United States District Court, M.D. Georgia, Columbus Division
D. LAND CHIEF U.S. DISTRICT COURT JUDGE
Taylor worked at the Steak N Shake restaurant in Columbus,
Georgia. The restaurant is an independent franchisee of Steak
N Shake Enterprises, Inc. and is owned by People Sales &
Profit Company, Inc. (“PSPC”). Taylor alleges
that PSPC subjected her to a hostile work environment because
of her sex, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964 (“Title VII”), as amended, 42 U.S.C.
§§ 2000e to 2000e-17. Taylor also alleges that PSPC
retaliated against her for complaining of sexual harassment,
in violation of Title VII. Finally, Taylor asserts a state
law battery claim. PSPC moved to dismiss Taylor's Title
VII claims, arguing that Taylor did not exhaust her
administrative remedies before filing this action. The Court
converted that motion into one for summary judgment and
permitted Taylor to conduct limited discovery regarding the
failure to exhaust defense. For the sake of clarity, the
Court terminated PSPC's motion to dismiss and permitted
PSPC to file a summary judgment motion after the limited
discovery period closed. As discussed below, that motion (ECF
No. 24) is granted.
judgment may be granted only “if the movant shows that
there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact and the
movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.”
Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a). In determining whether a genuine
dispute of material fact exists to defeat a motion
for summary judgment, the evidence is viewed in the light
most favorable to the party opposing summary judgment,
drawing all justifiable inferences in the opposing
party's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). A fact is material if it
is relevant or necessary to the outcome of the suit.
Id. at 248. A factual dispute is genuine if
the evidence would allow a reasonable jury to return a
verdict for the nonmoving party. Id.
accordance with the Court's local rules, PSPC submitted a
statement of undisputed material facts with its summary
judgment motion. See M.D. Ga. R. 56 (requiring
statement of material facts that is supported by the record).
Taylor, who is represented by counsel, did not respond to the
summary judgment motion or the statement of material facts.
Therefore, PSPC's statement of material facts is deemed
admitted pursuant to Local Rule 56. See M.D. Ga. R.
56 (“All material facts contained in the movant's
statement which are not specifically controverted by specific
citation to particular parts of materials in the record shall
be deemed to have been admitted, unless otherwise
inappropriate.”). The Court reviewed PSPC's
citations to the record to determine if a genuine factual
dispute exists. See Reese v. Herbert, 527 F.3d 1253,
1269 (11th Cir. 2008).
was employed by PSPC at its Steak N Shake restaurant in
Columbus, Georgia. She was not employed by Steak N Shake
Enterprises, Inc. Plaintiff received a number of items that
identified PSPC as her employer, including paycheck stubs, an
employee handbook, and a letter of termination. In her charge
of discrimination to the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (“EEOC”), Taylor, who was represented
by counsel, listed her employer as “Steak N Shake,
” not PSPC. Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. Ex. A, EEOC
Charge (Aug. 16, 2018), ECF No. 24-1. She listed as her
employer's address the address for the restaurant
location where she worked, not PSPC's address. PSPC did
not receive notice that Taylor had filed an EEOC charge
alleging discrimination at the Columbus Steak N Shake
restaurant. Spornhauer Aff. 2, ECF No. 24-2.
plaintiff seeking relief under Title VII must first exhaust
her administrative remedies by filing a charge of
discrimination with the EEOC. See 42 U.S.C. §
2000e-5(b) & (f)(1) (setting forth procedures for EEOC to
handle Title VII charges of discrimination and stating that a
civil action may be brought after the EEOC procedures are
finished). The purpose of the exhaustion requirement is to
allow the EEOC to “have the first opportunity to
investigate the alleged discriminatory practices” so it
can “perform its role in obtaining voluntary compliance
and promoting conciliation efforts.” Gregory v. Ga.
Dep't of Human Res., 355 F.3d 1277, 1279 (11th Cir.
2004) (per curiam) (quoting Evans v. U.S. Pipe &
Foundry Co., 696 F.2d 925, 929 (11th Cir. 1983)).
asserts that Taylor's Title VII claims against it fail
because she did not name PSPC, her actual employer, in her
EEOC charge. Instead, she named its franchisor, Steak N
Shake. “Ordinarily, a party not named in the EEOC
charge cannot be sued in a subsequent civil action.”
Virgo v. Riviera Beach Assocs., Ltd., 30 F.3d 1350,
1358 (11th Cir. 1994). “This naming requirement serves
to notify the charged party of the allegations and allows the
party an opportunity to participate in conciliation and
voluntarily comply with the requirements of Title VII.”
Id. But, if “the purposes of the Act are
fulfilled, a party unnamed in the EEOC charge may be
subjected to the jurisdiction of federal courts.”
Id. at 1358-59. To “determine whether the
purposes of Title VII are met, courts do not apply a rigid
test but instead look to several factors including: (1) the
similarity of interest between the named party and the
unnamed party; (2) whether the plaintiff could have
ascertained the identity of the unnamed party at the time the
EEOC charge was filed; (3) whether the unnamed parties
received adequate notice of the charges; (4) whether the
unnamed parties had an adequate opportunity to participate in
the reconciliation process; and (5) whether the unnamed party
actually was prejudiced by its exclusion from the EEOC
proceedings.” Id. at 1359.
case, even if there is some similarity of interest between
PSPC and its franchisor that was named in Taylor's EEOC
charge, the rest of the factors weigh against finding that
the purposes of Title VII were met by Taylor's charge.
Taylor easily could have ascertained PSPC's identity
before she filed her EEOC charge. PSPC did not receive notice
of the EEOC charge and did not have an opportunity to
participate in the EEOC conciliation process. And, PSPC was
prejudiced by facing a lawsuit without notice of Taylor's
claims from Taylor or the EEOC and without an opportunity to
participate in the conciliation process. For these reasons,
permitting Taylor to sue PSPC despite her failure to name it
as a party in her EEOC charge would not further the purposes
of Title VII. Because Taylor did not exhaust administrative
remedies, PSPC is entitled to summary judgment on
Taylor's Title VII claims.
reasons set forth above, PSPC's summary judgment motion
(ECF No. 24) is granted as to Taylor's Title VII claims.
The Title VII claims were the only claims over which this
Court had original jurisdiction. The Court declines to
exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the remaining state