United States District Court, D. Columbia
A.L.R.IDGE, Plaintiff, Pro se, Silver Spring, MD.
RITE AID CORPORATION, Defendant: Megan N. Tumi, LEAD
ATTORNEY, LITTLER MENDELSON, P.C., Washington, DC.
A. HOWELL, United States District Judge.
plaintiff, John Alridge, proceeding pro se, brings
this lawsuit against his current employer, the defendant Rite
Aid of Washington, D.C., Inc., alleging employment
discrimination, defamation, and " 13th and 14th
[A]mendments [c]ivil [r]ights" violations principally
for events that occurred between November 2011 and February
2012. Compl. at 4, 9-10, ECF No. 1. The plaintiff alleges
that he has suffered at least four years of harassment,
id. at 8, forced to perform "
back-breaking" labor that his coworker was not required
to do, id. at 4, subjected to vicious rumors of
being a " drug addict, alcoholic an[d t]hief,"
id. at 8, and repeatedly retaliated against by
management for his attempts to report the discriminatory
behavior, id. at 5, 9. Pending before the Court is
the defendant's Motion to Dismiss. See
Def.'s Mot. Dismiss (" Def.'s Mot." ), ECF
No. 4. For the reasons set forth below, the defendant's
motion is granted.
November 2011, the plaintiff, who has worked for the
defendant since about 2008 and identifies himself as a "
Native American Seminole and Black," was re-assigned to
work as one of two Assistant Managers at a Rite Aid pharmacy
located at 5600 Georgia Avenue, Washington, D.C. (" D.C.
Rite Aid" ). Compl. at 4 (noting that " May
2012" marked the plaintiff's " 4th year working
in Rite Aid Corporation" ). The plaintiff's
supervisor at this Rite Aid branch, store manager Bachir
Jobe, is an " African" and the other employees at
this store are " 90% African." Id.
his first week at the store, the plaintiff alleges that the
manager " made it very clear that he did not identify
with [the plaintiff] at all and did not want [him]
there," and repeatedly referred to the plaintiff as
" Yankee." Id. The plaintiff was
frequently required to work outside " in the cold and
rain" and to work overnight shifts during truck
deliveries, which involve " back-breaking, heavy-labor,
bone-crushing work." Id. In comparison to the
plaintiff's assigned tasks, the other Assistant Manager
never worked outside during the " cold, rainy, winter
season," and never " had to work truck
nights." Id. The other Assistant Manager was
given preferable treatment, according to the plaintiff,
because, although he was " born in America," his
" parents are directly from Africa," and the
manager " identifies with and shares the same cultural
plaintiff avers that he " DO[ES]N'T KNOW WHY [HE]
WAS TREATED THIS WAY. CULTURAL DIFFERENCES, SKIN COMPLEXION,
WHERE [HE] WAS FROM, NOT FROM BUT [HE] WOULD LIKE SOME HELP
IN FINDING OUT WHY." Id. at 4 (emphasis in
December 2011, a month after the plaintiff began working at
the D.C. Rite Aid, the plaintiff called the District Manager
to " discuss the discriminatory, hostile and unfavorable
nature" of the store manager's behavior towards him.
Id. at 5. The District Manager, however, simply
responded " Live with it," and discouraged the
plaintiff from calling human resources, commenting that the
plaintiff can " [c]all them but make sure you know what
you are doing." Id.
apparently escalated. On December 30, 2011, the store manager
accused the plaintiff of stealing $100 from the store.
Id. The plaintiff called the Loss Prevention Agent
Manager (" LPA" ) to defend himself against these
accusations. The money was ultimately discovered in the
deposit bag at the bank two days later, but the manager never
cleared the plaintiff's name with the LPA. Id.
On January 4, 2012, the plaintiff called the LPA regarding
the " unfair treatment" by the manager, to which
the LPA allegedly responded " You don't wanna go
above [the District Manager] and as a friend and a fellow
associate, you don't wanna call HR because it would ruin
your career." Id.
plaintiff alleges that, after he spoke to the LPA, the LPA
then began spreading rumors, going " from store to
store, telling everybody [he] was a drug addict, alcoholic
an[d t]hief," which culminated in events on February 13,
2012. Id. at 8. An hour after the plaintiff arrived
at work that day, the plaintiff alleges that the District
Manager and the LPA accused him of drinking and being "
a danger to the public, the customers," his coworkers
and himself. Id. at 5. The plaintiff was then "
escorted out of the store by security and [t]he District
Manager," required to take a blood-alcohol test, with
negative results, and immediately " suspended until
further notice," without pay. Id. at 6;
id. Ex. (" Controlled Substance Test Report,
dated February 22, 2012" ) at 19, ECF No. 1.
days later, on February 24, 2012, without evidence of any
wrongdoing on the part of the plaintiff, the District Manager
lifted the suspension, but transferred him to another D.C.
Rite Aid location that was " 45-minutes to an hour away
from [the plaintiff's] home," even though the
plaintiff alleges that the District Manager supervised seven
stores that were closer to his home. Id.
Understandably upset at his treatment, the plaintiff
contacted human resources to " discuss the entire
matter," including " all [his] concerns and what
has transpired [in] [sic] the last couple of months."
Id. at 7. The plaintiff alleges that the human
resources (" HR" ) representative became "
defensive" when the plaintiff expressed concern about
his treatment by the LPA and the District Manager, who were
" lunch buddies" and had " a close
professional relationship" with the HR representative.
Id. The HR representative " assured [the
plaintiff] 500% that they have no derogatory or
discriminatory intentions against [the plaintiff]."
plaintiff continued to have difficulty upon his return to
work at the new Rite Aid branch. He alleges that, due to the
LPA's " slander," when he first transferred to
the new Rite Aid branch, " [t]he [f]irst thing the Store
manager [a]sk me was what [k]ind of drugs [was the plaintiff]
on," and that " there is no drinking allowed at
work." Id. at 8.
March 28, 2012, the plaintiff filed a Charge of
Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (" EEOC" ), alleging discrimination
based on national origin and retaliation. Pl.'s Opp'n
Def.'s Mot. Dismiss (" Pl.'s Opp'n" )
Ex. A (" EEOC Charge" ) at 3, ECF No. 7-1. Due to
the preceding events and the EEOC charge, the plaintiff
alleges that his " hours have been cut an[d he has b]een
passed over at least six different times for promotion to
store manager," even though he is " [m]ore
qualified than many of the managers they have place[d] in
the stores," and he has had " [s]ix years of
management experience." Compl. at 9.
August 15, 2013, the EEOC notified the plaintiff that "
the EEOC is unable to conclude that the information obtained
established violations of the statutes." Compl. Ex.
(" EEOC Right-to-Sue Letter, dated August 15, 2013"
) at 18, ECF No. 1. The notice further alerted the plaintiff
of his " right to sue" the defendant under "
Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Genetic
Information Nondiscrimination Act, or the Age Discrimination
in Employment Act," but that such a lawsuit must be
filed " WITHIN 90 DAYS of [the plaintiff's] receipt
of this notice; or [his] right to sue based on this charge
will be lost." Id. (emphasis in the original).
November 15, 2013, the plaintiff filed a complaint against
the defendant in this Court, Pl.'s Opp'n Ex. ("
Complaint, dated November 15, 2013) at 4, ECF No. 7-1, but
his application to proceed in forma pauperis ("
IFP" ) was denied on November 21, 2013. Compl. Ex.
(Application to Proceed without Prepaying Fees, dated
November 15, 2013) (" 2013 App." ) at 2, ECF No. 1.
In accordance with normal practice, the Clerk's office
also notified the plaintiff in a form letter that " [a]s
a result of the Judge's ruling, [his] case has not been
filed with our Court and is being returned to you at this
time."  Nearly a year later, on November 19,
2014, the plaintiff paid the requisite filing fee and filed
the instant complaint, see Compl., ECF No. 1 (docket
text accompanying entry of Compl., indicating receipt of
filing fee), alleging employment discrimination, defamation
and violations of his Thirteenth and ...