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Turay v. McHugh

United States District Court, D. Columbia

November 18, 2015

MARY TURAY, Plaintiff,
v.
JOHN M. MCHUGH, Defendant

          For Mary Turay, Plaintiff: Marcia A. McCree, LEAD ATTORNEY, Edgar Ndjatou, MCCREE NDJATOU, PLLC, Washington, DC USA.

         For John M. Mchugh, Defendant: Derrick Wayne Grace, LEAD ATTORNEY, U.S. ATTORNEY'S OFFICE FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, Washington, DC USA.

Page 112

         MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

         BERYL A. HOWELL, United States District Judge.

         The plaintiff, Mary Turay, brings this lawsuit against her former employer, the Secretary of the Army, for employment discrimination on the basis of national origin and retaliation in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. § 1981.[1] Am. Compl. ¶ ¶ 1-3, 38, 41, ECF No. 14. The plaintiff alleges the federal defendant violated § 1981 by (1) discriminating against her on the basis of her national origin by denying her a raise when she worked as a nurse at Walter Reed Medical Center, a division of the Department of the Army, and for subsequently terminating her employment " for making a mistake that other, similarly situated non-African employees make on a daily basis," id. ¶ ¶ 3, Count I; and (2) retaliating against the plaintiff by terminating her when she " attempted to speak with her superior concerning discrimination . . . due to her national origin," id. at Count II.

         The defendant has moved to dismiss the amended complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), on grounds that the plaintiff " is foreclosed from pursuing her claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 as Title VII has long been held to provide the exclusive remedy for such discrimination claims." Def.'s Mem. Supp. Mot. Dismiss (" Def.'s Mem." ) at 1, 4, ECF No. 15-1 (citing Brown v. Gen. Servs. Admin, 425 U.S. 820, 96 S.Ct. 1961, 48 L.Ed.2d 402 (1976) and Kizas v. Webster, 707 F.2d 524, 227 U.S.App.D.C. 327 (D.C. Cir. 1983)). The Court agrees.

         The law is well-settled that Title VII " provides the exclusive judicial remedy for claims of discrimination in federal employment." Brown, 425 U.S. at 835; see also Howard v. Pritzker, 775 F.3d 430, 432, 413 U.S.App.D.C. 389 (D.C. Cir. 2015) (" In Title VII, Congress enacted 'an exclusive, pre-emptive administrative and judicial scheme for the redress of federal employment discrimination.'" (quoting Brown, 425 U.S. at 829)). The plaintiff makes little effort to dispute or distinguish these cases, opting instead to rely on cases in which § 1981 claims were brought in the

Page 113

private employment context. Pl.'s Opp'n at 6 (citing Johnson v. Railway Express Agency, 421 U.S. 454, 459, 95 S.Ct. 1716, 44 L.Ed.2d 295 (1974) and Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., 392 U.S. 409, 415-17, 88 S.Ct. 2186, 20 L.Ed.2d 1189 (1968)). Plaintiff's reliance on these cases is misplaced. The Supreme Court in Brown explicitly found Johnson " inapposite" in a case regarding employment discrimination against federal parties because the Johnson decision held that " Title VII did not pre-empt other remedies" only " in the context of Private employment." Brown, 425 U.S. at 833; see also Williams v. Bentsen, No. 93-5192, 1993 WL 469110, at *1 (D.C. Cir. Nov. 5, 1993) (per curiam) (affirming the district court's dismissal of discrimination claims under § 1981 because " it is well established that Title VII provides the exclusive judicial remedy for claims of discrimination in federal employment" and " [t]he cases cited by appellant are inapposite because they involved section 1981 claims brought by parties alleging discrimination in non-federal employment." ). Here, the plaintiff does not dispute that the defendant is a federal employer. Am. Compl. ¶ 5 (" Defendant is a federal agency organized under the United States Department of Defense." ). Therefore, Title VII provides the only avenue available to her to remedy her claims of discrimination and retaliation, and her claims pursuant to § 1981 are not legally cognizable.

         Accordingly, it is hereby

         ORDERED that the defendant's Motion to Dismiss, ECF No. 15, is GRANTED; and it is further

         ORDERED that the Clerk of the Court close this case.

         SO ...


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