United States District Court, D. Colorado
ORDER ON A&E MOTIONS TO DISMISS
Brooke Jackson Judge
matter is before the Court on defendant A&E Tire,
Inc.'s, motions to dismiss Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission's (EEOC) and Egan J. Woodward's
complaints. ECF Nos. 18, 19 (Motions to Dismiss); ECF Nos. 1,
11 (Complaints). After reviewing the briefing, ECF Nos. 18,
19, 27, 34, this Court denies A&E's motions.
present purposes the Court construes the well-pleaded
allegations of fact in plaintiffs' complaints as true.
Plaintiffs allege that on May 15, 2014 A&E posted an ad
for a managerial position online. ECF No. 1 at ¶16. Mr.
Woodward, a transgender man, completed an application and
provided A&E with a copy of his resume on May 16, 2014.
Id. at ¶17-18. On the same day, an A&E
manager interviewed Mr. Woodward for roughly 45 minutes.
Id. at ¶21-23, 25. During said interview, Mr.
Woodward wore traditional male attire and a goatee, and the
manager did not recognize that Mr. Woodward was transgender.
Id. at ¶24, 25. Mr. Woodward and the manager
apparently got along well during the interview and connected
over their Midwestern roots. Id. at ¶26-27, 29.
discussed salary expectations, and the manager stated at
least twice that Mr. Woodward had the job if he could pass
pre-employment testing such as a drug test and criminal
background check. Id. at ¶30-33, 40. The
manager then gave Mr. Woodward a tour of the company's
premises, taking Mr. Woodward to various locations around the
property and introducing him as the new manager to any
employees they met along the way. Id. at ¶36.
The manager also asked Mr. Woodward for design input on the
new offices, asking him to draw up some plans. Id.
Woodward completed a screening consent form which authorized
the background check. Id. at ¶42. In response
to questions on that form, Mr. Woodward provided the name he
was assigned at birth, which is typically associated with the
female sex, and also checked a box indicating that his sex
was female. Id. at ¶42-44. After Mr. Woodward
left A&E Tire, he received a phone call from the manager
who said something to the effect of “I see on your drug
test that you checked female.” Id. at
¶46. Mr. Woodward confirmed that this was correct, and
the manager stated “Oh, that's all I need”
and abruptly hung up. Id. at ¶47-48.
following weeks, Mr. Woodward contacted A&E several times
in order to discuss completing the background screenings and
starting work. Id. at ¶49. On June 10, 2014-a
little less than a month since he was loosely promised the
job-Mr. Woodward finally spoke with the manager. Id.
at ¶51. Mr. Woodward was informed that the position was
given to another applicant, who had applied on May 21,
interviewed on June 6, and began work on June 10, 2014.
Id. at ¶52-54.
Woodward filed a charge with the EEOC alleging violations of
Title VII by A&E Tire. ECF No. 1 at ¶6. Title VII of
the Civil Rights Acts prohibits discrimination based on race,
color, sex, religion, or national origin. See Title
VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1) (providing, in relevant
part, “It shall be an unlawful employment practice for
an employer . . . to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge .
. . or otherwise to discriminate against any individual with
respect to his [or her] compensation, terms, conditions, or
privileges of employment, because of such individual's
race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”). The
EEOC is a governmental agency charged with the
administration, interpretation and enforcement of Title VII
and is expressly authorized to bring federal actions for
violations of such. See Title VII, 42 U.S.C. §
2000e-5(f)(1) and (3).
after Mr. Woodward filed a charge with the EEOC, the EEOC
provided A&E Tire with notice of the charge against it.
ECF No. 1 at ¶7-8. After conducting its own
investigation, the Commission issued a determination on June
30, 2016, informing A&E that the EEOC had reasonable
cause to believe that A&E Tire had violated Title VII
when it failed to hire Mr. Woodward “because of his
sex, male, and/or transgender status.” Id. at
¶ 9-10. The EEOC invited A&E Tire to join it in
informal methods of conciliation in an effort to eliminate
the unlawful employment practices and provide appropriate
relief. Id. at ¶11. A&E Tire participated
in conciliation, but ultimately the EEOC and A&E Tire
were unable to reach an agreement acceptable to the EEOC.
Id. at ¶12-13. As such, on June 27, 2017, the
Commission issued A&E Tire a Notice of Failure of
Conciliation. Id. at ¶14.
September 29, 2017, the EEOC filed this suit against A&E
Tire. ECF No. 1. On November 10, 2017 Mr. Woodward filed an
unopposed motion to intervene, ECF No. 9, which was granted.
ECF No. 10. On November 13, 2017 Mr. Woodward filed his
complaint. ECF No. 11. On December 15, 2017 A&E Tire
filed motions to dismiss both complaints. ECF Nos. 18, 19.
The EEOC and Mr. Woodward filed a joint response, ECF No. 27,
and A&E Tire filed a reply. ECF No. 34.
STANDARD OF REVIEW
survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to dismiss the complaints must
contain “enough facts to state a claim to relief that
is plausible on its face.” Ridge at Red Hawk,
L.L.C. v. Schneider, 493 F.3d 1174, 1177 (10th Cir.
2007) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 570 (2007)). A plausible claim is a claim that
“allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that
the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009). While
the Court must accept the well-pleaded allegations of the
complaint as true and construe them in the light most
favorable to the plaintiff, Robbins v. Wilkie, 300
F.3d 1208, 1210 (10th Cir. 2002), purely conclusory
allegations are not entitled to be presumed true,
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 681. However, so long as the
plaintiff offers sufficient ...