COLEMAN v. BOBBY DODD INSTITUTE, INC
ORDER granting 6 Motion to Dismiss Complaint. Ordered by US DISTRICT JUDGE CLAY D. LAND on 6/8/2017 (tlf).
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
BOBBY DODD INSTITUTE, INC.,
O R D E R
Plaintiff Alisha Coleman is a former employee of Defendant
Bobby Dodd Institute, Inc. (“the Institute”).
terminated Coleman after she accidently soiled company property
due to heavy pre-menopausal menstruation.
Coleman claims that
this constitutes sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.
moves to dismiss Coleman’s claim.
As discussed below, the Court
grants that motion (ECF No. 6).1
In her complaint, Coleman also purports to bring a retaliation claim.
But she does not allege that she complained of discrimination or
engaged in other statutorily protected conduct before her termination.
And she fails to respond to the Institute’s arguments for dismissal of
her retaliation claim.
To the extent that Coleman has not abandoned
this claim, see Resolution Trust Corp. v. Dunmar Corp., 43 F.3d 587,
599 (11th Cir. 1995) (“[G]rounds alleged in the complaint but not
relied upon in summary judgment are deemed abandoned.”), she fails to
allege sufficient facts to support it.
Accordingly, the Court also
grants the Institute’s motion to dismiss as to Coleman’s retaliation
To survive a motion to dismiss, “a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim
for relief that is plausible on its face.’” Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007)).
The factual allegations must be sufficient
“to raise a right to relief above the speculative level . . . on
the assumption that all the allegations in the complaint are
true (even if doubtful in fact).”
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555.
Thus, “a well-pleaded complaint may proceed even if it strikes a
savvy judge that actual proof of those facts is improbable.”
Id. at 556.
accepts as true for purposes of determining the present motion.
Coleman began work as an E-911 call taker for the Institute
on June 13, 2007.
During her employment, Coleman, a female,
became pre-menopausal and experienced periods of uncontrollably
heavy menstrual bleeding.
The onset of heavy menstrual bleeding
Coleman kept feminine hygiene products with
her at work and discussed her situation with her supervisors.
accidently soiled an office chair.
Coleman was disciplined for
soiling the chair.
Additionally, Coleman’s supervisor and a
representative from human resources warned Coleman that if she
soiled company property again, she would be terminated. Coleman
took precautions to avoid a second accident.
Coleman cleaned the carpet, she was terminated for failing to
maintain high standards of personal hygiene.
Coleman does not attempt to make out a prima facie case of
sex discrimination under the usual burden-shifting framework.
Cf. McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 802 (1973)
Rather, she purports to allege facts that if
proven are direct evidence of sex discrimination.
Resp. to Def.’s Mot. to Dismiss 5, ECF No. 9.
The Court must
therefore determine whether terminating a female employee for
soiling company property on two occasions due to a uniquely
feminine condition constitutes sex discrimination under Title
As discussed below, the Court finds that it does not.
Title VII provides that an employer may not discharge or
42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1).
With regards to
uniquely feminine conditions, the Supreme Court originally held
that excluding pregnancy from otherwise comprehensive employee
benefits did not violate Title VII, as long as the employer
provided the same benefits to male and female employees.
Gen. Elec. Co. v. Gilbert, 429 U.S. 125, 145 (1976), superseded
by statute as recognized by Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock
The PDA amended Title VII to include the following
definition: “The terms ‘because of sex’ or ‘on the basis of sex’
include, but are not limited to, because of or on the basis of
pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions; . . . .”
42 U.S.C. § 2000e(k).
“The [PDA] makes clear that it is discriminatory to treat
pregnancy-related conditions less favorably than other medical
Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., 462 U.S.
And early Supreme Court precedent interpreting the PDA
id. at 676 (“[B]y enacting the Pregnancy
Discrimination Act, [Congress] not only overturned the specific
holding in General Electric v. Gilbert, supra, but also rejected
Thus, a non-frivolous argument can be made that it is
unlawful for an employer to treat a uniquely feminine condition,
treated less favorably than similar conditions affecting both
Rather, she argues that the fact that her termination
would not have occurred but for a uniquely feminine condition is
alone sufficient to show that she was terminated because of her
The Court disagrees.
Nothing in the text of Title VII, the PDA, or case law
interpreting these Acts supports such a broad interpretation of
Coleman appears to rely on EEOC v. Houston Funding II
Ltd., 717 F.3d 425 (5th Cir. 2013), a nonbinding Fifth Circuit
case that is distinguishable from the facts she alleges.
employer cannot terminate a female employee based on the fact
that she is lactating and wants to express breast milk at work.
medical condition of pregnancy for purposes of the PDA” and that
imposes upon women a burden that male employees need not—indeed,
Id. at 428.
Here, Coleman’s excessive menstruation was related to premenopause, not pregnancy or childbirth.
And Coleman was not
control the heavy menstruation and soiling herself and company
There is no allegation that male employees who soiled
themselves and company property due to a medical condition, such
as incontinence, would have been treated more favorably.
reasonably infer that she was terminated because she is female.
Institute’s motion to dismiss (ECF No. 6).
IT IS SO ORDERED, this 8th day of June, 2017.
S/Clay D. Land
CLAY D. LAND
CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
Disclaimer: Justia Dockets & Filings provides public litigation records from the federal appellate and district courts. These filings and docket sheets should not be considered findings of fact or liability, nor do they necessarily reflect the view of Justia.
Why Is My Information Online?