United States District Court, District of Columbia
Shelia S. BOWE-CONNOR, Plaintiff,
Eric K. SHINSEKI, Secretary of Veteran Affairs, Defendant.
Morris Eli Fischer, Law Office of Morris E. Fischer, LLC, Silver Spring, MD, for Plaintiff.
Laurie J. Weinstein, U.S. Attorney's Office, Washington, DC, for Defendant.
JOHN D. BATES, District Judge.
Plaintiff Shelia S. Bowe-Connor (" Bowe-Connor" or " plaintiff" ) brings this action against Eric K. Shinseki, in his capacity as the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, (" Secretary" or " defendant" ) alleging violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (" Title VII" ). Defendant has moved to dismiss or alternatively for summary judgment. For the reasons explained below, the Court will grant defendant's motion.
The facts and background of the case are set forth fully in this Court's prior opinion. See Bowe-Connor v. Shinseki, 845 F.Supp.2d 77, 77-84 (D.D.C.2012).
Plaintiff is a pharmacist with the Department of Veterans Affairs, where she has been employed since 1984. Sec. Am. Compl. ¶ 9. She works in the Outpatient Pharmacy at the VA Medical Center. Id. ¶ 11.
Bowe-Connor, acting pro se, initially brought claims alleging violations of Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. (" ADEA" ), and the Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d) et seq. (" EPA" ). Compl. ¶¶ 1, 2, 4, 8. That complaint, which was filed when Bowe-Connor was proceeding pro se, generally contended that officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs (" VA" ) discriminated against her on the basis of age, sex, and national origin; retaliated against her due to her Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (" EEOC" ) activity; and subjected her to a hostile work environment. Id. ¶¶ 5, 13, 23. Plaintiff also asserted that male pharmacists performing the same work were paid more than she was, in violation of the EPA. Id. ¶¶ 35-36. Defendant moved to dismiss plaintiff's Title VII and ADEA claims for failure to exhaust and failure to state a claim, Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6), and plaintiff's EPA claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1). See generally Def.'s 1st Mot. to Dismiss. At that time, the Court granted defendant's motion to dismiss the EPA claim for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, but, given Bowe-Connor's pro se status, denied the motions to dismiss the Title VII and ADEA claims concluding that it lacked sufficient clarity and information on the claims in the complaint. See Bowe-Connor, 845 F.Supp.2d at 89-95. Because Bowe-Connor secured counsel after the first motion to dismiss was fully briefed, the Court gave her an opportunity to address the deficiencies identified in that prior decision, and granted leave to Bowe-Connor to file an amended complaint. Id. at 96.
Bowe-Connor has now filed an amended complaint. In her amended complaint, she alleges national origin discrimination and retaliation claims. As to national origin discrimination, she claims that her supervisor gave favorable treatment to employees of Ethiopian descent over employees of non-Ethiopian descent. Id. ¶¶ 14-16. Specifically, Bowe-Connor states that she received no bonus in March 2009, which was because of national origin discrimination. Id. ¶ 52-53. She states in addition that other non-Ethiopian employees received lower bonuses than those recommended by her supervisor for employees of Ethiopian descent. Id. ¶ 54. Bowe-Connor also makes retaliation claims as to a proposed five-day suspension, the charging of 3.5 hours of leave without pay by improper reduction of her sick leave, and a letter of counseling for excessive leave usage. Defendant has moved to dismiss Bowe-Connor's second amended complaint, or, in the alternative, for summary judgment.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
All that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require of a complaint is that it contain " ‘ a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief,’ in order to ‘ give the defendant fair notice of what the ... claim is and the grounds upon which it rests.’ " Bell Atl. ...