United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin
TARIK S. HOLLIS, Plaintiff,
G4S SECURE SOLUTIONS (USA) INC., Defendant.
DECISION AND ORDER
ADELMAN, DISTRICT JUDGE
Hollis alleges that his former employer, G4S Secure Solutions
(USA) Inc., discriminated against him on the basis of
religion and retaliated against him for complaining about
that discrimination, in violation of Title VII of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964. Before me now is G4S's motion to
either dismiss the complaint under Federal Rules of Civil
Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) or require the plaintiff to
provide a more definite statement under Rule 12(e).
complaint alleges that Hollis began working for G4S as a
security guard on February 21, 2016. Hollis is Muslim, and he
wears a full beard as part of his deeply held religious
beliefs. In his first or second week on the job, one of
Hollis's supervisors, Mike Graybeck, gestured to
plaintiff to remove his beard. Graybeck made this gesture in
front of Jeff Obst, who was plaintiff's immediate
supervisor. In May 2016, Hollis's new supervisor, Keith
Sexton, told Hollis that their customer who “pays the
bills” did not want a security guard with a beard.
(Compl. ¶ 10.) Sexton also told Hollis to go somewhere
else “where they let you grow facial hair.”
(Id.) Sexton's supervisor, James Joyce, also
told Hollis that he could not wear facial hair at the
client's site. Hollis told Sexton that wearing a beard
was part of his Muslim faith.
talked to G4S's human-resources manager about his beard,
and he was told to write an email to G4S's corporate
office in Minnesota about it. On May 29, 2016, Hollis wrote
an email to Mark Nicholson, the property manager at the
client site, in which he explained that he wore a beard for
religious purposes and asked that he be allowed to remain on
site with his beard. Shortly thereafter, Hollis was removed
from the site and told that his shift had been filled.
3, 2016, Hollis filed a complaint of employment
discrimination against G4S with the U.S. Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission. On June 4, 2016, Hollis sent an email
to G4S's human-resources manager in which he again
informed the manager that he was Muslim. Hollis also
contacted defendant's “recruit manager, ”
Yolanda Bollard, who told Hollis that he had been removed for
having facial hair. (Compl. ¶ 18.)
1, 2016, G4S terminated Hollis's employment. On July 19,
2016, Hollis filed an employment-discrimination and
retaliation complaint against G4S with the EEOC. The EEOC
issued Hollis a right-to-sue letter on September 8, 2017.
Hollis alleges that he “has exhausted all of his
administrative remedies and has satisfied all conditions
precedent to bringing this action.” (Compl. ¶ 22.)
alleges that he was terminated because of his religion and
because he opposed discrimination in the workplace, in
violation of Title VII. G4S moves to dismiss the complaint on
two grounds: (1) for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction
because Hollis “did not attach his EEOC Charge of
Discrimination to his Complaint” (Br. in Supp. at 2,
ECF No. 8), and (2) for failure to allege sufficient facts to
state a claim for relief under Title VII. As an alternative
to dismissal, G4S seeks an order requiring Hollis to provide
a more definite statement.
respect to subject-matter jurisdiction, G4S argues that a
Title VII plaintiff must attach his EEOC charge of
discrimination to his complaint so that the court can ensure
that the claims alleged in the complaint are within the scope
of the charge. However, the statutory requirement to file a
charge of discrimination with the EEOC “is not a
jurisdictional prerequisite to suit in federal court.”
Zipes v. Trans World Airlines, Inc., 455 U.S. 385,
393 (1982). Thus, Hollis's failure to attach his EEOC
charge to his complaint does not affect subject-matter
jurisdiction. Moreover, there is no rule of pleading that
requires a plaintiff to attach the charge to the complaint.
See EEOC v. Concentra Health Servs., Inc., 496 F.3d
773, 778 (7th Cir. 2007). Accordingly, I will not dismiss the
complaint for failure to attach the charge. If G4S believes
that Hollis's suit is outside the scope of his charge,
then it may file a motion for summary judgment on that
ground. See Cheek v. W. & So. Life Ins. Co., 31
F.3d 497, 499-500 (7th Cir. 1994).
next argues that the complaint should be dismissed for
failure to state a claim because Hollis has not alleged all
the elements necessary to establish prima facie
cases of religious discrimination and retaliation. (Br. in
Supp. at 4-5.) However, the Supreme Court has expressly held
that a plaintiff alleging employment discrimination does not
have to plead the elements of a prima facie case
because the prima facie case is an evidentiary
standard rather than a pleading requirement. Swierkiewicz
v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 510-15 (2002). Although
this holding predates cases such as Bell
Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), and
Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662 (2009), it is still
good law. See, e.g., Luevano v. Wal-Mart Stores,
Inc., 722 F.3d 1014, 1028 (7th Cir. 2013).
prevailing federal notice-pleading standards, a plaintiff
alleging employment discrimination need only allege the type
of discrimination that he thinks occurred, by whom, and when.
See Swanson v. Citibank, N.A., 614 F.3d 400, 404-05
(7th Cir. 2010). Hollis has alleged these facts. He alleges
that he was terminated because he is Muslim and because he
complained about religious discrimination in the workplace.
Although the plaintiff does not identify the person who made
the decision to terminate him, he identifies the individuals
who informed the plaintiff that he could not wear a beard
even though he is Muslim, and he identifies the individuals
to whom he complained about being told he could not wear a
beard. Finally, he alleges when all of this occurred-between
February and July 2016. Thus, Hollis has stated claims for
religious discrimination and retaliation.
G4S's alternative motion for a more definite statement,
it will be denied because G4S does not identify any specific
information not included in the complaint that it needs to
prepare its response. As noted above, Hollis alleges specific
facts about what happened to him. He alleges he was told that
he could not wear a beard even if he was Muslim, and that he
was later terminated when he refused to shave his beard.
Hollis also alleges that he was terminated shortly after he
told the defendant's human-resources department that his
religion required him to wear a beard in the workplace.
Although G4S could reasonably dispute whether these
communications to human resources amounted to a complaint
about prior discrimination that could support a retaliation
claim, it is clear that Hollis is alleging that they did.
There is nothing vague or ambiguous about his allegations.
Accordingly, G4S's motion for a more definite statement
will be denied.
I note that Hollis, in his brief in opposition to the motion
to dismiss, asks the court to sanction G4S's counsel
under 28 U.S.C. § 1927 for making arguments in support
of the motion to dismiss that he believes are
“absurd.” (Br. in Opp. at 5, ECF No. 12.)
However, sanctions under § 1927 require a finding of bad
faith, see Boyer v. BNSF Ry., 824 F.3d 694, 708 (7th
Cir. 2016), and based on counsel's brief alone I cannot
find that he acted in bad faith. Because counsel made
arguments that are directly contrary to established Supreme
Court cases (Zipes and Swierkiewicz), it is
arguable that he could be sanctioned under Federal Rule of
Civil Procedure 11 for making arguments that are not
“warranted by existing law.” ...