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Smith v. Enterprise Rent-A-Car Company of Wisconsin, LLC

United States District Court, E.D. Wisconsin

May 21, 2019

JEFFREY SMITH, Plaintiff,
v.
ENTERPRISE RENT-A-CAR COMPANY OF WISCONSIN, LLC, Defendant.

          DECISION AND ORDER

          WILLIAM E. DUFFIN U.S. MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         INTRODUCTION

         Plaintiff Jeffrey Smith filed this action against defendant Enterprise Rent-A-Car Company of Wisconsin, LLC, alleging violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. (ECF No. 16.) Enterprise moves for partial dismissal of Smith's amended complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. (ECF No. 17.) It asks the court to “narrow the scope of this action to [Smith's] timely claims related to his access to the Internet at work and pay, and for which he exhausted his administrative remedies[.]” (ECF No. 18 at 2.) All parties have consented to the full jurisdiction of a magistrate judge. (ECF Nos. 3, 12.) Enterprise's motion is ready for resolution.

         BACKGROUND

         Smith is African American. (ECF No. 16, ¶ 7.) On or about October 16, 2016, he began working for Enterprise as a maintenance technician at Enterprise's Milwaukee Airport location, where he remains employed. (Id., ¶¶ 4-5.) As a maintenance technician, his job duties include changing tires and performing oil changes on rental cars. (Id., ¶ 4.) He received a starting wage of $12.50 per hour. (Id., ¶ 17(a).)

         Unbeknownst to Smith, on numerous occasions Smith's direct supervisor, Scott Shultz, [1] referred to Smith and Smith's African American co-worker, Walter Viverette, as “monkeys.” (ECF No. 16, ¶¶ 9-10.) Austin Teas, a supervisor at Enterprise, reported Shultz's use of racial slurs (although the amended complaint does not state when or to who Teas reported such use). (Id., ¶ 12.) Matt Wakefield, another co-worker of Smith's, verified Shultz's use of the racial slurs. (Id., ¶ 13.) Enterprise terminated Schultz's employment on or about October 12, 2017, and it was not until sometime thereafter that Smith learned of Shultz's use of the racial comments. (Id., ¶¶ 14, 24.)

         Approximately six months later, on April 15, 2018, Smith filed a charge of discrimination with the Wisconsin Equal Rights Division and the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), alleging:

I began working for [Enterprise] as a Maintenance Technician in October 2016. I was performing duties of Service Manager and Master Technician but not receiving the pay. I have spoken to [Enterprise] about my pay, but they have taken no corrective action. I further have been denied full access to the internet which I need to do my job. I believe [Enterprise] is discriminating against me because of my race (Black) in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended.

(ECF No. 16-2.) On or about September 5, 2018, Smith received a “Dismissal and Notice of Rights” letter from the EEOC, which stated in pertinent part:

Based on its investigation, the EEOC is unable to conclude that the information obtained establishes violations of the statutes. This does not certify that [Enterprise] is in compliance with the statutes. No. finding is made as to any other issues that might be construed as having been raised by this charge.
…
You may file a lawsuit against [Enterprise] under federal law based on this charge in federal or state court. Your lawsuit must be filed WITHIN 90 D AY S of your receipt of this notice; or your right to sue based on this charge will be lost.

(ECF No. 16-1.) (Emphasis in original.)

         On November 12, 2018, Smith filed his complaint in this case (ECF No. 1), which he amended on February 16, 2019 (ECF No. 16). He seeks, in part, “[a] finding that the Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, as amended, was violated due to discrimination based on race and failure to allow [him] full use of the ...


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