United States District Court, W.D. Wisconsin
OPINION AND ORDER
BARBARA B. CRABB DISTRICT JUDGE.
proposed civil action for monetary relief, pro se plaintiff
Jackie Donald is alleging that her employer, defendant
Fiduciary Real Estate Development, discriminated against her
because of her age by writing her up for an incident with
another employee. Because plaintiff is proceeding under the
in forma pauperis statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1915, and cannot
afford to make an initial partial payment, I must screen her
complaint and dismiss any claims that are legally frivolous,
malicious, fail to state a claim upon which relief may be
granted or ask for money damages from a defendant who by law
cannot be sued for money damages. 28 U.S.C. §
I cannot review the potential merits of plaintiff's
claims at this time because her pleading does not provide
enough information to support a federal claim, as required by
Rule 8 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Although I am
dismissing plaintiff's complaint, I will give her an
opportunity to file an amended complaint that explains her
claim more clearly.
alleges that she is fifty-two years old, and that sometime
after she started working at an apartment building on August
1, 2016, Leah Koreck “wrote [her] up” because
another employee was having a problem with her. Plaintiff
alleges that Koreck did not follow the employee handbook
because she issued the write up without first discussing the
matter with plaintiff. She also alleges vaguely that she has
been “mistreated” ever since.
allegations implicate her rights under the Age Discrimination
in Employment Act, which protects employees who are at least
40 years old by making it unlawful for an employer “to
fail or refuse to hire or discharge any individual or
otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to
compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment,
because of such individual's age.” 29 U.S.C. §
623(a)(1). To prove discrimination, a plaintiff must show
that her employer subjected her to some form of adverse
employment action and that the employer took this adverse
action on account of plaintiff's age. Barton v.
Zimmer, Inc., 662 F.3d 448, 453 (7th Cir. 2011).
“Adverse employment actions for purposes of the federal
anti-discrimination statutes generally fall into three
categories: (1) termination or reduction in compensation,
fringe benefits, or other financial terms of employment; (2)
transfers or changes in job duties that cause an
employee's skills to atrophy and reduce future career
prospects; and (3) unbearable changes in job conditions, such
as a hostile work environment or conditions amounting to
constructive discharge.” Id. at 453-54. In
addition, in order to pursue a claim under the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act, a plaintiff must first file
a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment
Opportunities Commission within 300 days of the alleged
unlawful employment practice. Flannery v. Recording
Industry Association of America, 354 F.3d 632, 637 (7th
plaintiff meets the age threshold of the Age Discrimination
in Employment Act, her allegations are too vague to allow me
to determine whether she can state a claim upon which relief
may be granted under the statute. For example, she provides
no information about when the incident with the other
employee occurred, what happened, the circumstances under
which she received the written reprimand, how she has been
otherwise “mistreated” or why she believes she
was disciplined and mistreated because of her age. Without
more information, I cannot determine whether the write-up or
“mistreatment” that plaintiff allegedly received
qualifies as an “adverse action” for purposes of
the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Nagle v.
Village of Calumet Park, 554 F.3d 1106, 1116-17 (7th
Cir. 2009) (“[A]lthough the definition of an adverse
employment action is generous, an employee must show some
quantitative or qualitative change in the terms or conditions
of his employment or some sort of real harm.”).
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2), a complaint must include “a short
and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Rule 8 also requires that the
complaint contain enough allegations of fact to make a claim
for relief plausible on its face. Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678-79 (2009) (citing Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (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.”
Id. Because plaintiff's complaint does not
comply with Rule 8, I must dismiss it without prejudice.
Plaintiff is free to file an amended complaint that includes
the allegations that are missing.
plaintiff chooses to file an amended complaint, she should
keep it short and to the point and draft it as if she were
telling a story to people who know nothing about her
situation. In particular, she should include all of the
allegations in her original complaint and add new allegations
that would allow someone reading the complaint to answer the
• When did the incident with the other employee occur
and what happened?
• When did Koreck issue the write-up, what did it say
and what consequences did plaintiff suffer as a result?
• Why does plaintiff believe that Koreck disciplined her
because of her age and not for some other, nondiscriminatory
• When and how has plaintiff been
“mistreated” after receiving the write-up, who
mistreated her and why does she believe it was because of her
age and not for some other, nondiscriminatory reason?
• Did plaintiff file a charge of discrimination with the
Equal Employment Opportunities Commission? If so, when did
she file it, what ...