Title VII Retaliation Claim Dismissed; Allegation That Plaintiff “Voiced Concerns,” Without More Detail, Held Insufficient

In Ahmed v. Christine Wormuth, Secretary, Department of the Army, 2023 WL 2309776 (N.D.Cal., 2023), the court, inter alia, granted defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s retaliation claim asserted under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

This case illustrates the importance of clearly articulating, in one’s complaint, the “protected activity” at issue:

The Complaint alleges only that Ahmed was retaliated against for “voicing concerns.” ECF No. 1 at 2. Without more facts, the Court cannot analyze whether Ahmed has plausibly alleged a claim of retaliation. For one, the claim suffers in the same way as the discrimination claims, as it is unclear when the adverse employment actions occurred and whether the claim before the Court is timely. Further, as to protected activity, Ahmed’s opposition indicates that he spoke out against management in December 2020, but the Complaint contains no such details. ECF No. 19 at 7. It is also unclear whether Ahmed is alleging he engaged in other activity for which he was retaliated against. For example, his administrative complaint notes reprisal for an EEOC conference on July 16, 2021, but that is not alleged in the Complaint nor discussed in his opposition as a basis for his retaliation claim. ECF No. 13-1 at 2; ECF No. 19 at 7.

It concluded by recommending that, should plaintiff amend his complaint, “he provide more facts about this voicing concerns, to plausibly infer that this activity is protected under Title VII.”

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