Rogers v. Morris et al
MEMORANDUM DECISION and ORDERgranting 28 Defendants' Motion to Dismiss; granting 30 Motion to Dismiss. Signed by Judge Ted Stewart on 05/17/2012. (tls)
IN THE UNITED STATES COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF UTAH
LISA L. ROGERS,
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND
ORDER GRANTING DEFENDANTS’
MOTIONS TO DISMISS
DONNA JONES MORRIS; STATE OF
UTAH DEPARTMENT OF COMMUNITY
AND CULTURE; and STATE OF UTAH
DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES
Case No. 2:11-CV-134 TS
This matter is before the Court on Defendants the Utah Department of Community and
Culture [“the DCC”] and the Utah Department of Human Resource Management’s Motion to
Dismiss Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint and Defendant Donna Jones Morris’s Motion to Dismiss
Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint.
Until 2008, Plaintiff Lisa L. Rogers worked for the Utah State Library, a division of the
DCC. Ms. Rogers worked there as an executive assistant for Defendant Donna Jones Morris,
State Librarian. Ms. Rogers alleges that while she was employed, Defendants “created,
maintained and failed to correct a known hostile work-environment, disparate treatment,
retaliation and harassment.” Based on these issues, in early 2006, Ms. Rogers had a series of
formal meetings with Ms. Morris and a representative from the DCC. Ms. Rogers attempted to
have a follow up meeting with the director of the DCC but was unsuccessful. In September
2006, Ms. Rogers filed a grievance with the Utah State Career Service Review Board.
Ultimately, Ms. Rogers’s concerns were not resolved, and in February of 2008 she reluctantly
resigned from her position.
On July 2, 2008, Ms. Rogers filed a Charge of Discrimination with the Utah AntiDiscrimination & Labor Division and the EEOC alleging various forms of discrimination. On
November 2, 2010, the EEOC sent a letter to Ms. Rogers informing her that her file was being
closed and that if she wished to sue she was required to file a complaint within ninety days. Ms.
Rogers filed an Amended Complaint on December 5, 2011, alleging violations under Title VII of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964 against all Defendants.
Ms. Rogers has alleged the following as bases for her Title VII claims: (1) that she “is a
black woman”; (2) that she was subjected to a hostile work environment, retaliation and
harassment because she complained to her employer; (3) that she was subjected to differential
treatment in that she was required to “report into work,” which was “not the policy of the State of
Utah or required by any other employee”; (4) that she was required to surrender her computer
passwords; (5) that she was subjected to the following “degrading job duties”: cleaning out
Defendant Ms. Morris’s keyboard, fixing Ms. Morris’s blinds, clearing snow from vehicles,
ensuring vehicles were warm in the winter and cold in the summer by means of air conditioning
or heat, watering Ms. Morris’s plants, and putting staples in Ms. Morris’s stapler; (6) that she
was demeaned by Ms. Morris in the presence of other employees; and (7) that she was subjected
to racial remarks made by other Utah State Library employees.
On January 18, 2012, Defendants moved to dismiss Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint.
Plaintiff has not responded.
“In states in which a state agency has authority to investigate employment discrimination
(“deferral states”), Title VII requires claimants to file a charge of discrimination within 300 days
of the alleged unlawful employment practice. Utah is a deferral state.”1
Here Plaintiff’s Charge of Discrimination alleged retaliation, harassment, disparate
treatment based on race, national origin, and age, and hostile work environment.
Every instance of retaliation and/or disparate treatment is an independent “unlawful
employment practice.”2 For each instance alleged, Plaintiff must therefore show that it occurred
and was identified in the charge within the 300 day period.3
Davidson v. Am. Online, Inc., 337 F.3d 1179, 1183 n.1 (10th Cir. 2003).
Nat’l R.R. Passenger Corp. v. Morgan, 536 U.S. 101, 114 (2002) (“Each incident of
discrimination and each retaliatory adverse employment decision constitutes a separate
actionable ‘unlawful employment practice.’ Morgan can only file a charge to cover discrete acts
that occurred within the appropriate time period.”)
Id. (2002) (“Each discrete discriminatory act starts a new clock for filing charges
alleging that act. The charge, therefore, must be filed within the . . . 300 day time period after the
discrete discriminatory act occurred.”)
Plaintiff’s charge was filed with the EEOC on July 8, 2008. Any incident on which a
claim could be predicated must therefore have occurred on or after September 12, 2007. Though
Plaintiff has made a list of behavior that purportedly equates to Title VII violations, she has
failed to allege that any discrete occurrence of disparate treatment, harassment, or retaliation took
place on or after September 12, 2007. Accordingly, Plaintiff’s civil suit is time barred as to the
retaliation, harassment, and disparate treatment claims.4
The Supreme Court has recognized that a hostile work environment claim differs from a
“discrete action” claim because the unlawful employment practice does not occur on a single
day.5 However, the complainant is still required to file a charge within 300 days of at least one
act that makes up a part of the hostile work environment.6 Plaintiff has failed to identify any
specific act that occurred on or after September 12, 2007, that contributed to the hostile work
environment. The hostile work environment claim is therefore time barred.
In light of the foregoing, it is therefore
ORDERED that the Agency Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Amended
Complaint (Docket No. 28) is GRANTED. It is further
Davidson, 337 F.3d at 1183 (“The filing [of an administrative claim within 300 days of
the discriminatory event] is a prerequisite to a civil suit under Title VII and a claim is time-barred
if it is not filed within these time limits.”).
Morgan, 536 U.S. at 115.
Id. at 118 (“In order for the charge to be timely, the employee need only file a charge
within . . . 300 days of any act that is part of the hostile work environment.”).
ORDERED that Donna Jones Morris’ Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint
(Docket No. 30) is GRANTED. The Clerk of the Court is directed to close this case forthwith.
DATED May 17, 2012.
BY THE COURT:
United States District Judge