United States District Court, S.D. Texas, Houston Division
MEMORANDUM AND RECOMMENDATION
before the court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (Doc.
14) and the responses and replies filed thereto. For the
reasons stated below, it is RECOMMENDED that
the motion be DENIED.
Angela Jarvis (“Jarvis”) filed this action for
violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
(“Title VII”) against her employer, the Texas
General Land Office. In the most recent complaint, Plaintiff
explains that after she complained about the inappropriate
behavior of a male coworker, who was a close personal friend
of the regional director, the male coworker was promoted to
her supervisor and subjected her to a hostile work
environment culminating in her constructive discharge on
March 11, 2016.
December 18, 2016, Jarvis mailed an Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) Intake
Questionnaire to the EEOC.The top paragraph of the form cautioned,
“REMEMBER, a charge of discrimination must be filed
within the time limits imposed by law, generally within 180
days or in some places 300 days of the alleged
form, Jarvis checked the “retaliation” box and
further stated, “I reported sexual harrassment [sic]
¶ 2/16/16, then duties were reassigned/removed. The
person I reported [to] was then put as my supervisor
immediately.” Jarvis also complained that on February
24, 2016, she was reprimanded for her actions of February 3,
2016, while a co-worker who took the same actions was not
reprimanded. Jarvis further explained that her
co-workers were told to report her activities to her alleged
harasser, and, on March 10, 2016, she lost her Marketing
Coordinator title and was assigned additional administrative
filed this action on May 8, 2018. On May 21, 2018, Defendant
filed a motion to dismiss alleging that Plaintiff's
claims are untimely because she failed to file a formal
charge of discrimination within the time allotted by the
Plaintiff has filed two amended complaints; Defendant has
filed similar motions to dismiss directed at each.
Summary Judgment Standard
filed a motion to dismiss based on Plaintiff's failure to
timely exhaust her administrative remedies. However, as the
parties attached numerous documents outside the pleadings on
which they expected the court to rely, the court gave notice
that it was converting the pending motion to dismiss to a
motion for summary judgment on the failure to exhaust
administrative remedies defense pursuant to Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure (“Rule”) 12(d). The parties
were permitted additional time to submit briefing and
documents based on this new standard.
judgment is warranted when the evidence reveals that no
genuine dispute exists regarding any material fact and the
moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477
U.S. 317, 322 (1986); Stauffer v. Gearhart, 741 F.3d
574, 581 (5th Cir. 2014). A material fact is a
fact that is identified by applicable substantive law as
critical to the outcome of the suit. Anderson v. Liberty
Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Ameristar Jet
Charter, Inc. v. Signal Composites, Inc., 271 F.3d 624,
626 (5th Cir. 2001). To be genuine, the dispute
regarding a material fact must be supported by evidence such
that a reasonable jury could resolve the issue in favor of
either party. See Royal v. CCC&R Tres Arboles,
L.L.C., 736 F.3d 396, 400 (5th Cir. 2013)
(quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 250).
State of Texas moves to dismiss Jarvis's Title VII
complaint on the grounds that she failed to exhaust her
administration remedies within the statutory period. A
plaintiff alleging employment discrimination must exhaust
administrative remedies before pursuing her claim in federal
court. Taylor v. Books A Million, Inc., 296 F.3d
376, 378-79 (5th Cir. 2002). The Fifth Circuit has
stated that a failure to exhaust administrative remedies is
not a procedural “gotcha, ” but a “mainstay
of proper enforcement of Title VII remedies.”
McClain v. Lufkin Indus., Inc., 519 F.3d 264, 272
(5th Cir. 2008).
Texas, a charge of discrimination must be filed with the EEOC
within 300 days of an adverse employment action because Texas
has its own state agency to resolve civil rights complaints.
See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e)(1). A charge must be
in writing under oath or affirmation. 42 U.S.C.
§2000e-5(b); Edelman v. Lynchburg Coll., 535
U.S. 106, 112 (2002).
primary purpose of an EEOC charge is to provide notice of the
charges to the respondent and to activate the voluntary
compliance and conciliation functions of the EEOC.”
Ajaz v. Cont'l Airlines, 156 F.R.D. 145, 147
(S.D. Tex. 1994) (citations omitted). “The charge
triggers an investigation by the EEOC so, through a
conciliation process, voluntary compliance may be obtained
and discriminatory policies and practices eliminated.”
Id. In making the determination whether a charge
exhausted a claim brought in court, the Fifth Circuit has
counseled that courts must construe an EEOC charge broadly,
“but [ ] will only find a claim was exhausted if it
could have been ‘reasonably . . . expected to grow out
of the charge of discrimination.'” Jefferson v.
Christus St. Joseph Hosp., 374 Fed.Appx. 485, 489-90
(5th Cir. 2010) (unpublished) (quoting
McClain, 519 F.3d at 273).
case, Plaintiff's discrimination claims stem from her
allegations of a hostile work environment and forced
resignation on March 11, 2016. Plaintiff signed and mailed an
intake questionnaire to the EEOC on December 18, 2016, within
300 days of the alleged adverse employment action of
constructive discharge.Plaintiff later filed a formal charge
of discrimination on February 6, 2017, 332 days after ...