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Anderson v. GMA Garnet USA Corp.

United States District Court, E.D. Louisiana

January 23, 2018

OTIS L. ANDERSON, JR., AND KIMBERLY JUPITER GEASON
v.
GMA GARNET USA CORP.

         SECTION A(3)

          ORDER AND REASONS

          JUDGE JAY C. ZAINEY, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         Before the Court is Defendant's Rule 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim or, Alternatively, Request for More Definite Statement (Rec. Doc. 7) filed by Defendant GMA Garnet (USA) Corp. (“GMA”). Plaintiffs Otis L. Anderson, Jr. (“Anderson”) and Kimberly Jupiter Geason (“Geason”) oppose the motion (Rec. Doc. 12) and Defendant has replied. (Rec. Doc. 15). The motion, set for submission on November 29, 2017, is before the Court on the briefs without oral argument. This matter is set as a bench trial beginning on September 10, 2018 at 9:30 a.m. Having considered the motion and memoranda of counsel, the record, and the applicable law, the Court finds that the Defendant's motion should be GRANTED in part and DENIED in part for the reasons set forth below.

         I. Background

         On September 6, 2016, Plaintiffs Otis Anderson and Kimberly Jupiter Geason were terminated from their employment with Defendant GMA. (Rec. Doc. 1-3, p. 8, ¶¶ 18-19). At the time, Anderson was employed as a Recycle Plant Supervisor while Geason was employed as a Logistics Coordinator. Id. Thereafter, on September 5, 2017, Plaintiffs filed a Petition for Damages in the 40th Judicial District Court for St. John the Baptist Parish, Louisiana. (Rec. Doc. 1-3). Plaintiffs' second cause of action alleges GMA engaged in discrimination in direct violation of Louisiana Revised Statutes 23:301 et seq. (Rec. Doc. 1-3, p. 8-10, ¶¶ 17-29).[1] Plaintiffs' particular allegations state that “there was an environment of racial discrimination at the GMA facility in Reserve, LA where [Plaintiffs] were employed, and that [Plaintiffs] regularly experienced disparate treatment as compared to their White counterparts.” Id. at ¶ 20. In their Complaint, Plaintiffs provide the following non-exclusive list of examples of alleged disparate treatment on the part of GMA:

A. Black employees of GMA were denied overtime opportunities, while White employees received overtime hours.
B. Black employees' requests for paid time off (PTO) could take up to thirty (30) days for approval, whereas a White employee routinely had PTO requests approved on the same day in contravention of company policy requiring PTO requests be made seven (7) days in advance. White employees were not required to follow the PTO request guidelines when Black employees were.
C. Black employees were required to submit to “random” drug screens more frequently than White employees and/or White employees were given notice of when a “random” drug screening would be taking place, giving White employees the opportunity to “prepare” for passing a drug screening.
D. White employees were not held to the same rules as Black employees following workplace accidents.
E. White employees were regularly allowed to disregard the company cell phone policy without facing disciplinary action.
F. Plaintiff Otis Anderson was held responsible for failures that fell under the responsibility of a White Supervisor.
G. Plaintiff Kimberly Jupiter Geason addressed a letter of complaint to defendant GMA citing the disparate treatment she felt she was experiencing, specifically asking why African American employees were being treated differently than White Employees, however no response was given and none of the issues were addressed by defendant GMA.
H. During the tornados that hit LaPlace in 2016, Plaintiff Kimberly Jupiter Geason requested to leave early so that she could pick up her child from school and take him home when school was closed for the weather emergency, and she was told she was not allowed to leave, but a White male employee was allowed to leave early on the same day.

Id. Both Anderson and Geason additionally allege their discharge was made on the basis of their race, and in the case of Geason, on the basis of her sex as ...


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