United States District Court, E.D. Virginia, Richmond Division
LISA M. WHITE, Plaintiff,
CARRY-ON TRAILER, INC., Defendant.
E. PAYNE SENIOR UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter is before the Court on PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR
LEAVE TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINT (ECF No. 25) . Lisa M. White
("White") seeks to amend the Complaint to add
several factual allegations in support of her hostile work
environment and retaliation claims. For the reasons set forth
below, the motion was denied. See ECF No. 54.
dispute here relates to interactions between White and her
direct supervisor, James Wilson Dean ("Dean"),
while they were employed at Carry-On. White had originally
worked for Carry-On from 2005 to 2006, and was re-hired on or
around June 13, 2016 to serve as an assembly line worker at
the company's manufacturing facility in Montross,
Virginia ("the Montross Plant"). Dean was employed
as a plant supervisor at that location from February 25, 2016
to October 25, 2016. Pursuant to Carry-On's direction,
Dean acted as White's direct supervisor between June 13
and October 17. Compl. (ECF No. 1) ¶¶ 20, 31-33.
to White, Dean routinely made unwanted sexual advances and
sexually explicit or degrading comments towards female
assembly line workers at the Montross Plant. For example,
Dean sometimes slapped female employees on their buttocks
when they were working, and placed stickers on their backs
and buttocks. On one occasion, he picked up an employee, Ms.
Ochoa-Chavez, with his hand on her crotch area, leading
Ochoa-Chavez to submit a complaint to Greg Moon
("Moon"), Carry-On's human resources manager.
Carry-On allegedly failed to conduct a reasonable
investigation into that conduct and did not discipline Dean.
Other female workers similarly complained about Dean's
sexual harassment, but Carry-On did not investigate those
complaints and took no preventive or corrective measures
against Dean. Id. ¶¶ 21-30. In fact, White
claims, Carry-On lacked a coherent sexual harassment policy,
as the one it had contained material inconsistencies.
Id. ¶¶ 14-19.
in particular became a frequent target of Dean's
inappropriate actions. During the period in which Dean
supervised White, he often talked in crude terms about her
buttocks, looked at her in a sexually suggestive manner, and
intentionally touched or rubbed her buttocks and breasts or
undergarments. In addition, when White rebuffed Dean's
advances, he allegedly treated her less favorably than
another female employee, Vanessa Becerra
("Becerra"), who "welcome[d]" that
conduct. Specifically, Dean assigned White to less desirable
or more difficult work on the assembly line or elsewhere in
the Montross Plant, and he continued to insult and display
sexually charged behavior at her. He also threatened to
switch White to the night shift, which he knew would
interfere with her family responsibilities. Id.
¶¶ 34-43, 46.
around October 17, 2016, White submitted a formal complaint
and report about Dean's behavior to Moon and the Montross
Plant's general manager. Carry-On terminated Dean's
employment on October 31. The next day, Carry-On reassigned
White to the night shift. White contends that this
reassignment was retaliation for complaining about Dean's
inappropriate conduct, which had only occurred because
Carry-On had facilitated a hostile work environment.
Id. ¶¶ 47-51.
result, on February 17, 2017, White filed a Charge of
Discrimination against Carry-On with the United States Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC").
Id. ¶ 7; see also EEOC Charge (ECF No.
1-1) . The EEOC Charge contained essentially the same
allegations outlined above, although it described Dean's
vulgar comments to White in more detail. In particular, as in
the Complaint here, White's retaliation claim was
predicated solely on her assignment to the night shift.
See EEOC Charge at 2 ("After Dean's
employment ended, my supervisors temporarily switched me to
the night shift. I believe this shift change was retaliation
for me reporting Dean's conduct.").
first sued Carry-On and Dean in Virginia state court on
August 25, 2017 ("the State Action"). That Action
was based on the same facts asserted here and in the EEOC
Charge. After the parties had conducted some discovery,
including Carry-On's production of White's entire
personnel file, the State Action was stayed pending
resolution of this case. Def. Opp. (ECF No. 27) at 2 & n.
around September 28, 2017, the EEOC responded to the EEOC
Charge by issuing a Dismissal and Notice of Suit Rights.
Compl. ¶ 9. Then, on December 12, White timely filed
this Complaint pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964 ("Title VII"). See 42 U.S.C. §
2000e-5(f)(1). She asserted:
(1) A sexually hostile work environment claim, under 42
U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1), based on Dean's conduct
towards White and other female employees and Carry-On's
failure to address or punish that behavior, Compl.
(2) A sexual harassment/quid pro quo claim, under 42
U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1), based on Dean's less
favorable treatment of White compared to others, like
Becerra, who did not resist Dean's ...