Williams v. True Manufacturing Co., Inc.
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER - IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendants Motion to Dismiss, [Doc. No. 23 ], is GRANTED. IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this matter is dismissed. Signed by District Judge Henry Edward Autrey on 7/28/15. (KJS)
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
EASTERN DISTRICT OF MISSOURI
Case No.: 14CV1609 HEA
OPINION, MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
This matter is before the Court on Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's
Amended Complaint, [Doc. No. 23]. Plaintiff opposes the motion. For the reasons
set forth below, the Motion is granted.
Plaintiff filed suit against his former employer alleging that he was
discriminated against based on his sex by assigning the most physically and
mentally challenging tasks exclusively to male employees. Plaintiff also claims
discrimination based on sex with respect to promotions, in violation of Title VII of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq., and the Missouri Human
Rights Act (“MHRA”), Mo.Rev.Stat. §§ 213.010, et seq. Defendant moves to
dismiss Plaintiff's discrimination claims as they have not been administratively
Facts and Background
Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint alleges the following:
Plaintiff was employed by Defendant for 17 years as a general laborer. He
resigned as employee of Defendant on June 16, 2014. According to Plaintiff,
Defendant would routinely assign the most physically and mentally demanding
tasks to male employees. Defendant refused to promote Plaintiff despite his
knowledge and would promote individuals less knowledgeable and often females.
Plaintiff timely filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission and received a Notice of Right to Sue letter from the
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant’s treatment of him constituted unlawful
employment practices in violation of 42 U.S.C. 2000e et seq. (Count I) and Section
213.055 R.S.Mo. (Count II).
In its motion to dismiss, Defendant argues that Plaintiff's Amended
Complaint should be dismissed pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(1) for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction and, alternatively, pursuant to
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted.
Defendant urges dismissal of Plaintiff’s failure to promote and constructive
discharge claims because Plaintiff has failed to exhaust his administrative aspects
under both the MHRA and Title VII, by failing to include these claims in his
charges of discrimination with the MCHR and EEOC.
With respect to his allegations in Counts II, Plaintiff argues that his
complaint is adequate. Plaintiff does not respond to Defendant’s arguments
regarding Count I, Title VII, rather, he focuses solely on his Missouri MHRA
Motion to Dismiss Standard
A motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction, pursuant to Rule
12(b)(1), may challenge the plaintiff's complaint either on its face or on the factual
truthfulness of its averments. See Titus v. Sullivan, 4 F.3d 590, 593 (8th Cir.1993);
Osborn v. United States, 918 F.2d 724, 729 n. 6 (8th Cir.1990). In a facial
challenge to jurisdiction, the court affords the non-moving party the same
protections that it would receive under a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss. See
Osborn, 918 F.2d at 729 n. 6. In both types of motions, the court presumes that all
of the factual allegations in the complaint are true and will not dismiss the claims
unless the plaintiff fails to allege an essential element to establish subject matter
jurisdiction or fails to state a claim for relief that is “plausible” on its face. See
Titus, 4 F.3d at 593 (discussing 12(b)(1) standard); Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662,
678 (2009) (discussing 12(b)(6) standard).
When considering a motion regarding the sufficiency of the pleadings, such
as this one, “the court generally must ignore materials outside the pleadings, but it
may consider some materials that are part of the public record or do not contradict
the complaint, as well as materials that are necessarily embraced by the pleadings.”
Faibisch v. Univ. of Minn., 304 F.3d 797, 802 (8th Cir.2002) (finding that motion
for judgment on the pleadings was not converted to summary judgment by
attachment of a copy of the EEOC charge, which was part of public record). As
Plaintiff specifically referenced the written complaint of discrimination he filed
with the MCHR and the EEOC in his compliant in this Court, and both parties
have cited to and attached Plaintiff's administrative charges and right-to-sue
notices, the Court will consider these materials in resolving the motion to dismiss.
Title VII Failure to Promote and Constructive Discharge Claims (Count I)
A plaintiff alleging discrimination under Title VII must exhaust
administrative remedies before filing in federal court. Wilkie v. Dep't of Health &
Human Servs., 638 F.3d 944, 949 (8th Cir.2011). Exhaustion of administrative
remedies under Title VII requires a claimant to give notice of all claims of
discrimination in the initial administrative charge. Stuart v. General Motors Corp.,
217 F.3d 621, 630–31 (8th Cir.2000); see also Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534
U.S. 506, 513–15 (2002) (holding that to state claim under Title VII, a plaintiff
must provide fair notice of the claim and the grounds upon which it rests).
While the Eighth Circuit has stated that a subsequently filed lawsuit need not
mirror the administrative charges, the complaint can only sweep as broad as the
scope of the EEOC investigation which could reasonably be expected to grow out
of the charge filed. Wedow v. City of Kansas City, Mo., 442 F.3d 661, 674 (8th
Cir.2006); see also, Nichols v. Am. Nat'l Ins. Co., 154 F.3d 875, 886–87 (8th
Cir.1998) (“In determining whether an alleged discriminatory act falls within the
scope of a Title VII claim, the administrative complaint must be construed liberally
in order not to frustrate the remedial purposes of Title VII, and the plaintiff may
seek relief for any discrimination that grows out of or is like or reasonably related
to the substance of the allegations in the administrative charge.”); Williams v. Little
Rock Mun. Water Works, 21 F.3d 218, 222 (8th Cir.1994) (“A plaintiff will be
deemed to have exhausted administrative remedies as to allegations contained in a
judicial complaint that are like or reasonably related to the substance of charges
timely brought before the EEOC.”). Although the charge “need not specifically
articulate the precise claim or set forth all the evidence an employee may choose to
later present in court,” it must “be sufficient to give the employer notice of the
subject matter of the charge and identify generally the basis for a claim.” Fair v.
Norris, 480 F.3d 865, 867 (8th Cir. 2007); Wallace v. DTG Operations, Inc., 442
F.3d 1112, 1123 (8th Cir. 2006). See also Bissada v. Arkansas Children's
Hosp., 639 F.3d 825, 830 (8th Cir. 2011) (“The exhaustion requirement may be
satisfied if the civil claim grows out of or is like or reasonably related to the
substance of the allegations in the administrative charge, but the civil suit can be
only as broad as the scope of any investigation that reasonably could have been
expected to result from the initial charge of discrimination,” quoting Fanning v.
Potter, 614 F.3d 845, 851–52 (8th Cir. 2010)). The information contained in
an EEOC charge must be sufficient to put the employer on notice of the subject
matter of the charge and identify the basis for the employee’s claim. See Wallace v.
DTG Operations, Inc., 442 F.3d 1112, 1123 (8th Cir. 2006) (abrogated on other
To determine whether the allegations of a complaint are reasonably related
to claims of discrimination in an administrative charge, courts customarily look to
the substance of the administrative charge. Plaintiff’s Charge of Discrimination
. . . As today’s date female employees with the same job title, receiving the
same pay are not required to perform the aforementioned tasks. The
Respondent has consistently assigned work on the basis of gender. Male
employees are required to perform all of the physically de manding tasks. I
have complained to my direct Supervisor . . . and Assistant Supervisor . . .
about the discriminatory terms & conditions and assignment of work with no
result. I complained to HR but they simply denied the facts without any
investigation . . .
All male employees of the Respondent working as Factory Labor to
include myself have been discriminated against on the basis of gender in
violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as amended.
Here, Plaintiff's sex discrimination in the work place would not give
Defendant notice that he is also complaining that he was not promoted nor that
he found these conditions so egregious that he could no longer work in this
environment and was therefore constructively discharged. The claims of failure
to promote and constructive discharge are not reasonably related to Plaintiff’s
claim that males were given more physically and mentally difficult tasks.
In sum, considering the specific facts of this case, the Court concludes that
the absence of an explicit reference to the failure to promote and constructive
discharge have failed to be brought in Plaintiff’s EEOC charge, and must therefore
be dismissed for failure to exhaust administrative remedies prior to bringing suit.
Discriminatory Job Assignments
Plaintiff complains that “male employees” were assigned more physically
and mentally challenging assignments. This claim, however, fails to set out the
requirement of an adverse employment disadvantage. An adverse employment
action is “‘a tangible change in working conditions that produces a material
employment disadvantage.’” Wedow, 442 F.3d at 671) (quoting Sallis v. Univ. of
Minn., 408 F.3d 470, 476 (8th Cir.2005)); accord Holland, 487 F.3d 641, 644–45,
2007 WL 1518481, at *2; Higgins, 481 F.3d at 584; Reynolds v. Ethicon–Endo–
Surgery, Inc., 454 F.3d 868, 872 (8th Cir.2006); Cruzan v. Special Sch. Dist. # 1;
294 F.3d 981, 984 (8th Cir.2002); Cooney v. Union P. R.R. Co., 258 F.3d 731, 734
(8th Cir.2001); Spears v. Mo. Dep't of Corrs. & Human Res., 210 F.3d 850, 853
(8th Cir.2000); see also Enowmbitang v. Seagate Tech., Inc., 148 F.3d 970, 973
(8th Cir.1998) (requiring conduct to “materially alter[ ] the terms or conditions of
the plaintiff's employment” to constitute an adverse employment action);
Ledergerber v. Stangler, 122 F.3d 1142, 1144–45 (8th Cir.1997) (same). Some
employment actions, such as “ ‘changes in the terms, duties, or working conditions
that cause no materially significant disadvantage to the employee ... or
disappointment with changes in one's employment situation,’ ” are simply not
adverse. Saulsberry v. St. Mary's Univ. of Minn., 318 F.3d 862, 868 (8th Cir.2003)
(quoting Sowell v. Alumina Ceramics, Inc., 251 F.3d 678, 684 (8th Cir.2001)); see
also Higgins, 481 F.3d at 584 (“Minor changes in duties or working conditions,
even unpalatable or unwelcome ones, which cause no materially significant
disadvantage do not satisfy this prong.”). Even if an employee is forced to change
positions, resulting in an “ ‘alteration of job responsibilities,’ ” the employee must
still show a significant change in employment status. Box v. Principi, 442 F.3d
692, 696 (8th Cir.2006) (quoting Wenzel v. Missouri–American Water Co., 404
F.3d 1038, 1042 (8th Cir.2005)); see Ledbetter v. Alltel Corporate Servs., Inc., 437
F.3d 717, 724 (8th Cir.2006) (adverse employment actions “include[ ] decisions
such as failing to promote, or reassigning an employee to a position with
significantly different responsibilities”). In contrast, examples of material
employment disadvantages include “ ‘ “[t]ermination, reduction in pay or benefits,
and changes in employment that significantly affect an employee's future career
prospects.” ’ ” Okruhlik v. Univ. of Ark., 395 F.3d 872, 879 (8th Cir.2005) (quoting
Duncan v. Delta Consol. Indus., 371 F.3d 1020, 1026 (8th Cir.2004), in turn
quoting Spears, 210 F.3d at 853); accord Box, 442 F.3d at 696; Sallis, 408 F.3d at
476; Cooney, 258 F.3d at 734; LaCroix, 240 F.3d at 691; Spears, 210 F.3d at 853;
Kerns v. Capital Graphics, Inc., 178 F.3d 1011, 1016–17 (8th Cir.1999). A “
‘[m]ere inconvenience without any decrease in title, salary, or benefits' or that
results in minor changes in working conditions does not meet this standard.”
Wedow, 442 F.3d at 671 (quoting Sallis, 408 F.3d at 476); accord Cruzan, 294
F.3d at 984; see also Powell v. Yellow Book USA, Inc., 445 F.3d 1074, 1079 (8th
Cir.2006) (noting that “[n]ot every setback amounts to an adverse employment
action: instead, an action must give rise to ‘a material employment disadvantage’
that reflects a ‘tangible change in duties or working conditions' ”) (quoting Baucom
v. Holiday Cos., 428 F.3d 764, 767 (8th Cir.2005)). Plaintiff simply doe s not state
any averse employment action, rather, he merely states that the male employees are
given more physically and mentally difficult job assignments. This alone does not
satisfy the adverse employment requirement for stating a cause of action for
discrimination based on sex.
Missouri Human Rights Claim
In order to exhaust administrative remedies under the MHRA,
a claimant must give notice of all claims of discrimination in the
administrative complaint. Alhalabi v. Missouri Dep't of Natural Resources, 300
S.W.3d 518, 525 (Mo.App.E.D.2009). “[A]dministrative complaints are
interpreted liberally in an effort to further the remedial purposes of legislation
that prohibits unlawful employment practices.” Id. “As a result, administrative
remedies are deemed exhausted as to all incidents of discrimination that are
likely or reasonably related to the allegations of the administrative charge.” Id.
“Further, the scope of the civil suit may be as broad as the scope of the
administrative investigation which could reasonably be expected to grow out of
the charge of discrimination.” Id.
Farrow v. Saint Francis Medical Center, 407 S.W.3d 579, 594 (Mo. 2013). This
standard is the same as that required under Title VII, and as discussed, supra,
Plaintiff’s Amended Complaint fails to set forth that he exhausted his
administrative procedures with respect to his failure to promote and his
constructive discharge claims. As such, Count II must be dismissed with regard to
Moreover, Plaintiff contends that the pleading standards of Missouri apply
herein. Because Plaintiff has filed this action in this Court, the Federal Rules of
Civil Procedure apply. See Karnatcheva v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., 704 F.3d
545, 548 (8th Cir. 2013) (federal district court applies federal pleading standards to
state substantive law to determine if a complaint makes out a claim under state
law). Plaintiff’s discrimination claim in Count II fails for the reasons that Count I
failed; Plaintiff fails to allege any adverse employment actions in his Amended
For the reasons set forth above, Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff’s
Amended Complaint is well taken.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss, [Doc. No.
23], is GRANTED.
IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that this matter is dismissed.
Dated this 28th day of July, 2015.
HENRY EDWARD AUTREY
UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
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?