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Carr v. Humble Independent School District

United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division

February 23, 2018

ROBIN CARR, Plaintiff,
v.
HUMBLE INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT, Defendant.

          ORDER

          VANESSA D. GILMORE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Pending before the Court is Defendant's First Amended Motion to Dismiss. (Instrument No. 13).

         I.

         A.

         This is an employment discrimination action brought by Plaintiff Robin Carr ("Carr" or "Plaintiff) against her former employer, Defendant Humble Independent School District ("HISD" or "Defendant"). (Instrument No. 12). Plaintiff brings claims of sex discrimination, hostile work environment, and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e) and the Texas Labor Code, as well claims under Title DC of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983, and the common law tort of invasion of privacy. Id. Defendant moves to dismiss Plaintiffs claims of discrimination under Title VII and the Texas Labor Code as well as Plaintiffs claims under Title DC, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983, and the common law tort of invasion of privacy. (Instrument No. 13). Defendant does not seek to dismiss Plaintiffs claims for hostile work environment and retaliation under Title VII and the Texas Labor Code. See Id. at 10. ("The District is not conceding or admitting that it or any of its employees actually engaged in sexual harassment or retaliation of any kind, but believes that enough facts have been pled in the First Amended Complaint so as to make those claims unsuitable for dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6)").

         B.

         Plaintiff is a black lesbian woman who was employed full time as an at-will probationary police officer in the HISD police department. (Instrument No. 12 at 5). Plaintiff began her employment in June 2014 and resigned in February 2015 due to an alleged constructive discharge. Id. at 5 and 12.

         Plaintiffs supervisor at HISD was Sergeant Bobby Brown ("Brown"). Id. at 5. According to Plaintiff, Brown displayed hostility towards her from the first day they met. Id. Because Plaintiff "dressed, spoke, and acted in a manner that was not as feminine as other women, " she was told that she "looked gay." Id. Brown also spoke with Plaintiff about other women's "breasts" and "asses, " because he believed that she would share his interest in such comments. Id. at 6. But according to Plaintiff, these comments simply "created an atmosphere where sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace [were] prevalent." Id.

         Plaintiff claims that Brown delayed her training because he did not approve of her sexual orientation and conformity to sex stereotypes. Id. at 9. Despite starting work at HISD in June 2014, she was not able to attend a training class until September 2014. Id. at 8. Whereas other officers were allowed to use HISD vehicles during training, Plaintiff had to use her own personal car. Id. Plaintiff also asked to take off work when her mother was diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, but she was only permitted to leave work early a couple of times. Id. at 7.

         Plaintiff also alleges that her co-workers discriminated against her on the basis of her sexual orientation and gender conformity. Id. at 9. Another female officer gave her the "silent treatment" when Plaintiff was assigned to ride with her on patrol. Id. Plaintiffs training officer asked her sexually explicit questions and discussed his own "sexual conquests and sexual prospects daily." Id. Plaintiff complained about these comments to HISD Human Resources but "her complaints were ignored by the District." Id.

         Before working at HISD, Plaintiff had never visited Humble and was unfamiliar with the area. Id. at 10. Because of this unfamiliarity, Plaintiff alleges that Brown "ridiculed, harassed, and cursed" her for getting lost and making wrong turns. Id. Brown also assigned Plaintiff to work nights even though "no other female officer worked nights." Id.

         Plaintiff alleges that Brown placed her life in danger by assigning her to drive an old patrol car with an outdated inspection sticker, a bad battery, and no seatbelt. Id. Plaintiff was so appalled by the car that she complained to the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Id. at 11. When she told Brown about her complaints, he laughed and said, "If you want to be a man you need to learn how to jump a battery." Id. Meanwhile, when Plaintiff sprained her ankle and asked to be assigned to light duty, Brown made her maintain the same assignments. Id. at 12.

         On February 11, 2015, Plaintiff was contacted by Lieutenant Stanford at HISD and told that Chief Cook, the head of the department, wanted her to "resign or quit." Id. Plaintiff then took her resignation to Human Resources and wrote on it that she was "forced to resign not of my own free will." Id.

         C.

         Plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Texas Workforce Commission within 180 days of the alleged discrimination. (Instrument No. 12 at 4-5). Within 90 days of receiving a right to sue letter, Plaintiff filed this original action on February 10, 2017 in the 295th Judicial District Court of Harris County, Texas. (Instrument No. 1). The case was then removed to this Court on March 10, 2017. Id.

         On June 6, 2017, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. (Instrument No. 9). During the scheduling conference on June 16, 2017, the Court gave Plaintiff leave to amend her complaint and denied the motion to dismiss as moot. See (Instrument No. 11). On June 30, 2017, Plaintiff filed the First Amended Complaint. (Instrument No. 12) (hereinafter, "Complaint"). On July 14, 2017, Defendant renewed and amended ...


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