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Jones v. Ottenberg's Bakers, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Columbia.

November 21, 2013

DOUGLAS JONES, Plaintiff,
v.
OTTENBERG'S BAKERS, INC., ET AL., Defendants

For DOUGLAS JONES, Plaintiff: Paul Eric Strauss, LEAD ATTORNEY, LAW OFFICES OF PAUL STRAUSS & ASSOCIATES, PC, Washington, DC.

For OTTENBERG'S BAKERS, INC., RAY OTTENBERG, Defendants: Michael P. Bracken, LEAD ATTORNEY, VENABLE LLP, Washington, DC; Meredith L. Boylan, VENABLE, LLP, Washington, DC.

OPINION

Emmet G. Sullivan, United States District Judge.

Page 186

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff Douglas Jones brings this action alleging racial discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (" Title VII" ), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. , against Ottenberg's Bakers (" Ottenberg's" ) and its president, Ray Ottenberg. Plaintiff initially brought this lawsuit in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. On May 31, 2013, the defendants removed the case to this Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1441. Pending before the Court is defendants' motion to dismiss. Upon consideration of the motion, the response and reply thereto, the applicable law, and the entire record, the Court GRANTS IN PART AND DENIES IN PART defendants' motion.

I. BACKGROUND

Plaintiff, an African-American male, was employed by defendants as a delivery driver for twelve years. First Amended Compl. ¶ ¶ 4, 7.[1] His complaint centers on the events of July 11, 2008, when his parked delivery truck was hit from behind by another vehicle, throwing him to the floor of the truck and injuring him. Id. ¶ ¶ 9-10. After the accident, Mr. Jones returned to the defendants' bakery, where

Page 187

he was ordered to take a drug test pursuant to a company policy which mandates that employees who were " involved in an accident and may have caused/contributed to the accident" take a drug test. Id. ¶ ¶ 11, 12. Mr. Jones alleges that he " did not in any way cause or contribute to the accident, as his vehicle was legally parked and he was inside the truck, in the back, preparing for his next delivery." Id. ¶ 13. Accordingly, Mr. Jones alleges that defendants violated their own policy by ordering that he take a drug test. Id. ¶ 23. Plaintiff was ultimately terminated from employment for failing to take the drug test. Id. ¶ ¶ 14, 24.

Mr. Jones alleges that the defendants' decisions to " instruct Plaintiff to take a drug test," and " terminate Plaintiff's employment" for failing to do so, were racially motivated. Id. ¶ ¶ 28-30. He also alleges that " Caucasian drivers who had been involved in accidents" were treated differently. Id. ¶ 15; see also id. ¶ 19.

On July 22, 2008, Mr. Jones filed a formal complaint of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (" EEOC" ), alleging that Ottenberg's discriminated against him based on his race, national origin, and age, and that Ottenberg's retaliated against him for engaging in protected activity. Pl.'s EEOC Compl., Dkt. No. 1-1 at 45. Plaintiff supplemented his EEOC complaint on September 4, 2008. See Pl.'s Amended EEOC Compl., Dkt. No. 1-1 at 48-60.

The EEOC referred Mr. Jones's complaint to the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights. On August 8, 2012, that office found no probable cause to support plaintiff's claims. See Letter of Determination, Dkt. No. 1-1 at 77. The EEOC adopted that determination on November 26, 2012 and issued a Dismissal and Notice of Rights, which informed Mr. Jones of the relevant deadlines for filing a civil action:

You may file a lawsuit against the respondent(s) under federal law based on this charge in federal or state court. Your lawsuit must be filed WITHIN 90 DAYS of your receipt of this notice; or ...

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