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Fain v. BAE Systems Technology Solutions & Services, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

June 13, 2018

CYNTHIA FAIN Plaintiff,
v.
BAE SYSTEMS TECHNOLOGY SOLUTIONS & SERVICES INC.[1] Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          GEORGE J. HAZEL UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         Plaintiff Cynthia Fain brings this action against her former employer. Defendant BAF Systems Technology Solutions & Services Inc. ("BAE"). alleging gender-based discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2. and intentional infliction of emotional distress C'HED"). Now pending before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. ECF No. 7. No hearing is necessary. Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2016). For the following reasons. Defendant's Motion to Dismiss is granted.

         I. BACKGROUND[2]

         Plaintiff began working for Defendant on April 7. 2008 as a quality auditor and. in October 2013, was selected to fill the newly-created position of Talent Manager, working under Orania Colombo in the Business Operations Unit. ECF No. 1 T 11. Plaintiff was universally regarded as an exemplary employee, consistently received stellar performance reviews, and was awarded the BAE Chairman's Silver Award as a result of her work as Talent Manager. Id. ¶¶ 13.

         14. While working under Colombo. Plaintiff frequently, and with Colombo's acknowledgment and approval, worked from home using physical copies of necessary documents instead of logging into BAE's remote network because of the slow speed of the network connection. Id. ¶¶ 16. 17.

         Colombo announced her retirement from BAE in November 2015. Id. ¶ 18. and Jeffery King took over as manager of the Business Operations Unit on January 7. 2016. Id. ¶ 19. Plaintiff alleges that King took a number of actions indicative of his bias against female employees, which included, socializing with male members of the team to the exclusion of the remaining female members, id. ¶ 20: excluding, dismissing, belittling, or otherwise ignoring the female members, id. ¶ 22: and ceasing regular staff meetings and only sharing work-related information with the male members of the Business Operations Unit to the exclusion of the female members, id. ¶ 23.

         On February 2. 2016. Plaintiff received an email form Jennifer Nestor of the Ethics and Business Conduct Unit instructing her to report to a meeting on the morning of February 4. Id. ¶ 25. Plaintiff asked King about the purpose of the meeting, and he responded that "even if he knew, he would not have told her." Id. During the February 4 meeting, "in an interrogation-style setting." Nestor and Janel Wilson from Human Resources questioned whether Plaintiff signed into the BAE remote network when working from home. Id. ¶ 26. Plaintiff responded that when working on a presentation or research, she did not sign into the network, but that all work had been approved by Colombo. Id., see also Id. ¶¶ 16. 17. Plaintiff alleges that during and prior to this meeting, she notified BAE management of the need for training on time keeping. Id. ¶ 26. Plaintiff alleges that she left that meeting "with feelings of fear, humiliation, and extreme anxiety." Id.

         On February 7, Plaintiff notified King that she would be taking a sick day on the following day. On February 8. Plaintiff received a "harassing" call from King and Wilson insisting that she report to work. Id. ¶ 27. In response. Plaintiff advised King that she had a doctor's appointment and needed blood work and would not be coming in. id. While at the doctor's appointment. King called a second time and left a voicemail message notifying Plaintiff that her access to the building had been revoked. Id. ¶ 28. While Plaintiff characterizes her departure from BAE as a termination, she states that "[n]o BAE employee ever provided [her] with any official notice of termination." Id. ¶ 28.

         Plaintiff alleges that she suffers from systemic lupus erythematosus, which can result in flare-ups caused by extreme stress. Id. ¶ 29. Plaintiff alleges that King's treatment of her. including the "two harassing telephone calls on February 8. 2016" caused a flare-up of her condition and amplified its effects, which included rashes, mouth sores, and severe muscle fatigue." Id. ¶¶ 29. 30. In her Complaint. Plaintiff notes that "the purported reason for her termination was alleged inconsistencies in her time card" but alleges that was a pretext for the true reason for her firing-gender discrimination. Id. ¶¶ 31. 32. I

         II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         To state a claim that survives a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss, a complaint, relying on only well-pled factual allegations, must state at least a "plausible claim for relief." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 679 (2009). The "mere recital of elements of a cause of action, supported only by conclusory statements, is not sufficient to survive a motion made pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6)." Walters v. McMahen, 684 F.3d 435. 439 (4th Cir. 2012). To determine whether a claim has crossed "the line from conceivable to plausible." the court must employ a "context-specific inquiry, " drawing on the court's "experience and common sense." Iqbal. 556 U.S. at 679-80. When performing this inquiry, the court accepts "all well-pled facts as true and construes these facts in the light most favorable to the plaintiff in weighing the legal sufficiency of the complaint." Nemet Chevrolet, Ltd. v. Consiimeraffuirs.com. Inc., 591 F.3d 250. 255 (4th Cir. 2009).

         III. DISCUSSION

         A. Title VII

         Title VII makes it illegal for an employer "to discharge any individual or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex. or national origin." 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1). The parties dispute whether the Complaint contains sufficient factual content ...


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