United States District Court, D. New Jersey
MCNULTY United States District Judge
Carlton Harris alleges that his manager at Dunkin Donuts,
defendant Monil Patel, discriminated against him and harassed
him on the basis of race and color in violation of Title VII.
Defendant Patel has filed a motion to dismiss the complaint
for failure to state a claim.
Carlton Harris works at a Dunkin Donuts in Rockaway, New
Jersey. (Compl. at 3-4). Mr. Harris, who identifies as black,
alleges that his manager, defendant Monil Patel,
discriminated against him and harassed him on the basis of
race and color in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights
Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (Compl.
at 5-6). On February 25, 2016, Patel allegedly "was
emulating monkey noises" while Mr. Harris worked.
(Compl. at 7). On May 3, 2016, Patel allegedly "kept
calling [Mr. Harris] dumb because [he] did not know how to
put cups in a certain area." (Compl. at 7). On May 12,
2016, Patel allegedly "stated that he liked to kill
n*****'s in his spare time." (Compl. at
7). Mr. Harris alleges that this conduct is ongoing. (Compl.
about August 24, 2016, Mr. Harris filed a charge with the
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC").
(Compl. at 7). The EEOC issued a right-to-sue letter, which
Mr. Harris received on December 27, 2016. (Compl. at 7). He
filed this suit on January 24, 2017, within sixty days of
receiving his right-to-sue letter. (Compl. at 7-8).
September 8, 2017, Patel filed a motion to dismiss the
complaint for failure to state a claim. (Def. Br.). Mr.
Harris did not file a response. On September 29, 2017, I
entered an order that Mr. Harris show cause by filing an
opposition within 21 days, with a motion to file out of time,
or else defendant's motion to dismiss the complaint might
be treated as unopposed and granted. (ECF No. 16). On
November 22, 2017, I issued a second order that Mr. Harris
show cause by December 12, 2017 why the complaint should not
be dismissed without prejudice for lack of prosecution. (ECF
No. 17). On December 11, 2017, this Court received a letter
from Mr. Harris, which stated that his case should not be
dismissed because he is still trying to find a lawyer. (ECF
Mr. Harris did not respond as directed to either my first or
my second order to show cause, I will decide the motion to
dismiss without the benefit of a filed opposition. I do not,
however, merely grant it as unopposed; 1 consider the merits.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal
of a complaint, in whole or in part, if it fails to state a
claim upon which relief can be granted. For the purposes of a
motion to dismiss, the facts alleged in the complaint are
accepted as true and all reasonable inferences are drawn in
favor of the plaintiff. New Jersey Carpenters & the
Trs. Thereof v. Tishman Constr. Corp. of New Jersey, 760
F.3d 297, 302 (3d Cir. 2014). The complaint's factual
allegations must be sufficient to raise a plaintiffs right to
relief above a speculative level, so that a claim is
"plausible on its face." Bell Atl Corp. v.
Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). Technically, this is
a motion for judgment on the pleadings under Rule 12(c),
because the complaint has been answered. Because die motion
relies on the face of the complaint, die standard is die
same. Turbe v. Govt of Virgin Islands, 938 F.2d 427,
428 (3d Cir. 1991).
Harris brought a Title VII antidiscrimination suit against
Patel, his manager at Dunkin Donuts. Patel, however, is the
manager, not Mr. Harris's employer. Tide VII does not
recognize individual employee liability. See Sheridan v.
E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co., 100 F.3d 1061, 1077-78
(3d Cir. 1996) (en banc); see also Williams v. Pa. Human
Relations Comm'n, 870 F.3d 294, 299 & n.27 (3d
Cir. 2017); Vangjeli v. Philadelphia, 655 Fed.Appx.
132, 133 (3d Cir. 2016). Title VII provides, in relevant
It shall be an unlawful employment practice for an
to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual,
or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with
respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or
privileges of employment, because of such
individual's race, color, religion, sex, or national
42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1) (emphasis added). The statute
defines "employer" as "a person engaged in an
industry affecting commerce who has fifteen or more employees
... and any agent of such a ...