United States District Court, District of Columbia
G. SULLIVAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
Oscar Williams brings this action alleging defendant
Metropolitan Police Department (“MPD”)
discriminated against him because of his sexual orientation,
retaliated against him, and created a hostile work
environment in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964 (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e,
et. seq., and the District of Columbia Human Rights
Act (“DCHRA”), D.C. Code Ann. § 2-1402.21.
Specifically, Mr. Williams alleges that MPD took a series of
actions resulting in his eventual termination after learning
about Mr. Williams' same-sex marriage. Pending before the
Court is MPD's motion to dismiss the amended complaint.
Upon consideration of the amended complaint, MPD's
motion, the response and reply thereto, and the applicable
law, the Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in
part MPD's motion to dismiss. Specifically, the
Court finds that Mr. Williams' claims based on
discrimination and retaliation may proceed, but that he has
failed to adequately allege a claim based on hostile work
Williams is a married gay man. Am. Compl., ECF No. 11 ¶
6. In 2016, Mr. Williams applied for a Management Supervisory
Service position of Supervisor at MPD. Id. ¶ 7.
On or about May 5, 2016, Mr. Williams was notified that he
was hired for the position, and that the “background
investigation unit” would contact him to begin the
hiring process. Id. ¶¶ 8-9. Approximately
two and a half months later, Mr. Williams received a call
from MPD's Human Resource Specialist Marie Dawkins who
notified Mr. Williams that he had successfully passed the
background investigation. Id. ¶ 16. Ms. Dawkins
extended an offer of employment to Mr. Williams, which he
accepted. Id. ¶ 18.
course of that call, Mr. Williams asked Ms. Dawkins whether
the salary associated with the position could be negotiated,
noting that his “partner” had advised him that
negotiation may be possible. Id. ¶¶ 19,
20. Ms. Dawkins asked what he meant by “partner,
” and Mr. Williams informed her that he was gay.
Id. ¶¶ 21-22. According to Mr. Williams,
the conversation “soured quickly” at that point,
and Ms. Dawkins told him that salary negotiations would
“definitely not happen in this situation.”
Id. ¶ 23. Mr. Williams subsequently contacted
MPD's Human Resource Department and complained to
Operations Manager Lennie Moore about the exchange with Ms.
Dawkins and her “offensive response.”
Id. ¶ 24.
about August 5, 2016, Mr. Moore contacted Mr. Williams to
advise him that there was a “mishandling of paperwork,
” that the supervisory position he was offered was
going to be reposted, and that he would need to re-apply and
re-interview. Id. ¶¶ 27-28. Mr. Moore also
informed Mr. Williams that, in the meantime, MPD would offer
him a “non-competitive career service
appointment” position. Id. ¶ 29. Mr.
Williams “reluctantly” accepted the appointment
until he could re-apply for the supervisory position.
Id. ¶ 30. Mr. Williams alleges that, around the
same time, another employee, Lamont Mahone, was hired for a
position identical to the supervisory position for which Mr.
Williams was initially hired. Id. ¶ 26. Mr.
Williams believes that Mr. Mahone is a heterosexual man.
August 8, 2016, Mr. Williams met with Ms. Dawkins and Human
Resource Director Kathleen Crenshaw for orientation for the
non-competitive appointment position he accepted.
Id. ¶ 31. Mr. Williams alleges that, when he
inquired about benefits for his partner during an orientation
session, he immediately noticed “disdain and disgust in
Ms. Dawkins' body language, tone, and voice in
responding.” Id. ¶¶ 33-34. Moreover,
Ms. Dawkins “avoided interaction with Mr. Williams for
the rest of [that] day.” Id. ¶ 36. A few
days later, Mr. Williams reported the incident to Mr. Moore.
Id. ¶ 37. In the course of this conversation,
Mr. Moore stated that Ms. Dawkins “was the person who
initially mishandled [Mr. Williams'] paperwork” and
that she was “not very fond” of gay men.
Id. ¶¶ 38-40.
September 7, 2016, after Mr. Williams had begun working in
the non-competitive position, he received a call from Ms.
Dawkins regarding the supervisory position for which he had
initially applied. Id. ¶ 47. Ms. Dawkins
explained that “all interviews were cancelled”
and that Mr. Williams would “receive a call if they
were rescheduled.” Id. ¶ 47. Mr. Williams
subsequently spoke to Mr. Moore, who reiterated that Ms.
Dawkins was “not friendly” toward gay men and
stated that Ms. Dawkins had “once again incorrectly
handled the situation.” Id. ¶¶
September 30, 2016, Mr. Williams' immediate supervisor
instructed him to report to Human Resources. Id.
¶ 52. Upon doing so, Mr. Williams was informed by
Sergeant George Bernard that his employment with MPD was
terminated. Id. ¶¶ 52-53. According to
Sergeant Bernard, the purported reason for the termination
was because Mr. Williams was “not a DC resident when he
began employment and that ‘maybe' the background
check was unsuccessful.” Id. ¶ 54.
Notably, Mr. Williams alleges that the reasons for
termination provided by Sergeant Bernard were different than
the ones listed in the written confirmation of his
termination that he later received. Id. ¶¶
on these facts, Mr. William claims that MPD discriminated
against him - and eventually terminated him - because of his
sexual orientation. Mr. Williams's amended complaint
alleges that MPD violated Title VII and the DCHRA by (1)
discriminating against him on the basis of his sexual
orientation, (2) retaliating against him after he complained
to Human Resources, and (3) creating a hostile work
environment. See Am. Compl., ECF No. 11 ¶¶
63-98. MPD moved to dismiss plaintiff's amended
complaint, arguing that Mr. Williams failed to allege
sufficient facts to state a claim for sex discrimination,
retaliation or a hostile work environment. See
Def.'s Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to Dismiss. Am. Compl.
(“Def.'s Mem.”), ECF No. 13 at 7. MPD's
motion is now ripe and ready for the Court's
motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) tests the legal sufficiency of a complaint.
Browning v. Clinton, 292 F.3d 235, 242 (D.C. Cir.
2002). A complaint must 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) (internal quotation marks and citation marks
omitted). “[W]hen ruling on a defendant's motion to
dismiss [pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)], a judge must accept as
true all of the factual allegations contained in the
complaint.” Atherton v. D.C. Office of the
Mayor, 567 F.3d 672, 681 (D.C. Cir. 2009) (internal
quotation marks omitted). In addition, the court must give
the plaintiff the “benefit of all inferences that can
be derived from the facts alleged.” Kowal v. MCI
Commc'ns Corp., 16 F.3d 1271, 1276 (D.C. Cir. 1994).
this liberal pleading standard, to survive a motion to
dismiss, 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) (internal quotation marks omitted). A
claim is facially plausible when the facts pled in the
complaint allow the court to “draw the reasonable
inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct
alleged.” Id. The standard does not amount to
a “probability requirement, ” but it does require
more than a “sheer possibility that a defendant has
acted unlawfully.” Id.