United States District Court, D. Maryland
Richard D. Bennett, United States District Judge.
Levika Gray-Koyier (“Plaintiff” or
“Gray-Koyier”), an African-American female
practicing the Jewish faith, originally filed a five-count
complaint against Defendant Gladding Chevrolet, Inc.
(“Defendant” or “Gladding”),
Plaintiff's former employer, for violations of Title VII
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§
2000e, et seq., Maryland Fair Employment Practices
Act (“FEPA”), Md. Code, State Gov't
§§ 20-266(a), and wrongful discharge. Gray-Koyier
is now proceeding pro se. Currently pending before
this Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Count I,
alleging race, sex, and gender discrimination, and Count III,
alleging failure to provide reasonable
accommodation. (ECF No. 4.) The parties' submissions
have been reviewed, and no hearing is necessary. See
Local Rule 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the reasons stated below,
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss (ECF No. 4) is GRANTED and
Plaintiff Gray-Koyier's claims are DISMISSED.
reviewing a Motion to Dismiss, this Court accepts as true the
facts alleged in Plaintiff's Complaint. See Aziz v.
Alcolac, Inc., 658 F.3d 388, 390 (2011). Although
Plaintiff Levika Gray-Koyier was initially represented by
counsel when she filed her Complaint, she now is proceeding
pro se and this Court accords her pleadings liberal
construction. Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94
(2007). In November of 2011, Gray-Koyier, an
African-American female practicing the Jewish faith, became
employed as a Customer Relations Manager at Gladding
Chevrolet at the J.B.A. Infinity Facility. (Compl., ECF No. 1
at ¶¶ 7, 12.) In addition to Gray-Koyier, there was
another employee at Gladding practicing the Jewish faith,
Rich Robbins (“Robbins”), who is a Caucasian
male. (Id. at ¶¶ 19, 20.) During her
employment, Gray-Koyier reported directly to the General
Manager at Gladding, Dan Maytsek (“Maytsek”).
(Id. at ¶ 17.) “All time off requests
were submitted to Mr. Maytsek.” (Id.)
requested leave for October 1, 2012, to observe the first day
of Sukkot.(Id. at ¶ 21.) She
subsequently did not come to work on that day. (Id.
at ¶ 22.) When Gray-Koyier returned to work on October
2, 2012, she received a formal written reprimand for failing
to come to work. (Id. at ¶ 23.) Although
Robbins also did not go to work on October 1, 2012, he did
not receive a written reprimand. (Id. at
¶¶ 24-25.) When Gray-Koyier asked why she was
treated differently, she was told not to worry about other
employees. (Id. at ¶ 25.) Gray-Koyier alleges
that even though she offered to make up any missed hours for
times she observed Jewish holidays, her hours were reduced
and she received verbal reprimands and other disciplinary
measures. (Id. at ¶¶ 26-27.) Grey-Koyier
was allegedly told that as a Christian owed company, Gladding
only observed Christian holidays. (Id. at ¶
one year later, on or around November 1, 2012, Gray-Koyier
was fired by Maytsek. (Id. at ¶ 29.) Almost ten
months later, on August 26, 2013, Gray-Koyier filed a charge
with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”) alleging that Gladding discriminated
against her based on her race, religion, and gender (the
“Charge”).(Id. at ¶ 14.) On June 26,
2014, the EEOC mailed Gray-Koyier a Dismissal and Notice of
Rights stating that the EEOC was “unable to conclude
that the information obtained established violation of the
statutes” and informing Gray-Koyier that she had the
right to file suit within ninety days of receiving the
notice. (ECF No. 8-2 at 6.) Shortly thereafter, the EEOC sent
Gray-Koyier a letter indicating that it was reopening her
investigation, Id. at 9, and another letter asking
Gray-Koyier to resubmit her Charge, Id. at
Gray-Koyier then resubmitted her Charge. (Id. at
13.) On February 16, 2017, the EEOC mailed Gray-Koyier a
second Dismissal and Notice of Rights. (Id. at 19.)
On May 22, 2017, Gray-Koyier filed the instant action. (ECF
Rule 8(a)(2) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a
complaint must contain a “short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Rule 12(b)(6) of the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure authorizes the dismissal of
a complaint if it fails to state a claim upon which relief
can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). The purpose of Rule
12(b)(6) is “to test the sufficiency of a complaint and
not to resolve contests surrounding the facts, the merits of
a claim, or the applicability of defenses.” Presley
v. City of Charlottesville, 464 F.3d 480, 483 (4th Cir.
satisfy Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint need not include
“detailed factual allegations.” Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007); Ashcroft
v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). However, a plaintiff
must plead more than bald accusations or mere speculation.
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. A complaint must set forth
“enough factual matter (taken as true) to
suggest” a cognizable cause of action, “even if .
. . [the] actual proof of those facts is improbable and . . .
recovery is very remote and unlikely.” Id. at
556 (internal quotations omitted).
reviewing a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, a court “‘must
accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in
the complaint'” and must “‘draw all
reasonable inferences [from those facts] in favor of the
plaintiff.'” E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co.
v. Kolon Indus., Inc., 637 F.3d 435, 440 (4th Cir. 2011)
(citations omitted); Hall v. DirectTV, LLC, 846 F.3d
757, 765 (4th Cir. 2017). However, a court is not required to
accept legal conclusions drawn from those facts.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. “A court decides
whether [the pleading] standard is met by separating the
legal conclusions from the factual allegations, assuming the
truth of only the factual allegations, and then determining
whether those allegations allow the court to reasonably
infer” that the plaintiff is entitled to the legal
remedy sought. A Society Without A Name v. Virginia,
655 F.3d 342, 346 (4th Cir. 2011), cert. denied, 566
U.S. 937 (2012).
ruling on motion to dismiss, a court's evaluation is
generally limited to allegations contained in the complaint.
Goines v. Calley Cmty. Servs. Bd., 822 F.3d 159,
166-67 (4th Cir. 2016). However, courts may also consider
documents explicitly incorporated into the complaint by
reference. Id. at 166 (citing Tellabs, Inc. v.
Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 308, 322, 127
S.Ct. 2499 (2007)). In addition, a court may “consider
a document submitted by the movant that was not attached to
or expressly incorporated in a complaint, so long as the
document was integral to the complaint and there is no
dispute about the document's authenticity.”
Id. (citing Sec'y of State for Defence v.
Trimble Nav. Ltd., 484 F.3d 700, 705 (4th Cir. 2007)). A
document is “integral” when “its
‘very existence, and not the mere information it
contains, gives rise to the legal rights
asserted.'” Chesapeake Bay Found., Inc. v.
Severstal Sparrows Point, LLC, 794 F.Supp.2d 602, 611
(D. Md. 2011) (citation omitted) (emphasis omitted).
Considering such documents does not convert a motion to
dismiss to one for summary judgment. Goldfarb v. Mayor
& City Council of Baltimore, 791 F.3d 500, 508 (4th
in ruling on Defendant's Motion to Dismiss, this Court
will consider Plaintiff's EEOC Charge and related
documents. See Stennis v. Bowie State Univ., 236
F.Supp.3d 903, 907 n. 1 (D. Md. 2017) (explaining that
“the EEOC charge and its related documents are integral
to the Complaint”); Bowie v. Univ. of Maryland Med.
Sys., No. ELH-14-03216, 2015 WL 1499465, at *3 n.4 (D.
Md. Mar. 31, 2015) (“Courts commonly consider EEOC
charges as integral to a plaintiff's Complaint,
i.e., effectively a part of the pleading, even if
the EEOC charge is not filed with the Complaint.”
argues that Plaintiff Gray-Koyier's Title VII claims
should be dismissed because Plaintiff failed to exhaust her
administrative remedies. As this Court has recently noted,
failure to exhaust administrative remedies strips this Court
of jurisdiction to resolve the claims. Sillah v.
Burwell, 244 F.Supp.3d 499, 507 (D. Md. 2017)
(explaining that the plaintiff's failure to exhaust her
administrative remedies under Title VII deprived the court of
subject matter jurisdiction over her claim); Balas v.
Huntington Ingalls Indus. Inc., 711 F.3d 401,
406 (4th Cir. 2013) (“[F]ederal courts lack subject
matter jurisdiction over Title VII claims for which a
plaintiff has failed to exhaust administrative
remedies.” (citing Jones v. Calvert Grp.,
Ltd., 551 F.3d 297, 300 (4th Cir. 2009))). Therefore,
this Court first addresses whether Plaintiff exhausted her
bringing a Title VII discrimination claim in federal or state
court, a plaintiff must meet certain statutory requirements.
First, Title VII requires that a plaintiff file a
“charge” of discrimination with the EEOC or
appropriate agency before proceeding to court. 42 U.S.C.
§ 2000e-5(e)(1). The charge must be filed within a
specified time “after the alleged unlawful employment
practice occurred.” Id. In Maryland, a
deferral state,  a Title VII claim of discrimination must
be filed with the EEOC within 300 days of the alleged
discriminatory action. EEOC v. R & R Ventures,
244 F.3d 334, 338 n.1 (4th Cir. 2001). If the EEOC dismisses
the charge, a plaintiff has ninety days from receiving his or
her notice of dismissal and right to sue letter to file an
action in court. 42 U.S.C. § e-5(f)(1). Finally, a
plaintiff's suit is limited to the grounds asserted in
the underlying EEOC charge. Jones v. Calvert Group,
Ltd., 551 F.3d 297, 300 (4th Cir. 2009). This Court
addresses whether Plaintiff met these requirements in turn.
Plaintiff timely filed her EEOC Charge
Maryland, a plaintiff must file a charge with the EEOC within
300 days of the alleged discrimination. 42 U.S.C. §
2000e-5(e)(1); R&R Ventures, 244 F.3d at 338.
The record is not clear as to the exact date in August of
2013 that Gray-Koyier filed her EEOC Charge.Plaintiff claims
that she filed her initial charge on August 13, 2013. (ECF
No. 8-1 at 1; ECF No. 8-2 at 2.) Then, on June 26, 2014, the
EEOC notified Plaintiff that her charge was dismissed and she
had the right to sue. (ECF No. 8-2 at 6.) A week later, on
July 3, 3014, the EEOC informed Gray-Koyier that it was
reopening her investigation and revoking her right to sue.
(ECF No. 8-2 at 9.) In a letter purportedly mailed soon
thereafter,  the EEOC asked Plaintiff to resubmit a
copy of her original Charge. (ECF No. 8-2 at ...