United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division
J. HAZEL, United States District Judge.
one-count Complaint. Plaintiff Mabel Smith alleges that she
suffered from retaliation in response to her complaints of
age. gender, and national origin discrimination that she
raised to her employer, the Board of Education of Prince
George's County. Maryland (the "Board"), in
violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
("Title VII"). 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2 et
seq. Presently pending before the Court is the
Board's Motion to Dismiss. ECF No. 3. No hearing is
necessary to resolve the Motion. See Local Rule
105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons that follow, the
Board's Motion is denied.
was born in Jamaica. West Indies and has a distinct accent.
ECF No. 1 ¶¶ 11-12. She is employed by Prince
George's County Public Schools and. as of the time of the
events leading up to this case, was a middle school teacher
at Kettering Middle School. ECF No. I ¶¶ 1- 13-
Amin Salaam is the principal of Kettering Middle School, and
was Plaintiffs supervisor from 2012 to 2015. Id.
to the Complaint. Plaintiff has been the recipient of many
teaching awards and her job performance ratings have been
consistently high, but Salaam "has singled [Plaintiff)
out for harsher treatment since he arrived at Kettering
Middle School in 2012." Id. ¶¶ 10.
15. Specifically, during the 2012-2013 school year. Salaam
assigned Plaintiff five classes-more than other teachers were
assigned-and as many as sixty students at a time.
Id. ¶¶ 16-19. Plaintiff was also not given
a thirty-minute break for lunch. Id. ¶ 18. In
September 2012. Plaintiff expressed her concern about being
overworked in an email to Salaam and complained to her union.
Id. ¶¶ 21. 24. Salaam responded by telling
Plaintiff. "I'll give you an unsatisfactory. I am
the principal and 1 can do so" and said "*[y]ou
should be glad that you have a job." Id.
also alleges that Salaam "frequently came to [her]
classroom, as she taught a class, with his IPod in hand"
and "would take a seat and glare [at] |Plaintiff]
without saying a word." Id. ¶ 30.
Additionally, according to the Complaint, during the 2014
2015 school year. Salaam occasionally entered Plaintiffs
classroom during class and "yell[ed| at her in a
menacing tone." Id. ¶31. This conduct led
Plaintiffs students to "express concern that she was in
some kind of trouble." Id. Plaintiff alleges
that she found this behavior to be intimidating. Id.
several occasions. Salaam commented on Plaintiffs national
origin. For instance. Salaam said to Plaintiff. "I know
about you Jamaicans. 1 grew up in New York so I know you
people." On another occasion. Salaam told Plaintiff.
"1 told my wife about you and I told her I was having a
hard time with you" and his wife's response was,
"[y]ou know how these Jamaicans are."" Id.
¶¶ 27 29.
January 29. 2015, Plaintiff sent a letter to her union
representative and to Tricia Hairston. Salaam's
supervisor, complaining that Salaam was harassing her on the
basis of her age, gender, and national origin. Id.
¶ 33. Then, on February 2. 2015. Plaintiff emailed
Salaam requesting a meeting to address her grievance with
him. Id. c 34. On February 3. 201 5,
Plaintiff emailed Hairston informing her that she had
requested a meeting with Salaam, and explaining that, in
October 2014. Plaintiff met with her union representative to
address the harassment she was facing and noted that she
"ended up with panic attacks and stress related
symptoms" as a result of Salaam's conduct.
Id. ¶ 35. Plaintiff further explained that her
October 2014 complaint was "partially resolved" but
that another meeting was warranted "because . . . Salaam
will not stop." Id.
February 4. 2015. during a meeting between Salaam, Plaintiff,
and Plaintiffs union representative. Salaam said to
I am going to give you a Letter of Reprimand because I am
tired of you. When things don't go your way you email my
supervisor and call in the union on me and I am going to put
a stop to it today. I have a school to run and all these
meetings are taking up my time. You fee! that you can call in
the union on me any time you want but this is the last time.
I am going to put a stop to it once and for all.
Id. ¶ 36. Next, on February 27. 201 5. Salaam
accused Plaintiff of interfering with a security
investigation involving a possible fight between two
students, based on Plaintiffs claim that she had not seen the
light. Because Plaintiff was assigned to hallway duty at the
time of the incident and a security officer claimed she was
there. Salaam accused Plaintiff of misleading him.
Id. ¶ 37. At the time of the altercation.
Plaintiff was monitoring students but did not see the
altercation. Id. ¶¶ 38-39.
March 9. 2015. Plaintiff met with an Employee and Labor
Relations attorney regarding her complaints against Salaam
and explained that Salaam's harassment was having an
adverse effect on her health. Id. ¶¶
41-42. The following day. Salaam followed Plaintiff to her
classroom '"with an angry expression on his
face." Id. ¶ 43. During a meeting on March
11. 201 5. Salaam yelled at Plaintiff, called her a liar, and
accused her of deliberately endangering a child's life.
Id. ¶ 44. As a result. Plaintiff suffered a
medical emergency and was sent to the hospital. On her
doctor's advice. Plaintiff went onto extended medical
leave for the remainder of the 2014-2015 school year. Id.
filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on March 16. 2015.
Id. ¶ 48: see also ECF No. 3-2. Two
days later, on March 18. 2015. Plaintiff received a
"Letter of Professional Counseling for Misconduct.
Willful Neglect of Duty & Insubordination" from
Salaam. The letter indicated that, on February 27. 201 5.
Plaintiff "decided not to tell the truth to the
principal about a student security investigation." ECF
No. 1 ¶ 49. On March 25. 2015. Salaam gave Plaintiff an
interim job performance rating of "ineffective."
Id. ¶ 50.
1 8. 201 5. Plaintiff visited the school to attend an award
ceremony for her students. When Salaam saw her, he yelled at
her in front of students, parents, and colleagues, saying
that Plaintiff was not allowed to come in the building while
she was out on sick leave, and that if she did not leave, he
would have security escort her from the building.
Id. ¶ 51. The following day. Salaam presented