United States District Court, D. Delaware
Drummond, Newark, Delaware; Pro Se Plaintiff.
K. Victor, Esquire, Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP,
Wilmington, Delaware, Counsel for Defendant.
ANDREWS, U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
Tia Drummond, who proceeds pro se, filed this
employment discrimination action on November 8, 2017, in the
Superior Court of the State of Delaware in and for New Castle
County. (D.I. 1). Defendant Amazon.com, Inc. removed the
action to this Court on February 21, 2008, after Plaintiff
indicated her claims included a hostile work environment
claim under Title VII. (D.I. 1-3 at 12-13). The Court has
jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. On March 9,
2018, Plaintiff filed an amended complaint. (D.I. 6). Pending
before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss and
Plaintiffs opposition. (D.I. 7, 8, 9). Briefing on the matter
is a Black/African American female (D.I. 6 at 19) who was
employed by Defendant. The original complaint raised
employment discrimination claims under Delaware law. (D.I.
1-1). The amended complaint raises employment discrimination
claims "under the Federal Civil Rights statu[t]e,"
presumably 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., for
retaliation, harassment (hostile work environment), and
discrimination (race and gender), but does not mention
Delaware's employment discrimination statutes. (D.I. 6 at
18-20). It also contains an intentional infliction of
emotional distress claim under state law. (Id. at
January 7, 2016, Plaintiff was at her work station working
alongside Kenneth Jeffreys, a "mature white male."
(Id. at 2). A box she had made was not the
appropriate size, and she began searching for an
appropriate-sized box. (Id. at 2-3). "Without
warning," she noticed Jeffrey's arm, and then his
hand, "going across [her] face, reaching to pull out the
box [she had] just made." (Id. at 3). Plaintiff
was irritated by Jeffreys' action; she pushed the box
back, stating that she did not need it. (Id.).
Jeffreys moved back and threatened her, "You're
about to get smacked." (Id.). Plaintiff was
"livid" and "challenged him to do what he said
he was going to do while at the same time yelling for a
manager or [Process Assistant," but no one
"budged." (Id.). Plaintiff did not feel
safe and did not take the threats lightly, "especially
from a male." (Id.). Plaintiff "logged off
and left to report the incident to [her] Area Manager, David
"Brian" Byers," a white male. (Id.)
Plaintiff explained what had happened, and Byers escorted
Plaintiff to HR so she could file an incident report.
next day Plaintiff was called to HR about the incident. She
met with two HR individuals, both white males. She explained
what happened the day before. The incident had been
video-recorded. It was viewed on a monitor, and Plaintiff was
told that should something like this happen again, to
"just walk away, and come to HR." (Id. at
4). Plaintiff responded that she was a domestic violence
victim and thought she handled the situation "very
well." (Id.). Plaintiff was asked, "if the
associate apologizes, can you accept his apology and all
[will] be well?" (Id.). Plaintiff answered,
"No." (Id. at 4-5).
January 16, 2016, Plaintiff became upset and left work early
after learning that Jeffreys was still employed.
(Id. at 5). On January 20, 2016, Plaintiff told
Defendant's General Manager that she "fe[lt]
unsafe," and that it was unfair that Jeffreys was still
employed. (Id.). The General Manager told Plaintiff
to meet with him on January 27, 2016, after he completed an
investigation. (Id.) When Plaintiff went to meet
with the general manager, he was in a meeting. (Id.)
morning of January 28, 2016, Plaintiff received a "time
off task" or "TOT" warning. (Id. at
6). Later that day, Plaintiff was told to report to HR.
(Id.). When she arrived, she was told she was being
terminated for being TOT for 236 minutes the prior day, that
is, the day when she was supposed to meet with the General
Manager. (Id.). Plaintiff stated the termination was
in retaliation forgoing to the General Manager, and she
appealed the termination. (Id.). The next day,
Plaintiff filed "a discrimination claim [with] the
Department of Labor against Amazon for retaliation."
(Id.). Following an appeal hearing before the
General Manager, Plaintiff received an email to return to
work on her next scheduled work day and notified that TOT
would be resolved with a first written warning. (Id.
returned to work on February 10, 2016. (Id. at 7).
The Area Manager, Byers, mocked her every single day of the
week, making comments about a write-up or first written
warning. (Id.). On February 13, 2016, Byers gave
Plaintiff a TOT for 107 minutes. (Id. at 8). At some
point in time after she returned to work, Plaintiff applied
and was selected for a position in "Damage and
Control." (Id. at 8). On two occasions
Plaintiff sought a shift change to get away from Jeffreys,
Byers, and Brian Peters of HR. (Id.). Plaintiff did
not receive a shift change, but Jeffreys was transferred to a
different department and Byers was transferred to a different
shift. (Id. at 8-9).
one year later, on January 26, 2017, Plaintiff was sitting in
her car in Defendant's parking lot, before her shift
began, while it was still dark, when William Alexander, a
white male co-worker in Plaintiff's department,
approached her vehicle and said, "I'm bigger than
you. I'm faster than you. If I catch you on the road and
cut off another vehicle, driving like you do, I'll make
sure I put your ass in a ditch!" (Id. at 9).
Plaintiff was "in shock" that she had been
"threatened, again, for no reason by another white
male." (Id. at 9-10). A witness to the event
reported it to HR, as did Plaintiff. (Id. at 10).
The next day, HR told Plaintiff that "the matter was
taken care of." (Id.). However, Alexander was
back at work on March 1, 2017, and, when Plaintiff questioned
HR, she was told he won his appeal; that is, he was
reinstated. (Id. at 11). Plaintiff left the
workplace to file a police report and a complaint with the
Department of Labor for a hostile work environment.
(Id. at 12). Plaintiff worked sporadically until
March 8, 2017, because she was not capable of functioning
under the working conditions. (Id. at 12-13). During
this time, HR determined that it did not find Plaintiff's
"life to be in danger." (Id. at 13).
her return to work on March 8, 2017, Plaintiff was told that
Alexander had resigned, but Plaintiff looked him up in the
system and he was designated "active."
(Id. at 14). The next day, Plaintiff was asked to
report to HR. (Id. at 14). Plaintiff was questioned
by HR and, in turn, she voiced her concerns that Alexander
was "active" in the system: "he can get his
badge activated, walk in here with a gun, sho[o]t me, throw
the gun in the compactor, and walk out the front door like
nothing happened." (Id. at 15). Plaintiff
became extremely agitated, left the meeting, and returned to
March 10, 2017, Plaintiff's manager, Rushit Mehta, asked
her why she was not working the day before, and Plaintiff
replied that HR had upset her, and she could not get focused
after her meeting with HR. (Id. at 16). Then,
"in a harsh and forceful manner," Mehta asked
Plaintiff why she was "not working for 221 minutes on
yesterday." (Id. at 17). Plaintiff states that
she was "[f]ed up," said "I'm done,"
"left to report" to the General Manager, but he was
not in his office; she "clocked out and left for the
day." (Id.). Plaintiff thought she was being
treated unfairly by HR and her manager, and that she
"was being retaliated against for speaking up for
[her]self." (Id. at 17).
next day, Plaintiff was approached by an HR representative
and her manager, escorted to HR, and terminated.
(Id.). Plaintiff filed a second charge of
discrimination for retaliation on March 13, 2017, and
received a notice of right to sue on November 3, 2017.
(Id.). She seeks compensatory and punitive damages.
(Id. at 20).
moves to dismiss on the grounds that Plaintiff: (1) has
failed to plead sufficient facts to make out a plausible
claim; (2) has failed to state a prima facie hostile work
environment claim; (3) has failed to adequately plead a Title
VII gender or race discrimination claim or a retaliation