United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Charlottesville Division
Glen E. Conrad Senior United States District Judge.
Carter, proceeding pro se, commenced this action by filing a
form complaint under Title VII of the Civil Rights of 1964
("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e to
2000e-17, against three individuals employed by BMS. The
plaintiff has not paid the filing fee but will be granted
leave to proceed in forma pauperis for purposes of
initial review of her complaint. For the following reasons,
the complaint will be dismissed without prejudice, pursuant
to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(b)(ii).
plaintiffs complaint indicates that she was hired to perform
commercial cleaning services for BMS. The plaintiff s
supervisor was an individual named Esperanza.[*] The plaintiff
alleges that she was the only one in her group of employees
who was "told what to do" by Esperanza, even though
the plaintiff "didn't need to be told." Compl.
2, Dkt. No. 2. When the plaintiff complained to Esperanza,
the supervisor advised her that the other employees had been
working for the company longer and did not require as much
instruction. The plaintiff construed Esperanza's comments
to suggest that the plaintiff was "stupid."
Id. The plaintiff further alleges that Esperanza
yelled at her, talked to her in "nasty ways,"
locked her out of a housekeeping closet, and prevented her
from using cleaning supplies. Id.
plaintiff reported Esperanza's behavior to a manager
named Marteen. Thereafter, an area manager named Coretta came
by to evaluate one of the buildings in which the plaintiff
was working. The plaintiff alleges that Coretta also tried to
show her how to do her job. On a subsequent occasion, the
plaintiff notified a supervisor that she was going to be late
to work. Although the plaintiff was only late by eleven
minutes, the supervisor "docked" the plaintiff for
being twenty minutes late. Id. 8.
plaintiff filed a form complaint against Esperanza, Marteen,
and Coretta on January 30, 2019, along with a "Dismissal
and Notice of Rights" letter from the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission. In response to being asked to state
what relief she is seeking, the plaintiff indicates that she
"would like to be stress free." Id. 10.
28 U.S.C. § 1915(e), which governs in forma
pauperis proceedings, the court has a mandatory duty to
screen initial filings. Eriline Co. S.A. v. Johnson,
440 F.3d 648, 656-57 (4th Cir. 2006). The court must dismiss
a case "at any time" if the court determines that
the complaint "fails to state a claim on which relief
may be granted." 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii).
standards for reviewing a complaint for dismissal under
§ 1915(e)(2)(B)(ii) are the same as those which apply
when a defendant moves for dismissal under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). De'Lonta v. Angelone,
330 F.3d 630, 633 (4th Cir. 2003). Thus, in reviewing a
complaint under this statute, the court must accept all
well-pleaded factual allegations as true and view the
complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.
Philips v. Pitt Cty. Mem. Hosp., 572 F.3d 176, 180
(4th Cir. 2009). To survive dismissal for failure to state a
claim, "a complaint must contain sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim for relief
that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly. 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)).
indicated above, Carter filed a form complaint designated for
pro se plaintiffs who wish to pursue a claim under Title VII.
However, "Title VII does not guarantee a happy
workplace, only one free from unlawful discrimination"
on the basis of a protected trait. Hartsell v. Duplex
Prods., Inc.. 123 F.3d 766, 773 (4th Cir. 1997); see
also 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a) ("It shall be an
unlawful employment practice for an employer ... to
discriminate against any individual with respect to [her]
compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment,
because of such individual's race, color, religion, sex,
or national origin[.]"). Because the plaintiffs
complaint is devoid of any indication that the plaintiff was
treated differently on the basis of her race, color,
religion, sex, or national origin, the complaint fails to
state a claim under Title VII.
even if the plaintiff had alleged sufficient facts to support
a viable claim of discrimination, Esperanza, Marteen, and
Coretta could not be held individually liable since they are
not the plaintiffs "employer" for purposes of Title
VII. See Lissau v. Southern Food Serv., Inc.. 159
F.3d 177, 180 (4th Cir. 1998) (holding that supervisors are
"not liable in their individual capacities for Title VII
reasons stated, the court will grant the plaintiffs motion
for leave to proceed in forma pauperis. However, her
complaint will be dismissed without ...