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Brown v. OOGP

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

October 18, 2018

OOGP, et al., Defendants.



         This matter is before the court on Defendant Express Employment Professionals' [1] (“Express”) motion to dismiss the second amended complaint (doc. 16), and Defendant OOGP, Inc.'s motion to partially dismiss the second amended complaint (doc. 17).

         In her second amended complaint, Plaintiff Reshundra Brown asserts that Express and OOGP engaged in race, color, national origin, and sex discrimination, retaliated against her, and provided a hostile work environment, all in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. The court GRANTS Express' motion to dismiss and DISMISSES all claims against Express because Ms. Brown failed to allege any facts indicating that Express engaged in discrimination, retaliated against her, or provided a hostile work environment. The court GRANTS OOGP's motion to partially dismiss the second amended complaint and DISMISSES all claims against OOGP except the claims that it engaged in sex discrimination, provided a hostile work environment, and retaliated against her for complaining about the sex discrimination and a hostile work environment.

         I. BACKGROUND

         At this stage, the court must accept as true the factual 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). Taken in that light, Ms. Brown, a black female, alleges that Express and OOGP employed her from August 10, 2015, until November 24, 2015. [2] (Doc. 15 at 2, 6). Express was the “recruiter and hiring partner of temporary employees” for OOGP. (Id. at 2). Once temporary employees have completed 500 hours of work, Express and OOGP “hir[e] the temporary workers . . . as permanent fulltime employees with OOGP.” (Id. at 8).

         While Ms. Brown was working for Express and OOGP, Jeff Birk was OOGP's Director of Operations and Brandon Cook was her supervisor. (Id. at 5). A man named Brian, whose last name Ms. Brown does not give, was the assistant manager. (Id. at 5-6). OOGP also employed several other people, most of whom Ms. Brown identifies only by first name: Kandy Jenkins, Christian (or Kristen), Shannon, Mia, and Zach. (Id. at 5-6). Finally, Express' staffing manager was Steve Wakefield. (Id. at 5).

         In late October and early November, Ms. Brown complained to Mr. Birk (OOGP's Director of Operations) and to a 1-800 “Ethics line” about “the hostile nature of the workplace and the open sexual relationships and inappropriate sexual conversations in her presence between managers and other coworkers and the favoritism shown to those who participated in these inappropriate relationships over Brown who did not.” (Id. at 5, 7-8).

         Mr. Birk visited the OOGP facility on November 17 and 18, 2017, but failed to take any action about Ms. Brown's complaints and told her to make all future complaints to the “Ethics line.” (Id. at 8). After Mr. Birk left on November 18, Kandy, Brian, and Mr. Cook confronted Ms. Brown about her complaints to Mr. Birk. (Id. at 9). Mr. Cook threatened to “make [Ms. Brown]'s life a living hell, ” and Christian/Kristen physically threatened Ms. Brown. (Id. at 10).

         After that meeting, Kandy ordered Ms. Brown to stop using her phone at work even though other employees were allowed to use their phones. (Id. at 7, 9). In addition, two white coworkers, Christian/Kristen and Zach, were suspected of using marijuana but no one took any action against them. (Id. at 11).

         Around November 23, Mr. Cook told Ms. Brown that she had completed her 500 hours of work and “he was ready to hire her fulltime with OOGP.” (Id. at 8). But he also told her that because she had complained “about harassment and sexual harassment, ” he was considering firing her and hiring someone else. (Id. at 8-9). The next morning, as she was on her way to work, Express' staffing manager, Mr. Wakefield, called her and let her know that she had been terminated. (Id. at 8).

         In February 2016, Ms. Brown filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). [3] (Doc. 1-1). Her charge identifies her employer as OOGP and checks the boxes for race, color, sex, and national origin discrimination, and for retaliation. (Id. at 1). Her description states that OOGP hired her “after referral by Express Employment Professionals, ” and that OOGP terminated her because of her complaints about sexual conduct and harassment. (Id. at 1-2).

         After the EEOC issued her a notice of right to sue, (doc. 1-2), Ms. Brown filed this lawsuit, (doc. 1). In her second amended complaint, Ms. Brown asserts the following claims under Title VII: (1) racial/color/national origin discrimination (“Count One”); (2) sex discrimination (“Count Two”); (3) reprisal and retaliation (“Count Three”); (4) hostile work environment (“Count Four”). (Doc. 15 at 12- 23).


         Express moves to dismiss all claims against it, (doc. 16), and OOGP moves to dismiss all claims except the claims of sex discrimination, providing a hostile work environment and retaliation for complaining about sex discrimination and the hostile work environment, (doc. 17). Before discussing the motions, the court notes that Ms. Brown's second amended complaint made several passing references to 42 U.S.C. § 1981, but it did not assert a claim under that statute. (See Doc. 15 at 1, 3, 14). Ms. Brown concedes that any references to ยง 1981 were ...

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