United States District Court, W.D. Arkansas, Fayetteville Division
OPINION AND ORDER
TIMOTHY L. BROOKS UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court are Defendant Regis Corporation d/b/a Regis
Salon's ("Regis") Motion to Dismiss (Doc. 6)
and Brief in support (Doc. 7). On May 31, 2016, Plaintiff
Robert Deon Huff filed a Response (Doc. 13) in opposition to
the Motion. In reviewing the Motion to Dismiss, the Court has
also considered the pleadings; Mr. Huffs Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") Charge of
Discrimination, which was attached to the
Motion; and the Exhibits attached to the
Complaint. For the reasons stated herein, the Court now
GRANTS the Motion to Dismiss.
Deon Huff is a former employee of Regis #321 at the Northwest
Arkansas Mall in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Mr. Huff worked at
Regis as a stylist from some time in 1992 until January 13,
2015, when Regis terminated him. On April 9, 2015, 86 days
after Regis terminated Mr. Huff, he filed a Charge of
Discrimination with the EEOC against Regis. The Charge
alleged age discrimination, discrimination based on a
"[h]ostile work environment, " and "harassment
based on age and sexual orientation." (Doc. 6-1). Mr.
Huff filed his Charge in accordance with Title VII of the
Civil Rights Act ("Title VII") and the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA").
Huff contends that he was fired due to his age and his status
as a gay man. Mr. Huff further maintains in his EEOC Charge:
Beginning in approximately March of 2013, and continuing
thereafter, certain supervisors and employees of Regis who
were superior to me began to tease me about my age and sexual
orientation. At times I was referred to as the salon
"Matriarch" or the "Residential Fairy of
Regis." This occurred in approximately November, 2014.
Over the course of time from approximately March, 2013,
continually until and including January 13, I was subjected
to ridicule by my co-workers and superiors at work, such as
being required to deliver a public apology (standing in the
middle of the salon in front of everyone present) for
something I was accused of doing which I did not do. It was a
humiliating and inappropriate way to handle that situation
even if I had done what my superiors claimed that I did. I
was suspended without cause in November 2014. There were
multiple instances in which I was teased about my age and
sexual orientation on a regular basis from March 2013 up to
the date I was terminated on January 13, 2015.
Huffs Complaint also appears to allege that customers were
torn away from him "[d]ue to [his] religion and sexual
orientation." (Doc. 3). Though he does not identify the
specific facts surrounding this incident or incidents, Mr.
Huff claims that "[t]his situation has caused defamation
of character." Id.
responds that Mr. Huff was not fired for discriminatory
reasons. Instead, Regis terminated Mr. Huff for failing to
return to work on time after taking time off for personal
leave, and for his prior suspension due to
"unprofessionalism and his actions in front of a walk-in
guest." (Doc. 7, p. 1).
September 23, 2015, the EEOC dismissed Mr. Huffs
discrimination charge and sent him a "Right-to-Sue"
letter. See Doc. 3-2. On March 23, 2016, 182 days
after the EEOC issued Mr. Huff his Right-to-Sue letter, Mr.
Huff filed the current Complaint before the Court. On April
21, 2016, Regis filed its Motion to Dismiss arguing first
that Mr. Huffs age, sexual orientation, and possible
religious discrimination claims should be dismissed because
the claims are time-barred, and because Mr. Huff failed to
state a claim for each charge; and second, that Mr. Huffs
defamation claim also should be dismissed due to a time-bar
and for failure to state a claim.
Response, Mr. Huff concedes that his discrimination claims
are time-barred: "I understand about the time limits
clearly. It was a misjudgment to turn the EEOC Right to Sue
letter in late." (Doc. 13). However, he argues that his
claims should not be dismissed because he feels he has
evidence to prove his case on the merits, and
"[e]veryone in the United States has a right to be heard
in front of a judge and even a right to a fair trial."
survive a motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), the
complaint must present "a short and plain statement of
the claim that the pleader is entitled to relief."
Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). The intention of this is to "give
the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim is and the
grounds upon which it rests." Erickson v.
Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 93 (2007) (quoting Bell Atl.
Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)). Even so,
the complaint "must contain sufficient factual matter,
accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is
plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal,
556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S.
at 570). "A claim has facial plausibility when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged." Id. "A
pleading that offers 'labels and conclusions' or
'a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of
action will not do.' Nor does a complaint suffice if it
tenders 'naked assertions]' devoid of 'further
factual enhancement.'" Id. In short,
"the pleading standard that Rule 8 announces does not
require 'detailed factual allegations, ' but it
demands more than an unadorned, the
defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation." Id.
(quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555).