United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Asheville Division
BECKY A. SMITH, Plaintiff,
MISSION HOSPITAL, Defendant.
MEMORANDUM & RECOMMENDATION
L. Howell United States Magistrate Judge
before the Court is the Motion to Dismiss. [# 7]. On
September 12, 2017, pro se Plaintiff filed her Amended
Complaint. [# 4]. Plaintiff's Amended Complaint asserts
claims of sex and religious discrimination, in violation of
42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. (Title VII). [# 4].
On October 30, 2017, Defendant filed its motion to dismiss.
[# 7]. The District Court referred the motion to this Court.
Accordingly, Defendant's motion is now before this Court
for a Memorandum and Recommendation to the District Court.
The Court will recommend that the District Court grant
Defendant's motion to dismiss [# 7] and dismiss all
claims in Plaintiff's Amended Complaint.
August 14, 2017, pro se Plaintiff filed her Complaint using a
WDNC-EEOC Complaint form and included her statement to the
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), her EEOC
right to sue letter, and civil cover sheet. [# 1]. On
September 12, 2017, Plaintiff filed her Amended Complaint and
included an almost identical WDNC-EEOC Complaint form,
Plaintiff's EEOC statement, and the names of five other
people who Plaintiff believes Defendant has discriminated
against. [# 7]. On October 30, 2017, Defendant
filed its Motion to Dismiss. [# 7].
November 16, 2017, Plaintiff filed two responses in
opposition to the Motion to Dismiss that contained sensitive
information and allegations outside the scope of the Amended
Complaint. [# 10, # 11]. On November 27, 2017, Defendant
filed a motion to strike Plaintiff's responses. [# 12].
On December 14, 2017, Plaintiff filed a response in
opposition to the motion to strike and again included
sensitive materials. [# 15]. On January 8, 2018, the Court
granted the motion and struck Plaintiff's responses from
the docket. [# 16]. The Court directed Plaintiff to file a
response that limited itself in scope to the Motion to
Dismiss and Amended Complaint. [# 16]. On January 25, 2018,
Plaintiff filed her third and appropriate Response in
Opposition to the Motion to Dismiss. [# 17]. Defendant did
not file a reply.
April 9, 2001, Defendant hired Plaintiff as a medical records
clerk II/office clerk. [# 4, Ex. 1 p. 1] [hereinafter
EEOC Stmt.]. In early 2015, a travel registered
nurse bullied Plaintiff by inappropriately
hitting her across the buttocks and saying obnoxious remarks.
[EEOC Stmt. p. 1]. On October 21, 2015, the manager of
Defendant's Labor and Delivery conducted an unauthorized
chart audit of Plaintiff's medical records.
[Id.]. On December 21, 2015, Plaintiff sought legal
counsel who advised Plaintiff to file a formal harassment
complaint with Defendant's Human Resources (HR).
[Id.]. HR stated to Plaintiff that it could not do
anything regarding the unauthorized chart audit.
Plaintiff decided to transfer out of her department.
[Id.]. Plaintiff asked to be transferred several
times and also began applying for other positions.
[Id.]. On December 20, 2015, Plaintiff emailed Karen
Olsen stating her concerns. [EEOC Stmt. p. 1]. Olsen did not
meet with Plaintiff. [Id.]. On February 22, 2016, a
privacy officer called Plaintiff regarding the alleged HIIPA
violation. [Id.]. On that same date, Plaintiff filed
a formal complaint with the Department of Health and Human
April 16, 2016, coworker Gale Holm referred to Plaintiff as
“transgender.” [Id.]. Around that same
time, Holm stated that a doctor was praying with his patients
and that another doctor's last name was similar to the
name “Satan.” [Id.]. Later, Plaintiff
discovered that Holm and another coworker had made comments
about Plaintiff on a private Labor and Delivery Department
Facebook page. [EEOC Stmt. p. 1].
24, 2016, Plaintiff received an email stating that she was no
longer protected under the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).
[Id.]. On May 26, 2016, Plaintiff met with HR.
[Id.]. HR told Plaintiff that she needed to attend
sessions with the Employee Assistance Network (EAN) for
yelling at coworkers. [Id.]. Plaintiff asked HR
about who had accused Plaintiff of yelling. [Id.].
HR did not disclose any names. [Id. at pp. 1-2].
Plaintiff declined to attend EAN and refused to sign any
false accusations against her. [EEOC Stmt. p. 2]. HR accused
Plaintiff of not applying for lateral positions within
Mission Hospital, however, Plaintiff alleges that this was
not true. [Id.].
9, 2016, Defendant fired Plaintiff. [Id.]. At some
point following the termination, Plaintiff filed a charge
with the EEOC. [See id.]. On May 22, 2017, the EEOC
mailed Plaintiff a right to sue letter. [# 1, Ex. 1; Am.
Compl. p. 3]. Plaintiff's Amended Complaint alleges the
following discriminatory acts: (1) failure to promote; (2)
termination of employment; (3) denial of equal pay/work; (4)
sexual harassment; (5) general harassment; (6) other acts.
[Am. Compl. p. 3]. Plaintiff alleges that the discriminatory
acts where done so because of her sex and religion.
[Id.]. Under “Cause of Action” of the
Amended Complaint, Plaintiff specifically alleges in count
one that she applied for other positions within Defendant
Mission Hospital and was denied transfer. [Id. p.
4]. As supporting facts, Plaintiff states that her pay was
topped out at $ 19.50 per hour, including base pay, weekender
pay, and third shift pay. [Id.]. Plaintiff's
manager waited until Plaintiff's FMLA time expired and
then fired Plaintiff. [Id.]. In count two, Plaintiff
re-alleges that coworkers had talked about Plaintiff via
Facebook. [Id.]. Plaintiff states that she informed
her supervisor. [Am. Compl. p. 4]. In her supporting facts
for count two, Plaintiff states that Defendant's HR
denied the existence of the Facebook page, however, Plaintiff
knows people who can testify to its existence.
lists many injuries, including financial loss, defamation of
character, and pain and suffering. [Id.]. For
relief, Plaintiff requests monetary compensation.
[Id. p. 6].
central issue for resolving a Rule 12(b)(6) motion is whether
the claims state a plausible claim for relief. See
Francis v. Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 189 (4th Cir.
2009). In considering a defendant's motion, the Court
accepts the allegations in the complaint as true and
construes them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
Nemet Chevrolet, Ltd. v. Consumeraffairs.com, Inc.,
591 F.3d 250, 253 (4th Cir. 2009); Giacomelli, 588
F.3d at 190-92. Although the Court accepts well-pled facts as
true, it is not required to accept “legal conclusions,
elements of a cause of ...