United States District Court, District of Columbia
MEMORANDUM OPINION GRANTING DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO
PARTIALLY DISMISS RE DOCUMENT NO. 10
RUDOLPH CONTRERAS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
employment discrimination suit, Osmel Maestre alleges that
his employer, SDH Services East, LLC (“SDH”),
violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
(“Title VII”), as amended, 42 U.S.C. §
2000e, et seq. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 1-2, ECF No.
9. Specifically, Mr. Maestre contends that Defendant
subjected him to disparate treatment based on race,
id. ¶¶ 39-49, created a discriminatorily
hostile work environment based on his national origin,
id. ¶¶ 50-59, and then retaliated against
him when he reported harassment and discriminatory conduct
based on national origin, id. ¶¶ 60-74.
Defendant now moves under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6) to dismiss Plaintiff's hostile work environment
and reprisal claims.
reasons set forth below, the Court finds that Plaintiff has
failed to make out a plausible claim for relief pursuant to
either his hostile work environment claim or his retaliation
claim. This Court therefore grants Defendant's motion to
partially dismiss his complaint.
August 22, 2016, Mr. Maestre was hired as a Senior Manager
for SDH. See Am. Compl. ¶ 14. He identifies as
a Cuban-American and as Hispanic. Id. ¶ 6. Mr.
Maestre asserts that Defendant discriminated against him over
the following year because of his national origin and his
ethnicity. See generally Id. More specifically, Mr.
Maestre alleges that Defendant, as an organization,
systematically discriminated against Mr. Maestre and other
similarly situated employees by giving non-white employees
inferior job assignments. See Id. ¶¶
17-25, 28. Plaintiff avers that he was routinely asked to
perform undesirable work that was the responsibility of other
white employees. Id. ¶¶ 20-25, 28. For
example, “Plaintiff was expected to be on call and
immediately respond to building issues that came up, for
periods of seven to fourteen days straight and for at least
seven days straight every three to four weeks.”
Id. ¶ 28. He was also “forced to be the
Manager on Duty; [given] call center responsibilities;
serv[ed] as the ergonomics contractor; . . . and [was]
assigned work on weekends.” Id. ¶ 21. In
addition to these assignments, Mr. Maestre states that he and
other similarly situated employees were given fewer training
opportunities than white employees, id. ¶ 18,
and that a less qualified white candidate was promoted in
lieu of Plaintiff, id. ¶ 19.
Maestre contends that his supervisor, Ms. Julie Policastro,
exacerbated this environment of discriminatory treatment by
mistreating him in front of other employees. Id.
¶¶ 26-34. Mr. Maestre states that Ms. Policastro
would publicly “belittle, harass, and intimidate”
him multiple times a day “by pointing her finger”
at him and yelling “Come in here!” Id.
¶ 26; see also Id. ¶ 32 (stating that Ms.
Policastro would call Plaintiff into public areas and
“intimidate and taunt” him “with facial
expressions while . . . pointing her finger directly at
Plaintiff); id. ¶ 33 (describing
“incidents and harassment” as occurring
“twice or more a day”). Moreover, when Mr.
Maestre attempted to speak with Ms. Policastro regarding the
additional work assigned to him, she “would yell and
look at Plaintiff with disgust” and scream
“[h]ere we go again” in front of other employees.
Id. ¶ 29; see also Id. ¶ 34
(stating that Ms. Policastro “reprimand[ed] Plaintiff
in front of other[s]” for his failure to perform the
extra duties assigned to him).
Maestre also describes two problematic meetings with Ms.
Policastro. First, during a meeting in late May 2017, Ms.
Policastro informed him that “anyone who defends their
employees will no longer be here” and
“threatened” to terminate Plaintiff if he did not
terminate the African-American managers whom he supervised.
Id. ¶ 30. Thereafter, Mr. Maestre states that
Ms. Policastro “subjected him to consistent verbal
abuse on a daily basis” and asked him about a
“plan” for terminating Plaintiffs minority
supervisees. Id. ¶ 31. The second incident
occurred during a different meeting with Ms. Policastro, Mr.
Maestre, and another employee, Charon Jackson. Id.
¶ 33. On this occasion, Ms. Policastro responded to Mr.
Maestre's recommendations about ways to improve the
organization's Key Performance Indicators by telling Mr.
Maestro to “forget about it” while
“smirk[ing] and ma[king] a face with disgust.”
addition, Mr. Maestre asserts that Ms. Policastro repeatedly
threatened to fire both him and his wife, who also works for
Defendant, “unless they compl[ied] [with] her
demands.” Pl.'s Opp'n Mot. Dismiss 4
(“Pl.'s Opp'n”), ECF No.
Am. Compl. ¶¶ 27, 30-31, 33. During one
interaction, Ms. Policastro told other employees that
Defendant's employment of Mr. Maestre's wife
“was not working out.” Id. ¶ 27.
More generally, Mr. Maestre states that Ms. Policastro
“talk[ed] negatively” about his wife, an SDH
employee, with other individuals at the company. Id.
response to most of these incidents, Mr. Maestre reported Ms.
Policastro's conduct to Defendant's Human Resources
Department (“HR Department”). Id.
¶¶ 32, 64. Although the HR Department responded by
saying that it would escalate his complaints, id.
¶ 32, it failed to take any action to “prevent or
correct further discrimination and harassment, ”
id. ¶ 35.
lodging this complaint with the HR Department, Mr. Maestre
alleges that Ms. Policastro retaliated against him.
Id. ¶¶ 36-38, 60-74. He avers that, in
retaliation for his protected activity, his work
responsibilities were changed and he was given “routine
tasks” that took his attention away from
“critical activities under his job function.”
Id. ¶ 36. He also states that Ms. Policastro
altered his responsibilities by “transferr[ing] work
from other Directors to Plaintiff” and by adjusting
“Plaintiff's work schedule to alleviate her
responsibility to be on call.” Id. ¶ 38.
Mr. Maestre further asserts that Ms. Policastro
“micromanaged” him, id., scrutinized his
“work, his area, and his direct reports, ”
id., and “excluded [him from] meetings with
his staff, ” id. ¶ 36. Finally, Mr.
Maestre claims that Ms. Policastro retaliated by threatening
to “blame” Plaintiff's wife if a contract was
cancelled and by otherwise “treat[ing] Plaintiff's
wife negatively” in front of his coworkers.
Id. ¶ 37.
14, 2017, Mr. Maestre filed a complaint with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”)
alleging that Defendant violated Title VII. Id.
¶ 8 (citing EEOC Charge No. 517-2017-01748). Mr. Maestre
states that his EEOC complaint included allegations that he
was subjected to “discrimination based upon national
origin and retaliation for filing a complaint of national
origin [discrimination].” Id. ¶ 10. One
year later, the EEOC dismissed Mr. Maestre's complaint,
and the agency sent him a right-to-sue letter on July 14,
2017. Id. ¶ 11.
October 29, 2018, Mr. Maestre filed a complaint against SDH
alleging race discrimination, creation of a discriminatory
hostile work environment, and retaliation, see
generally Compl., ECF No. 1, which he subsequently
amended, see Am. Compl. In response, Defendant moved
to dismiss two of Plaintiff's claims (for hostile work
environment and retaliation) under Federal Rule of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(6). See Def.'s Mot. 1. For the
reasons set forth below, the Court grants Defendant's
partial motion to dismiss.
pursue a claim in federal court, a plaintiff must provide a
“a short and plain statement of the claim showing that
the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P.
8(a)(2). This statement must contain “factual content
that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). If a
plaintiff fails to provide ...