United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
VIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
a civil action filed by the Plaintiff, Derek Raulerson,
against Elwood Staffing Services, Inc. (“Elwood”)
and New South Express, LLC. (“NSE”), his former
joint employers. (Doc. 6). The Plaintiff alleges that after
he complained about the Defendants' alleged
discrimination against his co-employees, the Defendants
retaliated against him in violation of Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e through
2000e-17 (“Title VII”).
case comes before the Court on the Defendants' Motion To
Dismiss, filed pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure, for failure to state a claim upon which
relief may be granted (the “Motion”). (Doc. 11).
For the reasons stated herein, the Motion will be
GRANTED, but the Plaintiff will be given
leave to amend.
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require only that the
complaint provide “a short and plain statement of the
claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). However, to survive a motion to dismiss
brought under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must “state a
claim to relief that is plausible on its face.”
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)
has facial plausibility “when the plaintiff pleads
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) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556)
(“Iqbal”). That is, the complaint must
include enough facts “to raise a right to relief above
the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at
555 (citation and footnote omitted). Pleadings that contain
nothing more than “a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action” do not meet Rule 8
standards, nor do pleadings suffice that are based merely
upon “labels or conclusions” or “naked
assertion[s]” without supporting factual allegations.
Id. at 555, 557 (citation omitted).
claim has been stated adequately, however, “it may be
supported by showing any set of facts consistent with the
allegations in the complaint.” Id. at 563
(citation omitted). Further, when ruling on a motion to
dismiss, a court must “take the factual allegations in
the complaint as true and construe them in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff.” Pielage v.
McConnell, 516 F.3d 1282, 1284 (11th Cir. 2008) (citing
Glover v. Liggett Group, Inc., 459 F.3d 1304, 1308
(11th Cir. 2006)).
FACTS ALLEGED IN THE COMPLAINT
Amended Complaint alleges:
8. Defendant Elwood . . . is in the business of supplying
staffing services to clients[, ] such as NSE[, ] on a
contract basis. Elwood places contingent workers in staffing
positions with client companies while employing numerous
contract employees to manage its staffing operations.
9. Defendant NSE . . . is in the business of operating a
logistics and distribution center that serves the Honda
manufacturing plant in Lincoln, Alabama (hereinafter
“Honda”). NSE contracted with Elwood to provide
temporary employees and other staffing services.
10. Derek Raulerson was a staffing services manager hired by
Elwood to work for Elwood and NSE. Derek began his employment
on or about July 28, 2014. Raulerson was a joint employee of
Elwood and NSE. Working on-site at NSE, Derek's job was
to hire and manage Elwood's temporary employees assigned
to work for NSE who, in turn, assigned those employees to
work at Honda. Derek's performance was supervised by both
Elwood and NSE employees.
11. Consistently throughout his employment with Elwood and
NSE, Derek was asked to hire or fire employees for
discriminatory reasons. On several occasions, Derek was told
to create working conditions for pregnant persons[, ]
[conditions which] were not required of others[, ] in an
attempt to force said persons to quit. Derek was also forced
to re-assign disabled persons who were otherwise fit to
perform the work at Honda simply due to the fact that NSE
didn't [sic] want to send “people like that”
12. Derek strenuously objected to NSE and Elwood's
demands and complained repeatedly of these discriminatory
practices to Elwood, NSE, and ultimately to Honda Logistics
of North America. Derek was told that an investigation was
undertaken by Honda, but he was never informed as to the
findings of any such investigation.
13. After Derek opposed and complained about the unlawful
discrimination taking place at Elwood and NSE, he was
retaliated against, harassed, and ultimately fired.
Derek's supervisor at Elwood told him that he was being
fired not because he did not perform his job well, but
because NSE did not approve of his complaints about [its]
discriminatory employment practices and “wanted him
gone.” Derek had never previously been disciplined by
Elwood or NSE; in fact, he had received only excellent
performance reviews during his employment with the Defendant
14. Derek communicated to Elwood that he was due a monetary
bonus earned from work he had performed prior to his
termination as well as a monetary sum for unused vacation
days per Elwood's customary practices for other
employees. The sum of both payments was approximately $4,
200. Derek has yet to receive payment for either amount due
in retaliation against his complaining about the
Defendants' unlawful discrimination.
(Doc. 6 at 2-4, ¶¶8-14).
One, the only count in the Amended Complaint, states that the
Plaintiff's retaliation claim is brought “pursuant
to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.” (Doc. 6
at 4, ¶16). The Amended Complaint alleges that the
Plaintiff “repeatedly complained of the said
discriminatory practices, ” and “[a]fter learning
of Plaintiff[']s report of discrimination to Honda, the
Defendants retaliated against, harassed, and ultimately fired
the Plaintiff.” (Doc. 6 at 4, ¶¶19, 20).
ALLEGATIONS IN THE EEOC CHARGES
September 23, 2016, the Plaintiff filed a Charge of
Discrimination against Elwood with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (the “EEOC”). (Doc. 11-1).
In that charge, the Plaintiff checked the box marked
“Retaliation, ” and stated:
I am a worker hired by the above named employer [on] July 28,
2014, as an onsite manager. I performed my job on a
satisfactory level. I submitted a complaint to New South
Express'[s] Vice-President of Operations after a disabled
candidate for employment was discriminated against by the Sr.
Human Resource Representative on February 11, 2016. In April
2016, the New South Express Vice-President of Operations
transferred out of his position. On June 9, 2016, I was
discharged and told the New South Express Sr. Human Resource
Representative no longer wanted me on the premises.
I believe I was retaliated against due to submitting a
complaint on behalf of a disabled candidate in violation of
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.
(Doc. 11-1 at 2). The charge is signed and verified by the
September 23, 2016, the Plaintiff filed a Charge of
Discrimination against NSE with the EEOC. (Doc. 11-2). In
that charge, the Plaintiff also checked the box marked
“Retaliation, ” and included the identical
factual statement from his other charge. That charge also is
signed and verified by the Plaintiff.
EEOC INTAKE QUESTIONNAIRE
he filed the charges set out above, the Plaintiff completed
an “Intake Questionnaire” with the EEOC. (Doc.
16-2). In that document the Plaintiff checked the box for
“Retaliation, ” and stated that he believed that
he was discriminated against when, on June 9, 2016, he was
discharged. (Doc. 16-2 at 3). The Plaintiff listed Stephanie
Burton as a witness to his retaliation and wrote that
“[s]he can confirm I was retaliated against for
reporting a potential EEOC and OSHA claim against
Elwood's client NSE.” (Doc. 16-2 at 5). The
Plaintiff also listed Alan Balmer as a witness to the
retaliation against him and wrote that he “can confirm
NSE Senior Manager's displeasure with me reporting the
EEOC charge.” (Doc. 16-2 at 5).
statement attached to the questionnaire, the Plaintiff wrote:
I was a staffing services manager for Elwood Staffing
(Elwood). I was assigned at New South Express (NSE) and my
job was to hire employees through Elwood that worked for NSE.
Elwood and NSE were my joint employers. I was supervised by
both Elwood and NSE employees. NSE directed the hiring and
firing of Elwood employees assigned at NSE. NSE is the
logistics arm for Honda Manufacturing of Alabama. So, my job
involved hiring employees who worked for NSE at Honda
Manufacturing in Lincoln, AL.
Consistently and pervasively during my employment I was asked
to hire or fire employees for discriminatory reasons. I was
told to create working conditions for pregnant persons[, ]
[which] were not required of others[, ] in an attempt to
force them to quit. I was forced to re-assign disabled
persons who were otherwise fit to perform the work at Honda
Manufacturing just because NSE didn't [sic] want to send
“people like that” to Honda. I complained
repeatedly to Elwood, NSE[, ] and ultimately to Honda
Logistics of North America. In February 2016[, ] I lodged a