United States District Court, District of Columbia
OPINION AND ORDER
CHRISTOPHER R. COOPER, United States District Judge
Guillen Perez began working as a clerical assistant in the
District of Columbia Department of Employment Services in
2012. When she was terminated in October 2016, she brought
suit against her former employer, alleging that it had
discriminated and retaliated against her in violation of an
assortment of federal laws. The defendants have filed a
partial motion to dismiss several of the claims Guillen
raised as well as two of the defendants she sued. The Court
will grant the motion in part and deny it in part.
following factual background is drawn from Guillen's
amended complaint, taking her well-pled factual allegations
as true as the Court must at this point in the case, see
Doe v. Rumsfeld, 683 F.3d 390, 391 (D.C. Cir. 2012). On
September 4, 2012, Guillen was hired as a Clerical Assistant
by the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services
(“the Department”). Am. Compl. ¶ 10. Guillen
is a Hispanic woman who immigrated to the United States from
the Dominican Republic. Id. ¶ 7.
around August 2014, Guillen informed the Department that she
had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Id. ¶
11. A few months later, in October 2014, Guillen underwent
surgery for her cancer and received authorization to take
leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act for her
procedure and recovery. Id. ¶¶ 13-16. Due
to complications, Guillen was unable to return to work until
December 2014. Id. ¶¶ 17-22. When she
returned, she had a new supervisor, Quinett Warrick.
Id. ¶ 22. According to Guillen, Warrick was
unhappy that she had taken and continued to take leave for
her medical issues and instituted a series of retaliatory
actions, including giving Guillen negative performance
reviews in weekly reports and altering Guillen's time
cards. Id. ¶¶ 23, 25, 30.
that time, Guillen also began complaining about receiving
less pay than her African-American coworkers, and filed a
complaint alleging racial discrimination with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).
Id. ¶¶ 26-27, 41. Guillen also complained
to Warrick about other perceived double standards in the
workplace, including that Warrick would allow
African-American coworkers to show up late to work or to take
unscheduled breaks but required Guillen to strictly follow
the work schedule. Id. ¶¶ 33-39. When
Warrick told Guillen she could not do anything about the
unequal pay, Guillen wrote to another Department employee
(the complaint does not specify her position), Monnikka
Madison, seeking a raise. Id. ¶ 48.
speaking to Madison, Guillen received a letter from the
Director of the Department providing her advance notice of a
proposed 10-day suspension. Id. ¶ 54. This
suspension was allegedly based on Guillen mishandling two
client phone calls. Id. ¶ 55. Guillen mediated
the proposed suspension through her union's procedure.
Id. ¶¶ 57-60. The next month, on September
28, 2015, Guillen filed a grievance with the District of
Columbia (the complaint does not indicate which department)
alleging discrimination by the Department on the basis of her
race and national origin. Id. ¶ 69. She was
ultimately terminated from her job effective October 9, 2015.
Id. ¶ 70.
her termination, Guillen filed a charge with the D.C. Office
of Human Rights (which was deemed cross-filed with the EEOC
due to the work-share agreement between the two agencies)
alleging various violations of District and federal law by
the Department. After receiving a right to sue letter from
the EEOC, Guillen brought suit in this Court against the
Department, the District of Columbia, and District Mayor
Muriel Bowser. She charged the defendants with violating: (1)
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, by discriminating against
her on the basis of race and national origin and retaliating
against her, Am. Compl. Counts 1-5; (2) the Federal Equal Pay
Act, by paying her less than her coworkers, id.
Count 6; (3) the Americans with Disabilities Act, by
discriminating against her on the basis of her disability,
id. Count 7; (4) the federal Family and Medical
Leave Act, by interfering with her exercise of her rights
under that act and retaliating against her, id.
Counts 8-9; and (5) the District's Family and Medical
Leave Act, id. Count 10. The District filed a
partial motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6) in response.
order to adequately state a claim for relief, a complaint
“must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as
true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on
its face.'” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S.
662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). Thus, to survive a motion to
dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), a
complaint must contain “factual content that allows the
court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is
liable for the misconduct alleged.” Id. In
determining whether a complaint does so, the Court
“must take all of the factual allegations in the
complaint as true, ” id., and
“constru[e] the complaint liberally in the
plaintiff's favor with the benefit of all reasonable
inferences derived from the facts alleged.” Stewart
v. Nat'l Educ. Ass'n, 471 F.3d 169, 173 (D.C.
Cir. 2006). In its analysis, the Court “may consider
the facts alleged in the complaint, documents attached
thereto or incorporated therein, and matters of which it may
take judicial notice.” Id.
motion to dismiss for a plaintiff's failure to exhaust
administrative remedies is “properly addressed as [a]
motion[ ] to dismiss for failure to state a claim.”
Scott v. Dist. Hosp. Partners, 60 F.Supp.3d 156, 161
(D.D.C. 2014). Since failure to exhaust remedies is an
affirmative defense, “the defendant bears the burden of
pleading and proving it.” Bowden v. United
States, 106 F.3d 433, 437 (D.C. Cir. 1997). As relevant
here, to exhaust administrative remedies under Title VII a
plaintiff must file a charge of unlawful discrimination with
the EEOC within 180 days of the allegedly unlawful act. 42
U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e)(1). This deadline is extended to 300
days when there is a work-sharing agreement between the EEOC
and the relevant state anti-discrimination agency (in this
case, the D.C. Office of Human Rights). Id.; see
also Byrd v. District of Columbia, 807 F.Supp.2d 37, 58
(D.D.C. 2011) (explaining that because of the work-sharing
agreement between the D.C. Office of Human Rights and the
EEOC, the deadline to file an administrative charge is 300
District seeks the dismissal of two of the defendants in this
case as well as a handful of the claims that Guillen has
raised. The Court will grant the motion in part and deny it
in part, as detailed below.
Dismissal of defendants ...