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United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania
July 16, 2020, Decided; July 16, 2020, Filed
[*121] Defendant's Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim, ECF No. 15 — GRANTED, in part, and DENIED, in part
Joseph F. Leeson, Jr.
United States District Judge
In this employment discrimination action, Plaintiff Jane Doe1 ("Doe") sues her former employer, Triangle Doughnuts, LLC ("Triangle"), for myriad2 violations of her civil rights based on her race, as well as her transgender and HIV-positive status. Before the Court is Triangle's motion to dismiss the Amended Complaint for failure to state a claim. For the reasons set forth below, Triangle's motion is granted, in part, and denied, in part.
A. Facts alleged in the Amended Complaint3
[*122] Doe is a transgender female4 who identifies herself by a female name and female [**2] pronouns. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 13, 14(a). She is also HIV-positive and a person of color.5 Id. ¶¶ 70(f), 4. Doe was hired in or around March 2018 to work as a cashier at Triangle, which operates a Dunkin' Donuts in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Id. ¶¶ 3, 12.
Doe alleges that during the course of her employment between March 2018 and May 2018, she experienced harassment and discrimination by coworkers and customers. See Am. Compl. ¶ 14. Doe's coworkers regularly misgendered Doe with a male name and male pronouns despite her requests to use her female name and female pronouns. Id. ¶ 14(c). For instance, Doe's Shift Supervisor, Lisa, Last Name Unknown ("LNU"), held a supervisory role in the company and would frequently use Doe's male legal name, male pronouns, and "dude" when referring to Doe, despite Doe's requests for her to use female pronouns and a preferred female name. Id. ¶¶ 14(a)-(b). Other coworkers in managerial positions, such as Stephanie Almanzar, the manager, and Anot LNU, the assistant manager, acted similarly by regularly referring to Doe as "he," which encouraged further misgendering and harassment by both coworkers and third-party customers. Id. ¶¶ 14(c), (d). Coworkers [**3] also asked Doe inappropriate and probing questions throughout her employment. For example, Sarah LNU, Doe's coworker, asked Doe "are you a tranny?" Id. ¶ 14(e). Another coworker, Beyonce LNU, asked Doe about her "sexual orientation," and whether Doe was going to have "[her] penis removed." Id. ¶¶ 14(g), (h). And Lisa LNU asked Doe "why do you wear a bra if you don't have breasts?" Id. ¶ 14(q). When Doe responded by stating that she is a transgender female and identifies as female, Lisa LNU stated "boy, you know you're not." Id.
Customers, including regular customers, misgendered Doe on a frequent and sometimes daily basis. Am. Compl. ¶ 14(i). On one occasion, a customer stated "I don't want him serving me at the register" when referring to Doe. Id. ¶ 14(j). Another customer complained about having to use female pronouns or a female name when referring to Doe because she was "not a girl." Id. ¶ 14(k). On another occasion, a customer stated to Doe, "[y]ou're a man." Id. ¶ 14(m). Doe states that she frequently corrected and rebuffed these customers for their misgendering and harassment. Id. ¶¶14(i), (k), 34, 35, 59. However, rather than addressing or preventing customer behaviors of misgendering [**4] and gender stereotyping, Doe's supervisors acceded to the harassment and reassigned her to duties that were out of the view of customers. Id. ¶ 14(j). Lisa LNU also threatened to write Doe up if she did not work where she was assigned. Id. Doe was also told "[d]on't use the women's bathroom" because "[customers] don't feel comfortable with you going in there." Id. ¶ 14(l).
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472 F. Supp. 3d 115 *; 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125250 **; 2020 WL 4013409
JANE DOE, Plaintiff, v. TRIANGLE DOUGHNUTS, LLC, Defendant.
Prior History: Doe v. Triangle Doughnuts, LLC, 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 109495 (E.D. Pa., June 23, 2020)
gender, disability, allegations, customers, female, motion to dismiss, stereotyping, hostile work environment, transgender, coworkers, accommodate, hostile work environment claim, retaliation, survive, termination, pleaded, protected activity, misgendered, wrongful termination, retaliation claim, impairment, dysphoria, adverse employment action, reasonable accommodation, detrimentally, employees, severe, retaliatory termination, discrimination claim, discriminatory