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Wilson v. Republic National Industries of Texas LP

United States District Court, N.D. Texas, Dallas Division

August 16, 2019

ROBBIN R. WILSON, Plaintiff,
v.
REPUBLIC NATIONAL INDUSTRIES OF TEXAS, LP d/b/a REPUBLIC ELITE and ELITE MULTIFAMILY INTERIORS, LLC d/b/a REPUBLIC ELITE, Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          JANE J. BOYLE UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Before the Court is Defendants' Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 12). For the following reasons, the Court GRANTS the Motion.

         I.

         BACKGROUND

         This is a case involving claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Plaintiff Robbin R. Wilson brought her claims against her former employers Defendants Republic National Industries of Texas, LP d/b/a Republic Elite and Elite Multifamily Interiors, LLC d/b/a Republic Elite (“Defendants”) on March 11, 2019. Doc. 1, Compl. Plaintiff was employed with Defendants as a Project Coordinator from December 2016 to June 2017. Doc. 10, Am. Compl., ¶¶ 8, 10. She alleges that not long after she began her employment, she was subject to sexually offensive conduct by coworkers and management, and that despite a verbal attempt to notify Defendants of the conduct through its employees, the conduct continued. See Id. ¶¶ 10-15. She alleges that because of this verbal report, she was retaliated against and was forced to resign her position. Id. ¶¶ 10, 15-21.

         Specifically, Plaintiff asserts two federal causes of action: (1) Title VII sexually hostile work environment and (2) Title VII retaliation. Id. ¶¶ 31-36. She seeks reinstatement to her former job duties, as well as damages. Id. ¶ 37.

         A. Factual Background

         Because Title VII claims are so fact-specific, the Court pauses to more fully explore the allegations. Plaintiff worked as a Project Coordinator for Defendants, a position which reported to the Project Managers. Id. ¶¶ 8-9. These Project Managers included John Hodge and Mike Winter, two people who Plaintiff alleges had input into decisions to discipline or terminate employees in her position. Id. ¶¶ 9-10. Plaintiff alleges that a few months after she began employment with Defendants, she was subjected to a sexually hostile work environment. Id. ¶ 10. Plaintiff specifically alleges three instances over a roughly three month period in which project managers directed sexually offensive conduct at her. Id. ¶¶ 11-13.

         First, Plaintiff recalls an incident on March 17, 2017, in which she came to work without wearing makeup and Hodge asked her if it was “come to work ugly day.” Id. ¶ 11. Plaintiff perceived this to be a comment insinuating that as a woman, she was required to wear makeup to work. Id. The second incident occurred on or about May 6, 2017, when Plaintiff alleges that Hodge insinuated that she was the “paid entertainment” at a company crawfish boil held the previous evening. Id. ¶ 12.

         The final incident Plaintiff alleges occurred on or about June 6, 2017, three days before she resigned, Specifically, on or about June 6, 2017, Plaintiff claims that she overheard Hodge and another coworker remarking that “hoes” were going to be present at an event and that because of this, one or both of them could not attend. Id. ¶ 13. Hodge then told Plaintiff that she “[wasn't] invited.” Id. A few minutes after this, Winter told Plaintiff that she was beginning to get “honey hams, ” a term that Plaintiff claims is used within the office to describe people who are overweight. Id. Plaintiff alleges that this comment so upset her that she began crying at her desk, and that when the men who made the comments realized that she was upset, they asked her to come to lunch. Id. Plaintiff declined the offer, and in response, Plaintiff claims that Hodge said that since they were “walking the street, [she] should like that.” Id. Plaintiff perceived this to be another remark referring to her as a prostitute. Id.

         Shortly after the third incident, Plaintiff made a verbal report of the comments to another Project Coordinator, Sandra Gobert. Id. ¶ 15. In her verbal report, Plaintiff characterized the comments made by the Project Managers as sexual harassment and was so upset about them that she began crying. Id. Plaintiff claims that Gobert apologized for the Project Managers' comments and claimed that she would “handle it.” Id. Plaintiff alleges that she did not go to anyone in upper management with her report at the time out of fear of retaliation. Id.

         Plaintiff alleges that the day after making her verbal report, she arrived at work and discovered Jerry Thompson-the company's Vice President of Sales and Hodge's supervisor-whispering with others, which made her feel uncomfortable. Id. ¶ 16. Gobert then contacted Plaintiff to see if she had received an apology from Hodge for his previous comments, and Plaintiff responded that she had not. Id. ¶ 17. Gobert spoke further to her supervisor Thompson about Plaintiffs report, and Thompson went to Plaintiffs cubicle to tell her he was going to speak with Hodge. Id. ¶ 19. After this conversation, however, Plaintiff alleges that Thompson reprimanded her for leaving work and threatened consequences if it happened again, regardless of the circumstances. Id. Plaintiff perceived that Thompson was upset about her report and was trying to intimidate her. Id.

         The day after the conversation with Thompson, Hodge met with Plaintiff and apologized for his behavior, stating that it would stop if she was offended. Id. ¶ 20. Plaintiff claims that instead, she was subject to further retaliation and recalls one instance in which a coworker who was present for the incident on June 6, 2017, began mocking her by fake crying and claiming that he had “hurt feelings.” Id. ¶ 21. Because of the open floor plan of the office, Plaintiff's other coworkers could hear these comments, which embarrassed her further. Id.

         On June 9, 2017, Plaintiff met with another Project Manager, Jonathan Crawford, to inform him that she was resigning because of the comments made by the other Project Managers and the retaliatory behavior she experienced after reporting them. Id. ¶ 23. Plaintiff then went back to her desk and submitted a written report of the sexual harassment and her resignation. Id. Shortly after submitting her report, Plaintiff was called into Thompson's office and was asked to gather her belongings and leave. Id. ΒΆ ...


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