Title VII Sexual Harassment Claim Dismissed, as Not Administratively Exhausted

In Maldonado v. City of Midland, MO:23-CV-00037-DC-RCG, 2023 WL 6978077 (W.D.Tex. October 5, 2023), the court, inter alia, recommended the dismissal of plaintiff’s claim of sexual harassment claim, asserted under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, on the ground that she failed to exhaust her administrative remedies as to that claim.

From the decision:

Defendants attack Plaintiff Maldonado’s exhaustion of administrative remedies as to her sexual harassment claim because her EEOC charge “did not allege any facts that speak to sexual harassment.” (Doc. 7 at 9). Additionally, “she fails to describe any allegations in the narrative section that would amount to sexual harassment. Sex-based discrimination and sexual harassment claims are distinct claims.” Id. (internal citation omitted) (citing Clark v. Kraft Foods, Inc., 18 F.3d 1278, 1280–81 (5th Cir. 1994); Weaver v. Basic Energy Servs, L.P., No. MO-13-CV-022, 2014 WL 12513180, at *3 (W.D. Tex. Jan 8, 2014), aff’d 578 F. App’x 449 (5th Cir. 2014)). Defendants also argue that “a sexual harassment claim could not reasonably be expected to grow out of the Charge. Plaintiff’s Charge contains only allegations of unfair treatment,” and that the allegations in Plaintiff Maldonado’s EEOC charge “do not place the City on notice of a sexual harassment claim.” Id. at 9–10.

Plaintiff Maldonado does not directly address this argument in her Response. Instead, she argues her EEOC filing was timely. (Doc. 8 at 4–5). However, that is not the relevant issue. The relevant issue is if, via a liberal interpretation, Plaintiff Maldonado’s EEOC charge sufficiently raises the issue of sexual harassment. It is clear it does not. Plaintiff’s EEOC charge is devoid of any allegations related to unwelcome sexual advances, sexual harassment, or derogatory sexual comments. (Doc. 7-1). Plaintiff Maldonado’s statements in her EEOC charge are insufficient for the Court to reasonably expect a sexual harassment investigation to grow from them.

Accordingly, the court held that plaintiff failed to exhaust her administrative remedies regarding her sexual harassment claim, and thus recommended the dismissal of plaintiff’s hostile work environment sexual harassment claim. This dismissal was, however, “without prejudice”, such that the plaintiff would have the right to return to court after said remedies have been exhausted.

Share This: