April 2012

Roeser Tanner & Graham secured summary judgment for a client in a significant EEOC case.

The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois delivered a significant blow to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in EEOC v. RJB Properties Inc. et al. (N.D. Ill. April 23, 2012), Case No. 2010-2001, by entering summary judgment in favor of RJB Properties Inc., a minority-owned and operated janitorial services provider, on hundreds of alleged acts of employment discrimination. The court also awarded summary judgment to defendant Blackstone Consulting Inc., finding no basis for Title VII liability.

The EEOC accused RJB Properties of committing over 145 purported acts of national origin discrimination, harassment and retaliation against 20 Hispanic and two African-American employees. The EEOC alleged, among other things, that RJB discriminated against janitors by asking them to mop floors, shovel snow, remove garbage, by not providing overtime opportunities, and by not promoting employees to jobs for which they never applied.

As trial counsel for the defendants, the firm argued that the majority of the complained of actions did not give rise to a cognizable claim of employment discrimination and that there was an absence of proof to suggest that the actions were motivated by national origin.

The district court rejected the EEOC’s expansive interpretation of what constitutes employment discrimination under Title VII, finding that there was no evidence on many of the claims to suggest that the various employment actions were motivated by national origin. Among other things, the court entered summary judgment in favor of RJB on all of the EEOC’s claims for failure to promote, all of the EEOC’s failure to provide overtime claims, and twelve harassment claims. The court’s 120-page opinion dismissed all but 11 claims.

RJB Properties was founded by Ronald Blackstone in 1985 and is headquartered in Orland Park, Illinois. It is a premier provider of janitorial services and facilities management services.