United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
ELIZABETH ERNY FOOTE MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Red River Entertainment of Shreveport, LLC d/b/a Sam's
Town Shreveport ("Sam's Town") has moved to
dismiss the sexual harassment, hostile work environment, and
retaliation claims of Dennis Wayne Bryant
("Bryant"). Because the Court concludes that
Bryant's sexual harassment claims are unexhausted and
that his hostile work environment and retaliation claims are
not actionable under Tide VII, Sam's Town's motion to
dismiss [Record Document 13] is GRANTED.
Bryant's sexual harassment claim is DISMISSED
WITHOUT PREJUDICE for failure to exhaust. His
remaining claims are DISMISSED WITH
PREJUDICE for failure to state a claim on which
relief can be granted.
was a maintenance technician for Sam's Town where Donna
Johnson ("Johnson") was his primary supervisor.
[Record Document 1 at 4]. During their initial meeting,
Johnson allegedly instructed Bryant not to "let his man
down below think for him, " a comment that she allegedly
repeated regularly during his term of employment.
[Id.]. Bryant alleges that Johnson was a very
difficult supervisor who assigned unpleasant tasks to
employees with whom she was angry and who demanded
near-instantaneous responses to her requests. [Id.
at 4-5]. As a result of her abusive management style, many
employees allegedly quit or transferred to different
divisions of Sam's Town. [Id. at 5]. To escape
what he characterizes as "workplace bullying/'
Bryant prepared a letter of resignation. [Id.].
Sam's Town management, rather than lose Bryant, convinced
him to accept a part-time schedule, something that allegedly
angered Johnson. [Id.].
December 2016, another supervisor allegedly spoke with
Johnson and requested that Bryant work some additional hours
on the supervisor's shift. [Id. at 6]. In
reaction, Johnson allegedly threatened Bryant with
disciplinary action, criticized him publicly over an internal
radio broadcast, wrote him up for a disciplinary infraction
rather than giving him a first warning, and ordered him not
to get anything to drink for two hours. [Id. at
6-8]. Feeling that he was being treated unfairly and that
Johnson would continue her campaign of "retaliation,
" Bryant submitted a letter of resignation around
December 19, 2016. [Id. at 8]. After unsuccessfully
applying for unemployment benefits, he initiated
administrative proceedings before the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). [Record Documents
1 at 8 and 1-2 at 2]. The EEOC determined that the results of
its investigation did not establish any violation of federal
anti-discrimination law and issued a right-to-sue letter.
[Record Document 1-2 at 1]. After Bryant timely filed suit,
Sam's Town moved to dismiss. [Record Documents 1 and 13].
The parties have filed an opposition and a reply, rendering
the motion ripe for adjudication. [Record Documents 15-16].
Law and Analyis
Standard of Review
order to survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a
plaintiffs complaint must "state a claim to relief that
is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). "A claim has
facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads 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) (citing
Lwombly, 550 U.S. at 556). In determining whether
the plaintiff has stated a plausible claim, the court must
construe the complaint in the light most favorable to her,
see In re Great Lakes Dredge &Dock Co. LLC, 624
F.3d 201, 210 (5th Cir. 2010), and accept as true all
well-pleaded factual allegations, see Lwombly, 550
U.S. at 555; In re Katrina Canal Breaches Litig, 495
F.3d 191, 205 (5th Cir. 2009). However, "[t]hreadbare
recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by
mere conclusory statements, do not suffice."
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (citing Livombly,
550 U.S. at 555). Thus, the Court does not have to accept as
true "conclusory allegations, unwarranted factual
inferences, or legal conclusions." Plotkin v. IP
Axess Inc, 407 F.3d 690, 696 (5th Cir. 2005) (citing
Southland Sec. Corp. v. INSpire Ins. Sols, Inc., 365
F.3d 353, 361 (5th Cir. 2004)).
Bryant has filed his complaint pro se, the Court will
construe his complaint liberally. See EEOC v. Simbaki,
Ltd., 767 F.3d 475, 484 (5th Cir. 2014). He divides his
complaint into four claims. The first, "Hostile Work
Environment/Verbal Sexual Harassment, " describes
Johnson's regular instruction to Bryant not to "let
his man down below think for him." [Record Document 1 at
3-4]. The second, "Hostile Work Environment/Abusive
Supervision/Workplace Bullying/' concerns Johnson's
allegedly abusive management style. [Id. at 4-5].
Bryant entitles his third cause of action "Hostile
Environment/5 but describes how he acquired his part-time
schedule. [Id. at 5]. Finally, the section entitled
"Retaliation" relates to Johnson's conduct
after the other supervisor requested that Bryant work two
extra hours. [Id. at 6-8].
Hostile Work Environment and Retaliation
second, third, and fourth claims allege facts that suggest a
deeply unpleasant workplace environment. [Id. at
4-8]. Sam's Town argues that Bryant did not allege an
unlawful motivation for Johnson's behavior and failed to
identify any protected activity for which she retaliated.
[Record Documents 13-1 at 15-18 and 16 at 1-2]. Bryant merely
reiterates his complaint's allegations regarding
johnson's sexually-charged comment and her abusive
behavior. [Record Document 15 at 5-9].
VII is not a "general civility code for the American
workplace." Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Servs.,
Inc.,523 U.S. 75, 80 (1998). To demonstrate that sexual
harassment creates a hostile work environment, a Title VII
plaintiff must ultimately show: "(1) that the employee
belongs to a protected class; (2) that the employee was
subject to unwelcome sexual harassment; (3) that the
harassment was based on sex; and (4) that the harassment
affected a 'term, condition, or privilege' of
employment." Stewart v. Miss. Transp.
Comm'n,586 F.3d 321, 330 (5th Cir. 2009) (quoting
Lauderdale v. Tex. Dep't of Criminal Justice,
Institutional Div.,512 F.3d 157, 163 (5th Cir. 2007)).
Here, Bryant's second and third causes of action amply
allege that Johnson engaged in harassment by "blow[ing]
up in fits of rage, " refusing to listen to
employees' concerns, and "assign[ing] harsher work
assignments if she became upset with employees." [Record
Document 1 at 4-5]. However, Bryant has not alleged that this
harassment was sexual in nature or that it was done