United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
OWEN BOWDRE CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
Ronald Baker sues Defendant Nucor Steel Birmingham, Inc.,
raising claims of (1) race discrimination and retaliation, in
violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, 42
U.S.C. § 2OOOe et seq.; and (2) race
discrimination, in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1981. (Doc.
1). He seeks a declaratory judgment, an injunction enjoining
Nucor from engaging in race discrimination, and monetary
damages. (Id. at 10-11). This case is before the
court on Nucor's motion to dismiss the complaint or,
alternatively, motion for more definite statement. (Doc. 3).
Nucor contends that Mr. Baker failed to exhaust his
administrative remedies for several of his claim, that he
failed to state a claim, and that the statute of limitations
bars parts of his claims.
court WILL DENY Nucor's motion to dismiss the complaint
or, alternatively, for a more definite statement. The court
WILL NOT DISMISS Mr. Baker's Title VII claim of
retaliation, contained in Count One, because he exhausted his
administrative remedies for that claim. The court WILL NOT
DISMISS any of Mr. Baker's other claims because the
complaint states a claim for race discrimination and Mr.
Baker is not required to plead facts refuting Nucor's
statute of limitations defense.
motion to dismiss stage, the court must accept as true the
allegations in the complaint and construe them in the light
most favorable to the plaintiff. Butler v. Sheriff of
Palm Beach Cty., 685 F.3d 1261, 1265 (11th Cir. 2012)
(quoting Bell Ail. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544,
555 (2007)). But the court may also consider documents
attached to a motion to dismiss if they are central to the
complaint and the plaintiff does not challenge their
authenticity. Harris v. Ivax Corp., 182 F.3d 799,
802 n.2 (11th Cir. 1999). In this case, Nucor attached the
charge of discrimination that Mr. Baker filed with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), and Mr.
Baker does not dispute the authenticity of that document, so
the court will consider it in ruling on this motion to
Baker is an African American man who began working for Nucor
on July 9, 2012. At that time, Nucor assigned him to the Melt
Shop department at pay grade two. Mr. Baker does not state
what position he now occupies within that
department.He does state that, at an unspecified time,
Nucor also hired an unnamed Caucasian man "with similar
or less experience, skill and/or qualification" at pay
grade five, and within a year, Nucor promoted that man to a
Shift Mechanic position at pay grade eight. Both grade five
and grade eight pay more than pay grade two. Besides that
unnamed man, Mr. Baker alleges that Nucor has hired other
unidentified but similarly situated Caucasian employees at
higher positions than him, and that Nucor has promoted those
employees over him. He further alleges that Nucor provides
Caucasian employees performing the same tasks as him training
and mentoring that it did not provide to him, and that Nucor
holds him to a higher standard than it holds his Caucasian
coworkers. (Doc. 1 at 2, 4, 5-6).
Mr. Baker alleges that Nucor micromanages him; harasses him;
disciplines him disproportionately; requires testing for pay
raises from him that it does not require from similarly
situated Caucasian employees; requires him and other African
American employees to account for their work in a way
Caucasian employees are not required to do; assigns him an
unequal share of less desirable job duties, including
physically demanding jobs; and assigns him undesirable night
shifts. (Doc. 1 at 6-7).
March 28, 2016, Mr. Baker filed a charge of discrimination
with the EEOC. (Doc. 3-2). The form asks for the complainant
to identify whether the discrimination is based on, among
other things, race, color, and retaliation. Mr. Baker checked
the boxes for race and color, but did not check the box for
retaliation. In the narrative, Mr. Baker stated that Nucor
discriminated against him by disproportionately assigning him
undesirable tasks and shifts; failing to promote him; and
requiring skill testing from him that the company did not
require from Caucasian employees.
Baker alleges that, after he filed his charge with
the EEOC, his supervisors have "constantly . . . watched
and nitpicked" him. And as a result of the heightened
scrutiny, he has received disciplinary write-ups that
similarly situated Caucasian coworkers have not received in
similar situations. (Doc. 1 at 7-8).
August 6, 2017, the EEOC issued Mr. Baker a notice of right
to sue. (Doc. 1-1). Mr. Baker filed this lawsuit on November
3, 2017. (Doc. 1).
contends that Mr. Baker failed to exhaust his administrative
remedies as to some of his claims; that the complaint fails
to state a claim because it is conclusory and vague; and that
the statute of limitations bars parts of Mr. Baker's
claims. (Doc. 3).
contends that Plaintiff failed to administratively exhaust
his Title VII claims of harassment and retaliation by filing
a charge with the EEOC that raised those claims. (Doc. 3 at
15-17). Mr. Baker responds that his EEOC charge did not
complain of retaliation because Nucor had not yet retaliated
against him when he filed it. (Doc. 7 at 20). He does not