EAST ST. LOUIS, Ill. (Legal Newsline) – Two companies in Illinois that operate IHOP restaurants have filed a motion to dismiss allegations from IHOP employees who claimed they faced sexual harassment at work.

Stating the plaintiffs failed to state a claim against them, 2098 Restaurant Group and 2103 Restaurant Group filed the motion to dismiss March 8.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed the lawsuit in September on behalf of the employees, saying a group of female employees and one male employee were subjected to inappropriate touching and comments at IHOP in the towns of Glen Carbon and Alton in Illinois.

Count one of the complaint alleges that the women were employed at the Glen Carbon IHOP between 2011 and 2013 when they faced harassment by the restaurant manager and the cooks.

Count two alleges that the sexual harassment affected the employees’ employment, including Brianne Timmons and Megan O’Brien being forced to resign.

Count three alleges that Charles Schlottner was employed at IHOP in Alton when he faced harassment by the restaurant’s manager. 

In their motion to dismiss, the defendants said the plaintiffs can’t hold 2098 Restaurant Group liable for the alleged misconduct of 2103 Restaurant Group and they can’t hold 2103 Restaurant Group liable for the alleged actions of 2098 Restaurant Group employees.

The defendants said counts one and two should be dismissed for Vickie Clark, Lauren Hurst, Tia Jenkins, O’Brien, Ashley Quigley, Lindsey Quigley, Tracy Quigley, Nikki Strasen, Donna Warneck and Madison Miller because they haven’t stated a claim for Title VII harassment or retaliation against 2103 Restaurant Group LLC.

“A retaliation claim requires proof that the plaintiff suffered an adverse employment action because of his or her statutorily protected activity; in other words, the plaintiff must prove that he or she engaged in protected activity and suffered an adverse employment action, and that there is a causal link between the two,” the defendants wrote. 

The defendants also moved to dismiss allegations by Schlottner, saying he hasn’t stated a claim against 2098 Restaurant Group LLC.

“Plaintiff-intervenor Schlottner only filed a charge of discrimination against defendant 2103 RG,” the defendants said. “His claims in counts one and two should be dismissed against defendant 2098 RG.”

Only Lindsey Quigley included 2098 Restaurant Group and 2103 Restaurant Group in her allegations, but Quigley only included factual allegations against 2098 Restaurant Group and her claims against 2013 Restaurant Group should be dismissed, the defendants said. 

The defendants added that Madison Miller’s allegations in counts one and two should be dismissed entirely because she didn’t file a timely charge of discrimination with the EEOC.

“Plaintiff-intervenor Madison Miller never submitted a charge of discrimination against either 2098 RG or 2103 RG with the EEOC,” the defendants said. “As a prerequisite to bringing a claim under Title VII, a plaintiff must file a charge with the EEOC detailing the alleged discriminatory conduct within the time allowed by statute.”

Count three should be dismissed as to all plaintiffs because the corporation can’t be held liable as a limited liability company, the defendants said.

Citing the Illinois Gender Violence Act, the defendants said the “Act does not permit artificial entities to be held liable, and plaintiffs-intervenors have otherwise failed to allege sufficient facts to state a claim against the RG defendants in count three.”

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