United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina
CECILIA D. WALTON, Plaintiff,
N.C. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER
Reidinger United States District Judge.
MATTER is before the Court on the Defendant's
Motion to Dismiss [Doc. 22].
February 21, 2017, the Plaintiff Cecilia D. Walton,
proceeding pro se, filed this action against her
former employer, the North Carolina Department of Commerce.
[Doc. 1]. As stated in her Second Amended Complaint [Doc.
21], the Plaintiff asserts claims of retaliation in violation
of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C.
2000e-2(a)(1), et seq. (“Title VII”),
and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C.
§§ 623, et seq. (“ADEA”), a
claim of age discrimination under the ADEA, and state law
claims for tortious interference, breach of contract, payment
of wages, and blacklisting.
28, 2017, the Defendant filed the present Motion to Dismiss
[Doc. 22], seeking dismissal of this action pursuant to
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6). On
August 7, 2017, the Plaintiff filed her Brief in Opposition.
been fully briefed, this matter is ripe for disposition.
the well-pleaded allegations of the Plaintiff's Second
Amended Complaint as true, the following is a summary of the
Plaintiff is a forty-nine-year-old female. [Doc. 21 at ¶
7]. In 2002, the Plaintiff was hired by the Employment
Security Commission (“ESC”), a division of the
Defendant North Carolina Department of Commerce, as a claim
adjudicator. [Id. at ¶ 8].
March 2004, the Plaintiff filed an EEOC charge against ESC
for sex discrimination. [Id.]. In April 2004, the
Plaintiff resigned from ESC, in part due to a hostile work
environment following the Plaintiff's return from
maternity leave. [Id. at ¶ 9]. On December 9,
2009, the Plaintiff was hired by the Division of Workforce
Solutions (“DWS”), another division of the North
Carolina Department of Commerce, to work in its Charlotte
South office as an intermittent (part-time) employee.
[Id. at ¶¶ 10, 42]. The Plaintiff received
positive feedback from her DWS Charlotte South supervisor.
[Id. at ¶¶ 15, 46]. The Plaintiff never
received any disciplinary actions. [Id. at ¶
September 2010, the Plaintiff requested and received a
transfer to the main DWS office in Charlotte
(“Charlotte Main”). [Id. at ¶ 16].
The Plaintiff's supervisors at Charlotte Main were Area
Manager Randall Darnell (“Darnell”) and Assistant
Office Manager Stephanie Lattimore (“Lattimore).
[Id.]. The Plaintiff was assigned to the Claims Unit
and worked alongside two other claims specialists.
[Id. at ¶¶ 17-18].
December 2010, DWS hired Roderick Bailey (Bailey), a former
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer. [Id. at ¶
19]. In January 2011, Bailey asked the Plaintiff for her
phone number because he wanted to date her. [Id. at
¶ 20]. The Plaintiff refused. [Id.]. Soon
thereafter, Bailey asked the Plaintiff out to lunch.
[Id. at ¶ 21]. The Plaintiff initially accepted
but changed her mind. [Id.]. Bailey became mad
toward the Plaintiff. [Id. at ¶ 21].
began to ridicule the Plaintiff in front of others, including
referring to her as “Celeto, ” an inside office
euphemism for an unmarried older woman. [Id. at
¶ 22]. Further, Bailey used false and slanderous
information to convince other male employees to “start
friendships” with the Plaintiff. [Id. at
¶ 22]. Lattimore called the Plaintiff out at meetings
and made derogatory statements toward her. [Id. at
¶ 26]. On one occasion, Lattimore made the Plaintiff
feel unwelcome at the annual office Christmas party.
[Id.]. Lattimore referred to herself as
“mulatto” in office conversations, in contrast to
the Plaintiff being dark-skinned. At one office meeting,
Lattimore stated that babies and small children were not to
be brought to the office because they were a distraction.
[Id. at ¶ 27].
2011 to 2012, the Plaintiff made a series of complaints about
Lattimore and Bailey to Darnell both in person and via email
but Darnell did nothing. [Id. at ¶ 28]. The
Plaintiff dropped her first complaint because she was afraid
of retaliation; however, due to escalating treatment the
Plaintiff filed another complaint. [Id.].
in 2011, contemporaneously with the office harassment, the
father of the Plaintiff's child began to make harassing
phone calls to the Plaintiff. [Id. at ¶ 25]. In
December 2011, the harassment escalated and the Plaintiff
filed a report with local police. [Id. at ¶
30]. The Plaintiff's child's father began to call DWS
and contact one of the Plaintiff's coworkers in order to
keep tabs on the Plaintiff. [Id.]. The Plaintiff
complained to Darnell, but Darnell failed to take any action
and failed to offer to “institute a restraining order
per state policy on workplace violence in Plaintiff's
behalf.” [Id.]. The Plaintiff obtained an
initial ex parte restraining order against her
former partner but was repeatedly denied a permanent
restraining order. [Id. at ¶ 31]. The Plaintiff
alleges that her child's father, by himself and through
agents, interfered with her job, including contacting
prospective employers and altering online networking
profiles. [Id. at ¶¶ 32-33].
January 2013, the Plaintiff felt increased scrutiny and
harassment at work. [Id. at ¶¶ 35-36]. The
Plaintiff was watched at lunch; followed outside on lunch and
breaks; constantly teased; and her car was broken into.
[Id. at ¶ 35]. The Plaintiff, believing that
Lattimore was behind the harassment, reported Lattimore to
Darnell but no investigation took place. [Id. at
beginning in January 2013, the Plaintiff discovered a breach
of her cellphone account. [Id. at ¶ 37].
Specifically, the Plaintiff asserts that Lattimore cloned and
intercepted the Plaintiff's cellphone without her
knowledge or authorization. [Id.]. The Plaintiff
reported this to the Defendant's integrity unit; however,
the Plaintiff was told that the unit could not investigate
unless she sought a restraining order against ...