United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division
CARLTON W. REEVES UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court are defendants' motions to dismiss. Docket Nos.
6, 12. The Court finds both motions well-taken.
Factual and Procedural History
following recitation is drawn from plaintiff John
Wilson's complaint. Wilson started working for Topre
America Corporation as a quality inspector in November 2013.
In January 2017, he took time off through the Family and
Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) due to a knee injury.
He returned to work in April 2017. That June, while speaking
with an employee in the Human Resources Department, Wilson
expressed dissatisfaction with several of his supervisors and
their job performance.
August 2017, Wilson was informed by the Human Resources
Department that a complaint had been lodged against him by a
co-worker, Alicia Thomas. A few days later, Wilson reported
to a meeting with Thomas, another co-worker named Walter
Holmes, and staff from the Human Resources Department. The
Human Resources employee articulated the complaint against
Wilson as follows: while working one evening Wilson
approached Thomas, told her there was money sticking out of
her pocket, proceeded to put the money back in her pocket,
and said “Your booty is soft.” Holmes reported
that he had not seen Thomas and Wilson together on the night
of the alleged harassment. A few days after the meeting,
Wilson was terminated.
complaint alleges that Topre violated his rights under the
FMLA by firing him in retaliation for taking FMLA leave.
Wilson also alleges that Thomas tortiously interfered with
his employment. Topre and Thomas have both moved to
dismiss the claims against them.
considering a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), the
Court accepts the plaintiff's factual allegations as true
and makes reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor.
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). To
proceed, the complaint “must contain a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief.” Id. at 677-78 (quotation marks and
citation omitted). This requires “more than an
unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation,
” but the complaint need not have “detailed
factual allegations.” Id. at 678 (quotation
marks and citation omitted). The plaintiff's claims must
be plausible on their face, which means there is
“factual content that allows the court to draw the
reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the
misconduct alleged.” Id. (citation omitted).
“The purpose of a motion to dismiss is to test the
sufficiency of the complaint, not to decide the
merits.” Gibson v. City of Chicago, 910 F.2d
1510, 1520 (7th Cir. 1990) (citation omitted).
“To make a prima facie case of retaliation
under the FMLA, the plaintiff must show that: (1) [he] was
protected under the FMLA; (2) [he] suffered an adverse
employment decision; and either (3a) [he] was treated less
favorably than an employee who had not required leave under
the FMLA; or (3a) the adverse decision was made because he
took FMLA leave.”
McArdle v. Dell Prod., L.P., 293 Fed.Appx. 331, 336
(5th Cir. 2008).
argues that Wilson's complaint draws no connection
between his FMLA leave and his termination. Rather, Topre
argues that Wilson's own complaint demonstrates that his
firing was predicated on a series of events separate from his
FMLA leave, including the complaints he made about his
superiors and the sexual harassment claim lodged against him.
Charge of Discrimination Wilson filed with the EEOC, which he
included with his complaint, supports Topre's argument.
There, Wilson says he “was falsely accused of sexual
harassment and discharged.” Docket No. 1-2. Wilson told
the EEOC the false sexual harassment charge “was in
retaliation for information I gave to a human resources
representative who came to the plant to interview workers
about morale and things going on in the workplace.”
Id. The complaint elaborates more fully on these
details in the section styled “Statement of
Facts.” See Docket No. 1 ¶¶ 7-17.
The factual section concludes: “On August 9, 2017,
Plaintiff was terminated based on the false and
unsubstantiated sexual harassment claim made by Sakesha
Thomas.” Id. ¶ 18. The lone FMLA
reference in this factual section is that Wilson injured his
knee in January 2017, had to take FMLA leave, and returned to
work in April 2017. Id. ¶ 6.
the third prong of an FMLA retaliation claim, Wilson must
plead that an adverse employment decision was made against
him because he took FMLA leave. Wilson, however,
affirmatively pleads that his termination was made for
reasons other than his FMLA leave. Based upon the complaint
and the Charge of Discrimination, Wilson was terminated after
a co-worker lodged a sexual harassment complaint against him.
Further, there is no suggestion that the sexual harassment
allegation was made in retaliation for the FMLA leave.
Wilson's own complaint makes it impossible for ...