Moore v. East Georgia Regional Medical Center et al
ORDER Directing Service re 1 Complaint filed by Stephanie D Moore. Signed by Magistrate Judge G. R. Smith on 11/17/17. (Attachments: # 1 USM 285) (jrb)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
EAST GEORGIA REGIONAL
MEDICAL CENTER, et al.,
Scott L. Poff, Clerk
United States District Court
By James Burrell at 4:20 pm, Nov 17, 2017
Proceeding pro se and in forma pauperis, plaintiff Stephanie Moore
brings this complaint for employment discrimination under the
Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(k), alleging
defendant failed to accommodate her light-duty request. Doc. 1 at 1.
The Court now screens her Complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915.1
The Civil Rights Act prohibits an employer from refusing to hire,
discharging, or otherwise discriminating against any individual “because
In cases like this one where the plaintiff is proceeding in forma pauperis, doc. 4,
the Court must screen each case, and dismiss it if either the allegation of poverty is
untrue or the action is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief
may be granted, or seeks monetary relief against a defendant who is immune from
such relief. 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex or national origin.”
42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a) (1994). In 1978, Congress passed the Pregnancy
Discrimination Act (“PDA”) to clarify that discrimination “because of
sex” or “on the basis of sex” includes discrimination because of or on the
basis of pregnancy. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(k). This means that “women
affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions shall be
treated the same for all employment-related purposes, including receipt
of benefits under fringe benefit programs, as other persons not so
affected but similar in their ability or inability to do work . . . .” Id.
To establish a prima facie case of pregnancy discrimination, a
plaintiff must show that: (1) she is a member of a protected class; (2) she
was qualified for the job; (3) she suffered an adverse employment action;
and (4) she suffered from differential application of work or disciplinary
rules. Armstrong v. Flowers Hospital, Inc., 33 F.3d 1308, 1314 (11th
Cir.1994), cited in Sermons v. Fleetwood Homes of Georgia, 227 F. Supp.
2d 1368, 1375 (S.D. Ga. 2002).
Here, Moore contends that she was
qualified (a Certified Nursing Assistant cross-trained to perform clerical
functions), a member of a protected class (pregnant), suffered an adverse
employment action (her request for reassignment to light-duty work2 to
accommodate her pregnancy was denied and she was forced to resign 3),
Moore explains that
[Her] job assignment included the care of debilitating, disable, and total care
patients that required frequent lifting, turning, pushing, and pulling patients
for toileting and bowel programs, care of bed sores and standard protocols for
prevention of bed sores by position of bed bound patients every two hours
during a twelve hour shift. Plaintiff’s job also required prolonged standing
during most of her shift. Plaintiff’s job required her to work twelve-hour
shifts for three to four days a week. In an email to her supervisor, Stacey
Hammock, dated November 16, 2015, the Plaintiff requested light duty and
reasonable accommodations because of her pregnancy [ ]. The Plaintiff
requested to work “as needed” (PRN) or be reassigned to a clerical position
that she had been cross-trained to do. Respondent denied her request for
“light duty” on November 18, 2015[,] through text correspondence [ ].
Repeatedly, the Plaintiff requested “light duty” because of her temporarily
disabling condition. On December 24, 2015, the Plaintiff’s physician, Dr.
Raphael Jordan provided the Plaintiff with a “pregnancy work guideline”
order [ ]. The guidelines restricted the Plaintiff from prolonged standing,
heavy lifting greater than twenty pounds, and restricted her to an 8-hour
workday. On December 28, 2015, the Plaintiff submitted her physician
pregnancy work guideline orders to the Respondent [ ]. Later that same day,
the Plaintiff’s supervisor acknowledged receipt of those guidelines by sending
her a text message that stated that the Respondent had refused her request for
accommodations[.] . . . Subsequently, on January 13, 2016, the Plaintiff’s
supervisor then forced the Plaintiff off of the shift schedule via text message
and stated that she would no longer allow her to work until she was able to
work twelve hour shifts [ ]. On January 21, 2016, after learning that the
Respondent had not complied with his December 28, 2015, pregan[cy] work
guideline, Plaintiff’s doctor faxed to Respondent a second light duty order,
[stating]: “Stephanie is not able to work a Twelve (12) hour shift. Due to
ongoing problems with lower back pain and lower abdominal/pain, she has
been advised against any pushing/pulling type of duties. I have advised
Stephanie to begin maternity leave of absence from her normal work duties as
of 01/21/2016” [ ].
Based on the Respondent’s actions of not accommodating her with light duty
work and then removing her from the work schedule while she was pregnant,
Plaintiff having no confidence that the Respondent would accommodate her
and that it was done so solely on the basis of her pregnancy. Doc. 1 at 35.
That is enough, at this stage, to warrant a response from the
Accordingly, Stephanie Moore’s pregnancy discrimination is
greenlit for service. The Clerk is DIRECTED to forward a copy of this
Order along with Moore’s Complaint to the Marshal for service upon
defendant East Georgia Regional Medical Center.
while she was recovering from childbirth, the Plaintiff was forced to resign on
April 12, 2016.
Doc. 1 at 3-4.
“A constructive discharge occurs when a discriminatory employer imposes working
conditions that are so intolerable that a reasonable person in [the employee’s]
position would have been compelled to resign.” Fitz v. Pugmire Lincoln-Mercury,
Inc., 348 F.3d 974, 977 (11th Cir. 2003).
Moore has attached her right-to-sue notice from the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission, and adequately demonstrated at this stage that her
Complaint is timely filed. See doc. 1 at 33 (dated May 19, 2017). “For an EEOC
charge to be timely[,] . . . [it] must be filed within 180 days of when the alleged
violation occurred. 42 U.S.C. 200e-5(e)(1); Wilkerson [v. Grinnell Corp.] 270 F.3d
[1314,] . . . 1317 [(11th Cir. 2001)]. Once the EEOC dismisses the charge and notifies
the plaintiff of her right to sue, the plaintiff has 90 days in which to file suit on her
claims in district court. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1); Santini v. Cleveland Clinic
Florida, 232 F.3d 823, 825 (11th Cir. 2000).” Abram v. Fulton Cty. Gov’t, 598 F.
App’x 672, 674 (11th Cir. 2015). In addition to timely filing the charge, a prospective
Title VII plaintiff must exhaust her available administrative remedies, specifically by
filing a complaint with the EEOC so that the EEOC can complete a full investigation
before he comes to Court. See, e.g., Burnett v. City of Jacksonville, Fla., 376 F. App’x
905, 906 (11th Cir. 2010). This Court has noted that there is disagreement among
jurists about whether timeliness and exhaustion are pleading requirements. See
Dawkins v. J.C. Lewis Primary Health Care, 2015 WL 1607989 at * 2 (S.D. Ga. April
8, 2015) (citing Luckey v. Visalia Unified Sch. Dist., 2014 WL 730699 at * 2 (E.D. Cal.
Feb. 24, 2014)). Regardless, Moore filed her Complaint on August 17, 2017, within 90
of the EEOC’s right-to-sue notice.
SO ORDERED, this 17th
day of November, 2017.
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