Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Shalana Williams v. Patrick R. Donahoe

March 23, 2012

SHALANA WILLIAMS, PLAINTIFF,
v.
PATRICK R. DONAHOE, POSTMASTER GENERAL OF THE UNITED STATES POSTAL SERVICE , DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Rufe, J.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

Plaintiff Shalana Williams has filed suit to redress Defendant's alleged violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. *fn1 Before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint. For the reasons that follow, the Motion will be denied.

I. F ACTUAL AND P ROCEDURAL B ACKGROUND

In 1999, Ms. Williams began working as a mailhandler at the United States Postal Service's bulk mail center ("BMC") in northeast Philadelphia. *fn2 In 2002, she was promoted to Acting Supervisor at the BMC, earning a higher wage than she had earned as a mailhandler. *fn3

However, Ms. Williams alleges that in 2005, "her ascension within the Postal Service was deliberately and cruelly halted." *fn4 According to Ms. Williams, the Postal Service incorrectly came to believe that Ms. Williams had assisted another Acting Supervisor in filing an Equal Employment Opportunity ("EEO") complaint; the Postal Service -- "notorious for its retaliatory vengeance" -- then "swiftly stripped [Ms. Williams] of her Acting Supervisor responsibilities, and demoted her to regular mailhandler." *fn5 Ms. Williams's demotion meant a loss in earnings of more than $10,000 per year. *fn6 Ms. Williams filed a Postal Service EEO complaint for retaliation, the outcome of which is not noted in the Amended Complaint. *fn7

In January 2007, Ms. Williams alleges she was falsely accused of fabricating a witness statement and fired. *fn8 After she filed another EEO complaint for retaliation, the Postal Service "brought [Ms. Williams] back to work." *fn9 Upon returning to work, however, Ms. Williams realized her prospects for career advancement to Acting Supervisor were "over for good," and sought a new avenue of upward mobility through the Postal Service's Associate Supervisor Program ("ASP"). *fn10 In 2007, Ms. Williams completed the written exam required for admission to the ASP. *fn11 On January 11, 2008, Ms. Williams was denied admission to the ASP because she did not pass the "Reasoning" portion of the test. *fn12 Ms. Williams believes that the Postal Service's proffered explanation for the denial is pretextual, alleging that the Reasoning portion of the exam was the easiest portion of the exam, and she had passed it the previous time she took the test. *fn13

On February 16, 2008, one month after being denied admittance to the ASP, Ms. Williams learned that another individual had been accepted into the ASP despite having failed to complete the last two pages of the Reasoning portion of the exam and to meet the ASP's attendance standard. *fn14 The individual who was admitted to the ASP had not filed a previous EEO complaint for retaliation. *fn15 On March 26, 2008, Ms. Williams was suspended for 14 days for cursing on the workroom floor; the 14-day suspension was later reduced to a seven-day, no time served, suspension during the grievance process. *fn16

Ms. Williams initiated contact with an EEO counselor on March 10, 2008 based upon her denial of admission into the ASP. She filed a formal Postal Service EEO complaint on June 23, 2008 based on both her denial of admission into the ASP and her suspension. In filing her EEO complaint, Ms. Williams relied upon the February 16 date when she learned that another individual had gained admission to the ASP, as the date of the alleged discriminatory act. After an investigation, *fn17 the Postal Service issued a final agency decision on August 30, 2010, denying Ms. Williams's claims of discrimination. The decision did not address whether Ms. Williams timely initiated contact with an EEO counselor following the alleged discriminatory act but decided the issues on their merits. Ms. Williams timely filed the instant action on October 4, 2010, within ninety days of her receipt of notice of the agency decision. *fn18

II. S TANDARD OF R REVIEW

Pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), dismissal of a complaint for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted is appropriate where a plaintiff's "plain statement" lacks enough substance to show that he is entitled to relief. *fn19 In determining whether a motion to dismiss should be granted, the court must consider only those facts alleged in the complaint, accepting the allegations as true and drawing all logical inferences in favor of the non-moving party. *fn20 Courts are not, however, bound to accept as true legal conclusions couched as factual allegations. *fn21 Something more than a mere possibility of a claim must be alleged; rather plaintiff must allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." *fn22 The complaint must set forth "direct or inferential allegations respecting all the material elements necessary to sustain recovery under some viable legal theory." *fn23 The court has no duty to "conjure up unpleaded facts that might turn a frivolous . . . action into a substantial one." *fn24
"To decide a motion to dismiss, courts generally consider only the allegations contained in the complaint, exhibits attached to the complaint and matters of public record." *fn25 However, a court may properly consider "an undisputedly authentic document that a defendant attaches as an exhibit to a motion to dismiss if the plaintiff's claims are based on the document." *fn26 Here, Defendant attaches several exhibits pertaining to the administrative background of this case; Ms. Williams concedes that the documents relating to the administrative proceedings are undisputedly authentic and does not oppose their consideration given that her claims are based, in part, on these documents. The Court therefore considers the documents attached to the Motion to Dismiss to the extent they concern the administrative process and are undisputed. The Court will not, however, consider those documents which do not concern this process and which are presented to contradict or expand upon the allegations contained in the Amended Complaint.

III. D ISCUSSION

Ms. Williams brings her retaliation claim based on two alleged discriminatory acts: (1) denial of admission to the ASP; and (2) her 14-day suspension for cursing. Defendant argues that the claim should be dismissed with respect to the first act because Ms. Williams failed to initiate contact with an EEO counselor within 45 days of the alleged discriminatory conduct.

Defendant argues that the claim should be dismissed with respect to the second act because the suspension does not constitute an adverse employment action ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.