An auto body shop alleges a former employee failed to exhaust her administrative remedies before filing a lawsuit alleging she was discriminated against due to her pregnancy.
Ashley Klaus filed a lawsuit on Sept. 7 against Cross Auto Body & Towing Inc., alleging violation of the Illinois Human Rights Act.
According to the complaint, Klaus claims she was terminated from her job as a secretary and office worker in December 2014 while she was on maternity leave. Her baby was born Nov. 15, 2014.
She claims the defendant’s actions caused her to suffer damages, including lost wages and benefits, humiliation, embarrassment and emotional distress.
Klaus alleges the defendant subjected her to sexual and pregnancy discrimination, retaliation and unlawful termination.
Cross Auto Body filed a motion to dismiss the complaint on Dec. 19 through attorneys Christopher Byron and Christopher Petri of Byron Carlson Petri & Kalb LLC in Edwardsville.
The defendant argues that the plaintiff failed to exhaust her administrative remedies prior to filing the lawsuit and that the defendant is not an employer as defined under the Illinois Human Rights Act.
“Ultimately, prior to filing a complaint in circuit court, a complaint must receive a right to sue letter from the Illinois Human Rights Department,” the motion states.
“Plaintiff’s failure to adhere to and exhaust her administrative remedies is fatal to her Complaint and as such it should be dismissed,” it continues.
Cross Auto Body also explains that it is not an employer as defined under the act because “from 2009 until the present, Defendant did not have 15 employees for 20 weeks during any calendar year.”
The defendant further argues that the case should be dismissed because the court lacks jurisdiction over the subject matter.
Klaus seeks a judgment in her favor of more than $75,000, plus attorney’s fees, court costs and expenses.
She is represented by Lee W. Barron of Alton.
Madison County Circuit Court case number 16-L-1265