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Spears v. KMG Enterprises, Inc.

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Southern Division

January 7, 2019

DEANDRA SPEARS, Plaintiff,
v.
KMG ENTERPRISES, INC., Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          KARON OWEN BOWDRE, CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter comes before the court on Defendant KMG Enterprises, Inc.'s motion to dismiss Plaintiff Deandra Spears's amended complaint. (Doc. 9). In her amended complaint, Ms. Spears alleges that her supervisor directed racist remarks at her, insulted her for wearing a hijab, and instructed her to stop wearing her hijab. She asserts that KMG terminated her employment because of her race and in retaliation for complaining about her supervisor's behavior in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act and 42 U.S.C. § 1981.

         Ms. Spears has pled facts showing a patently offensive supervisor, but she has not pled facts showing a prima facie case of racial discrimination or retaliation under § 1981. Further, she failed to timely exhaust her administrative remedies before bringing her Title VII claim. For these reasons, and as further explained below, the court will GRANT KMG's motion to dismiss.

         I. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         A complaint must contain “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). If a complaint fails to comply with this rule, the court will dismiss the complaint on a defendant's Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.” To survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint must allege “enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). And for a complaint to be “plausible on its face, ” it must contain enough “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).

         When construing a complaint on a motion to dismiss, the court accepts as true the factual allegations in the complaint. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. But the court does not accept “labels and conclusions, ” a “formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action, ” speculation, or statements that “merely create[] a suspicion [of] a legally cognizable right of action.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (internal quotations and citations omitted). So, the court will look only at well-pled facts, and if those facts, accepted as true, state a plausible claim for relief, then the complaint will survive the motion to dismiss. Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.

         With these rules in mind, the court will present the facts of Ms. Spears's short-lived employment with KMG alleged in her amended complaint that the court accepts as true.

         II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         Ms. Spears began working as a server and hostess for KMG in Calhoun County, Alabama on May 28, 2017. Ms. Spears is African-American, “closely aligns herself with the Moorish Science Temple religious beliefs, ” and wears a hijab. (Doc. 8 at ¶ 3).

         Her co-worker regularly used the word “n****r” in the presence of her supervisors, and her supervisors never told that employee to stop. One of her supervisors, Linda, called Ms. Spears a terrorist, “Aunt Jemima, ” and “Kunta Kinte's sister.” Linda also referred to Ms. Spears's hijab as a rag, told her that she was “going straight to hell, ” and said that she “should live her life based on the Bible.” (Doc. 8 at ¶¶ 8-9).

         Ms. Spears complained to KMG's store manager about “being instructed by her supervisors not to wear the hijab.” The store manager asked about Ms. Spears's religious beliefs, and she responded that “she was a spiritual person but closely aligned herself with the Moorish Science Temple.” According to Ms. Spears, the Moorish Science Temple, “while quasi-spiritual in nature[, ] advocate[s] Black Empowerment, including but not limited to racial pride.” The store manager informed Ms. Spears that he was familiar with her beliefs and that she could wear her hijab. (Doc. 8 at ¶ 10).

         When Linda found out that the store manager would let Ms. Spears wear her hijab, Linda told Ms. Spears “you gonna get the hell out of here with your s***” and “[y]ou'll see when the next schedule comes out.” Linda scheduled Ms. Spears for substantially reduced hours on the next work schedule. (Doc. 8 at ¶ 10).

         Two weeks later, on June 22, 2017, a different supervisor, “Assistant Manager Mary, ” terminated Ms. Spears's employment. (Doc. 8 at ¶ 10).

         From these facts, Ms. Spears alleges that KMG terminated her because of her race and in retaliation for complaining about discrimination to the store manager in violation of Title VII and ...


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