United States District Court, D. Maryland
TONYA A. MACKIN
CHARLES SCHWAB & CO., INC. et al.
DEBORAH K. CHASANOW UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
pending and ready for resolution in this employment
discrimination case is the motion to dismiss filed by
Defendant Charles Schwab & Co., Inc.
(“Schwab”) and Defendant Gregory Matthews
(collectively, “Defendants”). (ECF No. 5). The
issues have been briefed, and the court now rules, no hearing
being deemed necessary. Local Rule 105.6. For the following
reasons, the motion to dismiss will be granted, in part, and
denied, in part.
was an Associated Financial Consultant (“AFC”) at
Schwab's branch in Gaithersburg, Maryland. She alleges
that the Financial Consultants (“FCs”) at her
branch were reluctant to work with her and made a number of
racially insensitive comments. For example, one FC allegedly
told a black employee who was going to New York for a holiday
to “have fun [and] don't go to jail[.]” (ECF
No. 1, at 10). Another FC allegedly referred to President
Obama as “that boy” because of his race.
(Id.). She further alleges that she was required to
do administrative tasks not required of a white AFC at
Schwab's Bethesda branch.
also alleges that she was retaliated against for filing an
EEOC complaint in 2012. She alleges that she received a
written warning and lost a sales bonus due to a complaint
from a client even though two FCs - one of whom was a white
male and one of whom was an Asian male - had not received the
same treatment when they received complaints from the same
client. She also alleges that the branch manager
intentionally excluded her from a text notifying employees
that the branch was closed due to weather during Hurricane
Sandy. (ECF No. 1, at 12-13).
filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC in May 2013.
She received a right to sue notice on September 9,
2016. Plaintiff brought this complaint alleging
employment discrimination and hostile work environment on
account of race, color, and gender and retaliation all in
violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
(“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et
seq., on December 7, 2016. Defendants moved to dismiss.
(ECF No. 5).
Standard of Review
purpose of a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) is to test
the sufficiency of the complaint. Presley v. City of
Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir.
2006). A complaint need only satisfy the standard of Rule
8(a)(2), which requires a “short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” “Rule 8(a)(2) still requires a
‘showing, ' rather than a blanket assertion, of
entitlement to relief.” Bell Atl. Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 n.3 (2007). That showing must
consist of more than “a formulaic recitation of the
elements of a cause of action” or “naked
assertion[s] devoid of further factual enhancement.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)
(citations omitted). At this stage, all well-pleaded
allegations in a complaint must be considered as true,
Albright v. Oliver, 510 U.S. 266, 268 (1994), and
all factual allegations must be construed in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff. See Harrison v. Westinghouse
Savannah River Co., 176 F.3d 776, 783 (4th
Cir. 1999) (citing Mylan Labs., Inc. v. Matkari, 7
F.3d 1130, 1134 (4th Cir. 1993)). In evaluating
the complaint, unsupported legal allegations need not be
accepted. Revene v. Charles Cty. Comm'rs, 882
F.2d 870, 873 (4th Cir. 1989). Legal conclusions
couched as factual allegations are insufficient,
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678, as are conclusory factual
allegations devoid of any reference to actual events,
United Black Firefighters v. Hirst, 604 F.2d 844,
847 (4th Cir. 1979); see also Francis v.
Giacomelli, 588 F.3d 186, 192 (4th Cir.
analyzing a motion to dismiss, courts “focus their
inquiry on the sufficiency of the facts relied upon by the
plaintiffs in the complaint.” Zak v. Chelsea
Therapeutics Intern., Ltd., 780 F.3d 597, 606
(4th Cir. 2015). Courts “cannot go beyond
these documents on a Rule 12(b)(6) motion.” E.I. du
Pont de Nemours & Co v. Kolon Indus., Inc., 637 F.3d
435, 438 (4th Cir. 2011). Therefore,
Defendants' attachments to the motion to dismiss cannot
be considered at this stage.
se pleadings are liberally construed and held to a less
stringent standard than pleadings drafted by lawyers.
Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (quoting
Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976));
Haines v. Kerner, 404 U.S. 519, 520 (1972). Liberal
construction means that the court will read the pleadings to
state a valid claim to the extent that it is possible to do
so from the facts available; it does not mean that the court
should rewrite the complaint to include claims never
presented. Barnett v. Hargett, 174 F.3d 1128, 1132
(10thCir. 1999). That is, even when pro
se litigants are involved, the court cannot ignore a
clear failure to allege facts that support a viable claim.
Weller v. Dep't of Soc. Servs., 901 F.2d 387,
391 (4th Cir. 1990); Forquer v. Schlee,
No. RDB-12-969, 2012 WL 6087491, at *3 (D.Md. Dec. 4, 2012)
(“[E]ven a pro se complaint must be dismissed
if it does not allege a plausible claim for relief.”
(citation and internal quotation marks omitted)).