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Bowie v. University of Maryland Medical System

United States District Court, D. Maryland

March 31, 2015

JANICE BOWIE, Plaintiff,



On October 10, 2014, plaintiff Janice Bowie filed suit against the University of Maryland Medical System[1] ("UMMS"), defendant, alleging employment discrimination. See ECF 1. Bowie claims violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 12111 et seq. ; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), as amended, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq. ; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended, 29 U.S.C. §§ 621-634 ("ADEA"); and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act ("GINA"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000ff et seq. Id. at 1. She asserts that defendant discriminated against her when it denied her an accommodation she requested for her disability, and when it "refused [her] the opportunity to return to employment with Defendant as a Physical Therapist because of" her disability and/or because of her request for reasonable accommodations. Id. at 2.

Now pending is defendant's motion to dismiss, filed pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). ECF 11 ("Motion"). UMMS argues that plaintiff's claims are time-barred because she failed to file suit within ninety days of receiving a "Dismissal and Notice of Rights" letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). Id. at 1. In defendant's memorandum in support of its Motion, see ECF 11-1 ("Memo"), defendant also contends, in a footnote, that plaintiff failed to exhaust her claims under Title VII, the ADEA, and the GINA because she did not include those claims in any Charge of Discrimination submitted to the EEOC. ECF 11-1 at 1 n.1.[2] Defendant submitted a copy of the charge plaintiff submitted to the EEOC. ECF 11-3 ("EEOC Charge"). Plaintiff opposes the motion, ECF 13 ("Opposition"), and defendant has replied. ECF 14 ("Reply").

The Motion has been fully briefed, and no hearing is necessary to resolve it. See Local Rule 105.6. For the reasons that follow, I will grant the Motion.

I. Factual Background

Bowie was employed by UMMS as a Physical Therapist from June 2006 until "on or about May 17, 2012." ECF 1 ¶ 6. "While Plaintiff was employed with Defendant, " she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Id. ¶ 12(a). At some unspecified time, "Plaintiff's condition worsened such that [she] was required to take a leave of absence from her employment with Defendant." Id. ¶ 12(b). At some other unspecified time, but apparently before May 9, 2012, plaintiff requested accommodations for her disability. Id. ¶¶ 12(c); 7(c). "[O]n or about May 21, 2012, Plaintiff received a letter dated May 9, 2012 informing [her] that [her] request for... accommodations was denied." Id. ¶ 12(c). "[O]n or about May 22, 2012, Plaintiff requested a FMLA leave of absence, which was denied by Defendant." Id. ¶ 12(d). Bowie further alleges that on May 22, 2012, and again on June 19, 2012, her "health care provider" "provided" a "Duty Status Form" stating that Bowie could return to work with certain light-duty accommodations specified in the Complaint. Id. ¶ 12(e)-(f). Plaintiff does not say whether she provided this information to defendant, nor does she explain the circumstances of her final separation from employment. See id. ¶ 6 (alleging plaintiff stopped working with defendant on or about May 17, 2012).

Bowie filed a formal Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC on June 4, 2012. ECF 1 ¶ 8; ECF 11-3.[3] In her EEOC Charge, Bowie checked retaliation and disability as the bases for defendant's alleged discrimination. ECF 11-3. She did not check race, color, sex, religion, national origin, age, genetic information, or "other." Id. She specified the earliest date of discrimination as May 21, 2012, and the latest as May 22, 2012. Id. The EEOC Charge "particulars" state as follows, id. :

I. I was hired by the above named employer in June 2006. My most recently held position was as a Physical Therapist. On May 1, 2012, I went out on leave due to my disability with an expected return to work date of May 29, 2012. On May 21, 2012, I received a letter dated May 9, 2012 from Sheila Schaffer, Outpatient Therapy Manager, informing me that my request for breaks as a reasonable accommodation for my disability was denied. On or about May 22, 2012, I received written notice that because my FMLA leave request was denied, my employer was recruiting to fill my position.
II. No reasonable explanation was given to me for the above actions.
III. I believe I have been discriminated against with respect to reasonable accommodation because of my disability in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA). I also believe I have not been allowed to return to my position because of my disability and for requesting reasonable accommodation in violation of the same statute.

On July 11, 2014, Bowie received a "Dismissal and Notice of Rights" from the EEOC. ECF 1 ¶ 9. In her Complaint, plaintiff states that the document is attached to her Complaint as Exhibit 1, but no exhibits or supplements to the Complaint were in fact filed with the Court. See id. However, defendant has attached a copy of the document to its Motion. See ECF 11-5 ("Right to Sue Letter"). Plaintiff has not disputed the authenticity of this document. See ECF 13.

Plaintiff filed suit on Friday, October 10, 2014. See ECF 1. Counting from July 11, 2014, see infra, the filing was made ninety-one days after the day plaintiff received her Right to Sue Letter. See id. ¶ 9.

II. Title VII, GINA, and ADEA Claims

As stated, UMMS observes that Bowie failed to allege any claims under Title VII, GINA, or the ADEA in her EEOC Charge. Memo, ECF 11-1 at 1 n.1. Rather, she alleged only a violation of the ADA. Consequently, UMMS asserts that plaintiff has failed to exhaust administratively all of these claims. Id. This ...

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