United States District Court, District of Columbia
COLLEEN KOLLAR-KOTELLY, United States District Judge
in this case, the former Dean of Students at Defendant Perry
Street Preparatory Public Charter School (“Perry
Street”), alleges that Defendant discriminated against
him on the basis of his gender when it denied him a
promotion, and subsequently retaliated against him for filing
a complaint about that discrimination with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).
Plaintiff brings this lawsuit under Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964. Pending before the Court is Defendant
Perry Street's  Motion to Dismiss the Complaint.
Defendant argues that the Complaint should be dismissed
because Plaintiff failed to file a timely charge with the
EEOC regarding the challenged conduct, and because
Plaintiff's allegations are not sufficient to satisfy the
causation requirement of his retaliation claim.
consideration of the pleadings,  the relevant legal
authorities, and the record as a whole, the Court
GRANTS-IN-PART and DENIES-IN-PART Defendant's Motion. The
Court will dismiss Plaintiff's retaliation claim because
Plaintiff did not file a timely EEOC charge with respect to
the alleged retaliatory actions. The Court will not, however,
dismiss Plaintiff's discriminatory failure to promote
claim at this preliminary stage of the case because Plaintiff
has sufficiently alleged that equitable tolling may apply to
excuse his failure to file a timely charge with respect to
Charles Taylor worked as the Dean of Students at Perry Street
from 2008 to 2014. Compl., ECF No. 3, ¶ 5. In 2013,
Plaintiff interviewed for a position at the school as the
Human Resources Manager. Id. Plaintiff was denied
that position in favor of a female candidate. Id.
¶¶ 6-7. Plaintiff alleges that this female
candidate did not apply for the position and was not
qualified for it. Id. ¶¶ 7-8. Nonetheless,
Plaintiff alleges that the female candidate was given the
position because she was engaged in a romantic relationship
with one of the members of the hiring committee, Mr. Shadwick
Jenkins. Id. ¶ 8. Plaintiff alleges that Mr.
Jenkins has engaged in a pattern or practice of firing male
employees and replacing them with females with whom he has
romantic relationships. Id. ¶ 9.
alleges that he filed a charge with the EEOC regarding this
conduct on approximately March 29, 2013, but the EEOC lost
his complaint. Id. ¶ 10. Plaintiff eventually
refiled his complaint and received a right to sue letter on
June 22, 2015. Id. Plaintiff alleges that he was
retaliated against for filing his original 2013 charge. He
alleges that his supervisor began to berate and embarrass him
in front of other employees, and that he was thereafter
required to perform tasks that female employees were not
required to perform. Id. ¶¶ 11-12.
Plaintiff also alleges that Mr. Jenkins fired him without
cause on July 31, 2014. Id. ¶ 13.
Perry Street subsequently moved to dismiss the Complaint
under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Defendant
moved to dismiss on the grounds that Plaintiff's EEOC
charge was not timely filed and his retaliation claim is not
causally connected to any protected activity. See
Def.'s Mot. That motion has been fully briefed and is now
ripe for resolution.
to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a party may move
to dismiss a complaint on the grounds that it “fail[s]
to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure
require that a complaint 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. Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007) (quoting Conley
v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957)). “[A] complaint
[does not] suffice if it tenders ‘naked
assertion[s]' devoid of ‘further factual
enhancement.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557).
Rather, a complaint must contain sufficient factual
allegations that, if true, “state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 570. “A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678. In evaluating a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for
failure to state a claim, a court must construe the complaint
in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and accept as
true all reasonable factual inferences drawn from
well-pleaded factual allegations. See In re United Mine
Workers of Am. Employee Benefit Plans Litig., 854
F.Supp. 914, 915 (D.D.C. 1994).
Motion to Dismiss is primarily a challenge to the timeliness
of the charge Plaintiff filed with the EEOC before bringing
his lawsuit. “Prior to filing a Title VII suit, a
plaintiff must exhaust his administrative remedies by filing
an EEOC charge outlining his allegations.” Duberry
v. Inter-Con Sec. Sys., Inc., 898 F.Supp.2d 294, 298
(D.D.C. 2012) (citing 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e)). “In
the District of Columbia, such an EEOC charge must be filed
within 300 days of the allegedly discriminatory/retaliatory
act.” Id. “[I]f the employee does not
submit a timely EEOC charge, the employee may not challenge
that practice in court.” Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire
& Rubber Co., Inc., 550 U.S. 618, 624 (2007) (citing
42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1)), superseded by
statute, Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, Pub.L. No.
111-2, 123 Stat. 5 (2009).
Complaint contains two categories of allegedly unlawful
action. First, Plaintiff alleges that he was discriminated
against on the basis of his gender when he was denied the
Human Resources Manager position in early 2013. Plaintiff
alleges that he filed a timely charge with the EEOC regarding
that discrimination. Second, Plaintiff alleges that Defendant
retaliated against Plaintiff for filing that EEOC charge by
berating him for a period of time culminating in his
termination on July 31, 2014.
claims will not be dismissed as they relate to the first
category of alleged unlawful conduct-the allegedly
discriminatory failure to promote Plaintiff. Plaintiff
alleges that he filed an EEOC charge relating to this claim
on approximately March 29, 2013, which would have been
timely, but “[t]he EEO office lost said
complaint.” Compl. ¶ 10. Plaintiff claims that he
only discovered that his timely charge had been lost when he
returned to the EEO Office in June 2015 and was told that the
office could not locate his file. Pl.'s Opp'n at 2.
Under these circumstances, Plaintiff asks the Court to apply
equitable tolling to his deadline to file an EEOC charge.
a timely charge of discrimination with the EEOC is not a
jurisdictional prerequisite to suit in federal court, but a
requirement that, like a statute of limitations, is subject
to waiver, estoppel, and equitable tolling.'”
Dyson v. D.C., 710 F.3d 415, 421 (D.C. Cir. 2013)
(quoting Zipes v. Trans World Airlines, Inc., 455
U.S. 385, 393 (1982)). “A ‘petitioner is entitled
to equitable tolling only if he shows (1) that he has been
pursuing his rights diligently, and (2) that some
extraordinary circumstance ...