United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division
DAVID PROCTOR, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
matter is before the court on Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss. (Doc. # 22). Defendant argues Plaintiff's claims
should be dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6).
After careful consideration, the court agrees with Defendant,
but only with respect to two of Plaintiff's claims. Thus,
as more fully explained below, Defendant's Motion to
Dismiss is due to be granted in part and denied in part.
Factual and Procedural Background
Pamela Stubbs is an African American female employed by
Defendant Compass Bank. (Docs. # 21 at ¶¶ 2-4, 14).
In this action, she asserts claims of sex discrimination,
retaliation, and hostile work environment under Title VII of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”)
against Compass Bank. (Id. at ¶¶ 1, 4-15).
hired Plaintiff in or about August 2007, and she remains a
current employee of Compass. (Doc. # 21 at ¶ 4).
support of her sex discrimination claim, Plaintiff alleges
that she was treated differently and dealt with more harshly
than one of her male coworkers. (Id. at ¶ 5).
The incident began when Plaintiff became sick and took a few
days off work. (Id.). Plaintiff claims that, at the
request of her manager, Kelly Ellis, she immediately started
receiving harassing calls from HR. (Id.). Upon her
return, Plaintiff asserts she was “pulled into meetings
with Team Lead Judy Jones and Manager Kelly Ellis concerning
her attendance when she only had three occurrences.”
(Id.). By contrast, Plaintiff contends that a male
coworker, Keitric Wiley, “was only given a verbal
warning after his fifth occurrence.” (Id.).
also alleges that Compass failed to pay her on one occasion
because Ellis intentionally failed to submit her hours.
(Id. at ¶ 6). Again, by contrast, she claims
that a couple weeks later, Ellis told Wiley (Plaintiff's
male coworker) to adjust his entries on the system and that
she would approve his hours to ensure he was paid on time.
also claims Compass retaliated against her in violation of
Title VII. She alleges she complained to Kristen Metty that
Ellis was making it difficult for her to meet department
goals by assigning more difficult cases to her. (Id.
at ¶ 8). Plaintiff also claims she complained about
Ellis walking up behind her and firmly placing a hand on her
shoulder. (Id. at ¶ 8). Plaintiff requested
that Ellis stop this behavior and stated that she did not
want Ellis touching her. (Id.). Subsequently,
Plaintiff claims Ellis wrote negative statements in her
evaluations (even though her Team Lead, Judy Jones, told
Plaintiff there were no issues with her work). (Id.
at ¶ 9). Plaintiff also claims she was accused of
constantly falling below expected monthly production goals.
(Id. at ¶ 10).
Plaintiff asserts a hostile work environment claim against
Compass. In support of that claim, she alleges that for
several months her coworker, Jacqueline Ligon, defamed her
character by spreading rumors throughout the department that
she (Plaintiff) had a sexually transmitted disease.
(Id. at ¶ 14). Plaintiff also contends Ligon
made offensive comments about her hair, clothing, and
cleanliness. (Id.). Though Plaintiff claims
Ligon's behavior was reported to HR and Compass's
company handbook states that this type of behavior will not
be tolerated, Plaintiff asserts that Ligon is still employed
by Compass and continuing the same behavior. (Id.).
Additionally, Plaintiff claims she overheard a coworker say
that Ellis planned to fire her when she returned from
vacation after Christmas. (Id. at ¶ 15).
filed this action on April 27, 2018, after she received her
right to sue letter from the EEOC. (Doc. # 1). Compass
responded by filing a motion to dismiss or, in the
alternative, a motion for a more definite statement. (Doc. #
15). The court denied the motion to dismiss but granted the
motion for a more definite statement and ordered Plaintiff to
file an Amended Complaint. (Doc. # 16). Plaintiff filed an
Amended Complaint (Doc. # 21), and Compass has now moved to
dismiss the Amended Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim (Doc. #
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that a complaint
provide “a short and plain statement of the claim
showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The complaint must include enough facts
“to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007). Pleadings that contain nothing more than
“a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action” do not satisfy Rule 8, and neither do pleadings
that are based merely upon “labels and
conclusions” or “naked assertion[s]”
without supporting factual allegations. Id. at 555,
557. In deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, courts
view the allegations in the complaint in the light most
favorable to the nonmoving party. Watts v. Fla.
International Univ., 495 F.3d 1289, 1295 (11th Cir.
considering a motion to dismiss, a court should “1)
eliminate any allegations in the complaint that are merely
legal conclusions; and 2) where there are well-pleaded
factual allegations, ‘assume their veracity and then
determine whether they plausibly give rise to an entitlement
to relief.'” Kivisto v. Miller, Canfield,
Paddock & Stone, PLC, 413 Fed.Appx. 136, 138 (11th
Cir. 2011) (quoting Am. Dental Assn. v. Cigna Corp.,
605 F.3d 1283, 1290 (11th Cir. 2010)). That task is context
specific, and to survive the motion, the allegations must
permit the court, based on its “judicial experience and
common sense . . . to infer more than the mere possibility of
misconduct.” Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 679. If the
court determines that well-pleaded facts, accepted as true,
do not state a claim that is plausible, the claims must be
dismissed. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570.
argues all three of Plaintiff's claims should be
dismissed for failure to state a claim upon which relief can
be granted. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). The court
agrees with respect to Plaintiff's sex discrimination and
retaliation claims. However, with respect to her hostile work
environment claim, the court ...