her normal work duties as a program analyst. See id. On April
15, 1997, the District of Columbia sent Ms. Glymph a notice of
proposal to remove her from her program-analyst position. See
id. She then attempted to return to work, but could not
maintain her traditional work schedule. See id. Ms. Glymph
informed her employer that she could only work on a part-time
basis until she recovered from her injury. See id. at 5. On
June 9, 1997, the District of Columbia informed Ms. Glymph that
it could not accommodate her proposed limited work schedule and
instructed her to continue seeking coverage from the D.C.
Workers' Compensation program until she could return to her
duties full-time. See id. On December 9, 1997 and October 1,
1998, Ms. Glymph's physician sent the District of Columbia a
"Return to Work Plan," which would have allowed her to return to
work on a gradual basis. See id. The District of Columbia
informed Ms. Glymph that she could not return to her position
until she could work a full eight-hour day. See id. On July
29, 2000, the District of Columbia terminated her employment.
See id. at 6. Ms. Glymph claims that she was discriminated
against by the District of Columbia on the basis of her medical
disability caused by the 1995 automobile accident. See id.
Between 1996 and 1999, Ms. Glymph participated as a witness in
a race-discrimination case in the District of Columbia, styled
Wondafrash v. D.C. Government, C.A. No. 96-1272. See Compl.
at 6. She alleges that her participation in the case also played
a role in the District of Columbia's decision to fire her. See
A. Legal Standard for 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss
For a complaint to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss,
it need only provide a short and plain statement of the claim
and the grounds on which it rests. See FED.R.CIV.P. 8(a)(2);
Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47, 78 S.Ct. 99, 2 L.Ed.2d 80
(1957). A motion to dismiss under 12(b)(6) tests not whether the
plaintiff will prevail on the merits, but instead whether the
plaintiff has properly stated a claim. See FED.R.CIv.P.
12(b)(6); Scheuer v. Rhodes, 416 U.S. 232, 236, 94 S.Ct. 1683,
40 L.Ed.2d 90 (1974), overruled on other grounds by Harlow v.
Fitzgerald, 457 U.S. 800, 102 S.Ct. 2727, 73 L.Ed.2d 396
(1982). Thus, the court may dismiss a complaint for failure to
state a claim only if it is clear that no relief could be
granted under any set of facts that could be proved consistent
with the allegations. See Hishon v. King & Spalding,
467 U.S. 69, 73, 104 S.Ct. 2229, 81 L.Ed.2d 59 (1984); Atchinson v.
D.C., 73 F.3d 418, 422 (D.C.Cir. 1996). In deciding such a
motion, the court must accept all the complaint's well-pled
factual allegations as true and draw all reasonable inferences
in the nonmovant's favor. See Scheuer, 416 U.S. at 236, 94
B. The Plaintiff States a Claim on Which Relief May Be
Granted Under Title VII
In its partial motion to dismiss, the defendant argues that
the plaintiff has failed to establish a cause of action pursuant
to Title VII. See Mot.Dis. at 5. Specifically, the defendant
asserts that the scope of Title VII litigation is limited to
discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national
origin, and does not address discrimination based on medical
disability. See id. The defendant contends that since there is
no mention of race, color, religion, or national origin in the
plaintiffs complaint, and that since there is no allegation in
the complaint that Ms. Glymph was discriminated against on the
basis of her sex, she cannot pursue a claim of discrimination
under Title VII. See id.
The defendant however, fails to recognize that while the
plaintiff never alleges a claim based on race, color, religion,
sex, or national origin in her complaint, she does allege
retaliation in violation of Title VII for her participation in a
prior protected activity. See Compl. at 6. Specifically, the
plaintiff claims that the defendant terminated her not only
because of her medical disability, but also because she served
as a witness in a race-discrimination suit against the District
of Columbia between 1996 and 1999. See id. Therefore, the
court denies the defendant's motion to dismiss the plaintiffs
Title VII claim based on race, color, religion, sex, or national
origin, because the plaintiff has not set forth such a claim.
Instead, the plaintiffs Title VII claim relates to retaliation
for a prior protected activity, which is clearly covered under
the statute. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3; Pl.'s Opp'n at 2. In
addition, the court does not construe the defendant's motion as
a motion to dismiss the retaliation claim since the defendant
states, "[t]here is no mention of race, color, religion, or
national origin in plaintiffs complaint . . . [i]t is
resoundingly clear that the basis for the alleged discrimination
was plaintiffs medical disability, which is not actionable under
Title VII." See Mot. to Dis. at 5. Clearly, then, the
defendant is not seeking to dismiss the plaintiffs retaliation
Even assuming arguendo that the defendant had filed a motion
to dismiss the retaliation claim, the court would deny such a
motion because the plaintiff need not allege the elements of a
prima-facie case of retaliation at the initial pleading stage.
See Sparrow v. United Air Lines, Inc., 216 F.3d 1111, 1114
(D.C.Cir. 2000). In Sparrow, the Court of Appeals reversed the
district court and held that a plaintiff was not required to
set forth the elements of a prima facie case at the initial
pleading stage. While noting that the McDonnell Douglas test
for proving unlawful discrimination still applied,*fn1 and
that under the test the plaintiff has the burden of proof to
establish a prima-facie case of discrimination, the court also
stated that "[n]one of this, however, has to be accomplished in
the complaint itself." Id. The court emphasized that the
complaint only needs to give the defendant fair notice of the
plaintiffs claims. See id.
In this case, the plaintiff alleges that her termination was
in part, the result of the defendant's retaliation against her
for participating as a witness in a race-discrimination suit
against the District of Columbia. See Compl. at 6. Therefore,
the court holds that the complaint does, in fact, give the
defendant sufficient notice of the plaintiff's Title VII claim
and the grounds upon which it rests. See Atchinson, 73 F.3d at
421. Accordingly, the court denies the
defendant's motion to dismiss the Title VII claim.
C. The Plaintiffs Claim Under Section 1981
The court determines that the parties have set forth
inadequate briefs regarding the plaintiffs section 1981 claim.
Therefore, before determining whether the plaintiff has stated a
section 1981 claim, the court requests clarification on the
issues set forth in the attached order.
For all these reasons, the court denies the defendant's motion
to dismiss the Title VII claim and orders additional briefing on
the defendant's motion to dismiss the section 1981 claim. An
order directing the parties in a manner consistent with this
Memorandum Opinion is separately and contemporaneously issued
this 26 day of November, 2001.