Title VII Hostile Work Environment Claim Dismissed as Not “Administratively Exhausted” at the EEOC

In Bethea v. First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company, 2023 WL 6284425 (D.S.C. Sept. 27, 2023), the court, inter alia, granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s hostile work environment claim, asserted under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, on the ground that it was not “administratively exhausted” at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

From the decision:

Likewise, the Court is not persuaded by Plaintiff’s objection that she exhausted her administrative remedies for any Title VII claims based on hostile work environment and disparate pay. As the Magistrate Judge explained, Plaintiff’s EEOC charge simply does not mention a hostile work environment or any of the alleged customer hostilities outlined in Plaintiff’s amended complaint. Nor does Plaintiff’s EEOC charge contain any mention of salary or disparate pay. Instead, Plaintiff’s EEOC charge refers to specific and narrow dates, which do not include any of the allegations of approximately fourteen years of alleged harassment outlined in Plaintiff’s amended complaint. See, e.g. O’Neal v. Wal-Mart Stores E. LP, No. 4:11-CV-01239-TLW, 2012 WL 2264689, at *1 (D.S.C. Apr. 3, 2012), report and recommendation adopted in part, No. CIV.A. 4:11-1239-TLW, 2012 WL 2264435 (D.S.C. June 18, 2012) (citing Malhotra v. KCI Techs., Inc., No. 06–1018, 2007 WL 2025197 (4th Cir. July 11, 2007)) (“Where a charge alleges only disparate treatment discrimination, claims of hostile work environment harassment are not sufficiently related to the initial charge to entitle the charging party to raise them in a subsequent lawsuit.”); see also Chako, 429 F.3d at 511 (explaining that “discrete acts of discrimination” such as “failure to promote and retaliatory demotion” are “clearly not allegations of a hostile work environment”).

After de novo review, therefore, the Court agrees with the Magistrate Judge that Plaintiff’s EEOC charge makes no reference to a hostile work environment or claims of disparate pay, as the EEOC charge includes none of the facts she alleges in her amended complaint to support such claims. Furthermore, because such claims are not reasonably related to the original charge or reasonably expected to be developed by investigation of the original charge, the Court concludes that Plaintiff has failed to administratively exhaust any Title VII claims based on hostile work environment or disparate pay.

Accordingly, the court granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss plaintiff’s Title VII claim.

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