United States District Court, N.D. Georgia, Atlanta Division
OPINION AND ORDER
WILLIAM S. DUFFEY, Jr., District Judge.
This matter is before the Court on Magistrate Judge Gerrilyn G. Brill's Final Report and Recommendation ("R&R") , recommending that the Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Plaintiff's Amended Complaint  should be granted, and that this action should be dismissed with prejudice.
From June 2002, to May 12, 2012, Plaintiff Richard Earl Williams ("Plaintiff"), an African-American male, was employed as a probation officer with the Georgia Department of Corrections (the "GDC" or "Defendant"). In June 2010, GDC management ordered Plaintiff "to cut his hair which [he] wore in a dreadlocks style" "since at least 2004." (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 18, 29). Plaintiff refused because, he claims, to cut his dreadlocks "would violate [his] indelible rights, religious beliefs, and spiritual faith." ( Id. ¶ 19). For the next two (2) years, Plaintiff continued to wear his hair in dreadlocks "despite subtle and not so subtle communications from [GDC management] that [they] were extremely upset and displeased with [him] over [his] continued objections and refusal to cut his hair." ( Id. ¶ 20). As a result, Plaintiff filed internal grievances stating that the orders to cut his hair were discriminatory and that "he was being subjected to a hostile work environment as a direct result of his refusal to cut his hair. ( Id. ¶ 21).
Effective January 1, 2012, Defendant enacted a new grooming policy (the "Policy"), which prohibited male employees from wearing their hair below the top of their shirt collar. ( Id. ¶¶ 22-23). The Policy also prohibited male employees from wearing their hair in dreadlocks. ( Id. ¶ 24). Female employees, however, "continued to adorn dreadlocks and wear hair styles which extend beyond their collars without reproach by staff management." ( Id. ¶ 26).
On January 3, 2012, Chief Vaughn Andrews directed Plaintiff to "leave work, get his dreadlocks cut off, and return to work within two hours." ( Id. ¶ 36). Plaintiff refused, and on January 20, 2012, he received a Letter of Reprimand for refusing to cut his dreadlocks, in violation of the Policy. ( Id. ¶ 37).
Over the next several months, Plaintiff continued to resist the Policy. On March 2, 2012, he received a "Written Directive" disciplinary action ordering him to cut his dreadlocks. ( Id. ¶ 38). Once again, he refused, and, on March 16, 2012, he received notice of a 5% reduction in his salary. ( Id. ¶ 39). On May 13, 2012, Plaintiff was "terminated for refusing to comply with the dress code based on his continued objections and refusal to cut off his dreadlocks." ( Id. ¶ 40).
On April 10, 2012, shortly before his termination, Plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). On the EEOC form, Plaintiff indicated that he was discriminated based on race, sex, and retaliation. (See [6-2], Ex. B). He later amended his charge to include allegations regarding his termination.
On June 19, 2013, Plaintiff received a Notice of Right to Sue letter from the EEOC. ( Id. Ex. C).
On September 16, 2013, Plaintiff, proceeding pro se , filed his Complaint alleging sex-based employment discrimination.
On January 27, 2014, Plaintiff, now represented by counsel, filed his Amended Complaint . Plaintiff asserts that his employment was terminated because of his race, religion, sex, and national origin, and that he was retaliated against for filing internal complaints claiming that the orders to cut his hair were discriminatory, all in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII").
On March 7, 2014, GDC filed its Motion to Dismiss the Amended Complaint ("Motion")  for failure to state a claim.
On May 12, 2014, the Magistrate Judge issued her final R&R recommending that Defendant's Motion be granted, and that this ...