Georgia Woman’s Gender Discrimination Claim Survives Motion to Dismiss in Federal Court

No one should have to put up with discriminatory treatment in the workplace. After all, it’s 2019, and laws have been on the books for decades that protect workers from racial, gender, and age discrimination. Still, unlawful discrimination happens every day, sometimes culminating in an Atlanta employment discrimination lawsuit.

Of course, those who engage in such shameful conduct are rarely, if ever, willing to admit that they have done wrong. Instead, they make every effort to see that a plaintiff’s claims are dismissed by the courts. Fortunately, judges tend to see things differently, and many ill-advised motions to dismiss are met with a denial, either in whole or in part, by the trial court.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a woman who worked for the defendant manufacturing company from 2015 to 2018. She claimed that she was subjected to multiple instances of gender discrimination at the hands of the defendant supervisor during that time. Some of this conduct was verbal (such as calling her “stupid,” “slow,” and “ignorant”), but there were instances in which the supervisor’s actions physically harmed the plaintiff. After multiple complaints to human resources failed to remedy the situation, the plaintiff quit her job and filed a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Thereafter, she brought suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia, Augusta Division, asserting claims for hostile work environment and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as well as state law claims including battery, negligent retention and supervision, ratification, gross negligence, negligence per se, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The defendants filed a motion to dismiss the plaintiff’s complaint.

The Court’s Decision

The federal district court granted the defendants’ motion in part and denied it in part. To the extent that the plaintiff brought any Title VII claims against the supervisor in his individual capacity, those claims were dismissed. With regard to the plaintiff’s gender discrimination claim, however, the court denied the motion, concluding that the plaintiff’s amended complaint included sufficient facts to plausibly allege that the supervisor’s harassment was motivated by the plaintiff’s gender. The court also found in the plaintiff’s favor on the motion to dismiss her hostile work environment claim, finding that she had alleged sufficient facts to support a plausible claim for hostile work environment.

The court went on to hold that the defendants’ motion to dismiss some of the plaintiff’s state law claims as untimely was well-founded, thereby dismissing any causes of actions occurring more than two years prior to late 2018. The court also held that the plaintiff could not invoke Title VII as the statute underlying her negligence per se claim as such would have been a duplicative remedy under state law.

Speak to an Atlanta Attorney About Your Case

If you have been discriminated against or harassed at work, you should talk to a lawyer. There is a limited amount of time in which to take legal action in such situations, so it is important to contact an Atlanta employment discrimination attorney as soon as possible. For an appointment to speak with Attorney John Mays at Parks, Chesin & Walbert, call 877-986-5529.