The opinion of the court was delivered by: RICARDO URBINA, District Judge
MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART THE
DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS AND FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT
The plaintiff, Charles Blaine Jones, brings an employment
discrimination suit against his former employer, the Federal
Reserve Board. The plaintiff alleges that the defendant
retaliated against him after he filed an age discrimination
charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC").
This matter is before the court on the defendant's motion to
dismiss and for summary judgment. Because the plaintiff has made
out a prima facie case of retaliation with respect to the 2000
performance evaluation, but not as to the other performance
evaluations, the court grants in part and denies in part the
defendant's motion to dismiss and for summary judgment. II. BACKGROUND
The plaintiff, a certified public accountant, was born on May
30, 1948. He began working at the defendant's Division of Reserve
Bank Operations and Payment Systems in April 1991. Compl. ¶ 6. In
July 1993, the plaintiff transferred to the Division of Banking
Supervision and Regulation at grade level FR-27. Id. ¶ 8.
Michael Martinson became the plaintiff's immediate supervisor in
late 1997. Pl.'s Opp'n to Def.'s Mot. to Dismiss and for Summ. J.
("Pl.'s Opp'n") at 3.
The plaintiff alleges that Martinson denied him a promotion to
a managerial position at the FR-29 grade level, and instead
selected Heidi Richards, "a woman in her early thirties." Id.
at 3, 6. Concerned that his supervisor was "effectuating
[d]efendant's policy of promoting young women to positions of
management," the plaintiff approached Martinson after Richards'
selection. Id. at 4. In response to the plaintiff's concerns,
Martinson allegedly "assured" the plaintiff that he would receive
a promotion to grade level FR-28. Id.
"Having not received the promised promotion by September 1998,"
the plaintiff approached Martinson again to inquire about the
status of the promotion to the FR-28 grade level. Id. Martinson
allegedly "assured" the plaintiff that "he would be promoted with
the next group of promotions." Id. The plaintiff alleges that
during this time period, Martinson "effectively demoted [him] by
stripping him of his primary job duties and reassigning them to
Mrs. Richards." Id. at 5.
"Based on Mr. Martinson's assurances that a promotion was
forthcoming, [the plaintiff] did not pursue the matter with the
[d]efendant's EEO office." Id. at 4-5. On October 7, 1999, Martinson promoted a group of individuals. Id. at 5. The
plaintiff, however, was not one of those individuals. Id. at 6.
Martinson explained that he could not justify the plaintiff's
promotion "because of his recently truncated work
Soon afterwards, in November 1999, the plaintiff filed an
informal complaint with the defendant's EEOC office alleging age
and gender discrimination. Compl. ¶ 9. The plaintiff filed a
formal discrimination complaint in January 2000. Pl.'s Opp'n at
6. The plaintiff alleges that after he initiated the EEOC charge,
Martinson "unjustifiably" downgraded the plaintiff's performance
evaluations from "outstanding" in 1999 to "commendable" in the
years 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2003. Id. at 2. The plaintiff
further asserts that the allegedly retaliatory performance
evaluations "have negatively impacted his salary increases, his
bonus entitlement, and his [promotion potential]." Compl. ¶ 11.
On July 9, 2004, the plaintiff received a notice of final
agency action, stating that an EEOC administrative judge
dismissed the plaintiff's charge regarding his non-promotion to
the FR-29 managerial position, concluding that it was
time-barred. Pl.'s Opp'n at 9; Def.'s Mot., Ex. 9A at 1. The
plaintiff filed his complaint in this court on October 4, 2004.
The plaintiff's complaint alleges that the lowered performance
ratings constitute unlawful retaliation, in violation of Tile
VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-1 et seq., and the Age Discrimination in
Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 633a et seq. ("ADEA"). Compl. ¶ 1.
The defendant moves for: (1) dismissal of the complaint on the
basis that the plaintiff did not exhaust his administrative
remedies, and (2) summary judgment on the plaintiff's claims of
retaliation. Def.'s Mot. at 1. The court now turns to these
motions. III. ANALYSIS
A. The Court Denies the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss
The defendant moves to dismiss the plaintiff's allegations that
the 2000 and 2001 performance evaluations were retaliatory on the
basis that the plaintiff did not exhaust his administrative
remedies. Def.'s Mot. at 1. The plaintiff opposes the defendant's
motion, arguing that he was not required to exhaust his
administrative remedies with regards to the 2000 and 2001
performance evaluations. Pl.'s Opp'n at 12. Because the plaintiff
is not required to exhaust administrative remedies to file a
retaliation claim in court, the court denies the defendant's
motion to dismiss the allegations concerning the 2000 and 2001
(1) Legal Standard for Exhaustion of Administrative Remedies
In actions brought under Title VII and the ADEA, a court has
authority over only those claims that are (1) contained in the
plaintiff's administrative complaint or claims "like or
reasonably related to" those claims in the administrative
complaint and (2) claims for which the plaintiff exhausted
administrative remedies. Park v. Howard Univ., 71 F.3d 904, 907
(D.C. Cir. 1995); Caldwell v. Serv. Master Corp.,
966 F. Supp. 33, 49 (D.D.C. 1997). It is the defendant's burden to prove by a
preponderance of the evidence that the plaintiff failed to
exhaust administrative remedies. Brown v. Marsh, 777 F.2d 8, 13
(D.C. Cir. 1985) (stating that "because untimely exhaustion of
administrative remedies is an affirmative defense, the defendant
bears the burden of pleading and proving it"). Meager, conclusory
allegations that the plaintiff failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies will not satisfy the defendant's burden.
Id. at 12 (noting that a mere assertion of failure to exhaust
administrative remedies without more is "clearly inadequate under prevailing regulations to establish a failure to
exhaust administrative remedies").
Dismissal results when a plaintiff fails to exhaust
administrative remedies. Rann v. Chao, 346 F.3d 192, 194-95
(D.C. Cir. 2003) (affirming the trial court's dismissal of the
plaintiff's ADEA claim for failure to exhaust administrative
remedies); Gillet v. King, 931 F. Supp. 9, 12-13 (D.D.C. 1996)
(dismissing the ...