002.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/01/2005
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Protective Order [ECF# 90] (N.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0039-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/02/2005
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 132] (503 F.Supp.2d 995) (N.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0039-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 08/09/2007
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Memorandum Opinion and Order [ECF# 182] (628 F.Supp.2d 844) (N.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0039-0007.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 06/18/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Pallmeyer, Rebecca R. (N.D. Ill.)
EE-IL-0039-0004 | EE-IL-0039-0005 | EE-IL-0039-0006 | EE-IL-0039-0007 | EE-IL-0039-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Brennan, Noelle Christine (Illinois)
EE-IL-0039-0001 | EE-IL-0039-9000
Dreilinger, Lauren G (Illinois)
EE-IL-0039-0001 | EE-IL-0039-9000
Elkin, Laurie S (Illinois)
EE-IL-0039-9000
Hendrickson, John C. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0039-0001 | EE-IL-0039-9000
Henry, Ann M. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0039-9000
Smason, Diane I. (Illinois)
EE-IL-0039-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Bromet, Rebecca Pratt (Illinois)
EE-IL-0039-9000
DeGroff, Christopher James (Illinois)
EE-IL-0039-9000
Duprey, Anne Elizabeth (Illinois)
EE-IL-0039-9000
Gabriel, Jonah G (Illinois)
EE-IL-0039-9000
Jeter, Sheldon Leigh (Illinois)
EE-IL-0039-9000
McGuire, Michael Andrew (Illinois)
EE-IL-0039-9000
Torres, Jason M (Illinois)
EE-IL-0039-9000
Turner, Joseph S (Illinois)
EE-IL-0039-9000
Warner, Michael A (Illinois)
EE-IL-0039-9000

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