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Tyree v. GCA Services Group Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division

January 9, 2018

DYLAN L. TYREE, Plaintiff,
v.
GCA SERVICES GROUP, INC. Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

         Hon. Glen E. Conrad Senior United States District Judge Dylan L. Tyree, proceeding pro se, filed this action against his former employer, GCA Services Group, Inc. ("GCA"). Tyree's amended complaint asserts claims of discrimination and retaliation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e to 2000e-17, and related claims under state law. GCA has moved to dismiss the amended complaint, pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the following reasons, the motion will be granted.

         Background

         The following facts, taken from Tyree's amended complaint, are accepted as true for purposes of the defendants' motion to dismiss. See Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) ("[W]hen ruling on a defendant's motion to dismiss, a judge must accept as true all of the factual allegations contained in the complaint.").

         GCA is a corporation based in Ohio that provides janitorial services in a variety of sectors, including school systems. Tyree, an African-American resident of Roanoke, Virginia, began working for GCA in January of 2014. At the time of his initial interview, Tyree was promised the opportunity to quickly advance in the company and earn $13.00 per hour within three months.

         Approximately two years later, Tyree's pay increased to $18.00 per hour after he agreed to temporarily relocate from Roanoke to Chesterfield, Virginia. Tyree alleges that the company offered to make him an account manager, or transfer him to Florida, if he was able to succeed in improving the cleanliness of a particular school. Although Tyree achieved the desired goal, he was not offered a new position with GCA.

         Tyree alleges that he was "overworked" while working in Chesterfield, and that he "continued to be overworked after returning to the Roanoke area." IcL at 15. Tyree indicates that his employment conditions were problematic and stressful, because of the lack of staff, inexperienced workers, language barriers, disgruntled workers, and wear and tear on his vehicle. His efforts to resolve these issues were unsuccessful.

         While working in Chesterfield, Tyree stayed in a hotel room at GCA's expense. However, GCA occasionally failed to pay the hotel bill. As a result, Tyree was "put out of the Hampton Inn" and forced to move to another hotel that was "filthy." Id. at 17.

         Tyree claims that he "faced retaliation because he was being paid more than some of the employees who had worked for the company for several years." Id. In particular, Tyree alleges that he was given a "more burdensome work schedule, with an increase in his workload, while work-related assistance decreased." Id. at 17-18. Tyree alleges that the "excessive, strenuous and constant exertion of physical activity while working with GCA" caused him to experience pain in the groin area, and that he continues to deal with the pain on a daily basis. Id. at 18.

         When Tyree relocated back to Roanoke, GCA arranged for him to stay in a motel because he no longer had an apartment there. Tyree's vehicle then broke down and he was forced to lease another vehicle. Tyree emphasizes that "GCA would not help [him] with getting an apartment, " and instead gave him $400.00 to use towards the deposit for a room in a boardinghouse. Id. at 20. Tyree claims that GCA used this as a tactic to force him to quit, and that he had no choice but to resign from the company in April of 2016.

         Approximately three months later, Tyree reapplied to work for GCA. Tyree was informed that his application was denied due to his criminal background. Id. at 5. Tyree emphasizes that he was convicted of a drug offense more than seven years ago, and that he therefore had the same criminal record when he was first hired to work for the company. Tyree cites to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's ("EEOC") guidance concerning the use of criminal records in the employment context, which indicates that an employer's neutral policy on criminal conduct "may disproportionately impact some individuals protected under Title VII, and may violate the law if not job related and consistent with business necessity (disparate impact liability)." Id. at 6 (quoting EEOC Enforcement Guidance No. 915.002, Consideration of Arrest and Conviction Records in Employment Decisions Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, available at https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/guidance/arrestconviction.cfm).

         Tyree indicates that he filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC on October 5, 2016. Id. at 2. On April 18, 2017, the EEOC dismissed the charge and notified Tyree of his right to sue. Id. at 3.

         Tyree filed the instant action against GCA on July 14, 2017. On October 23, 2017, Tyree filed an amended complaint. In the amended complaint, Tyree indicates that he is asserting the following claims:

A) Discrimination Based on My Criminal ...

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