In Robinson v. Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, No. 22-cv-5098 RJB-JRC, 2022 WL 1237671 (W.D. Wash. April 27, 2022), the court adopted a Report & Recommendation to dismiss plaintiff’s race discrimination and sexual harassment claims, asserted under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
This decision relates to a crucial procedural element of Title VII claims, namely, the requirement that an aggrieved plaintiff must first “administratively exhaust” their federal claims.
From the decision:
The Report and Recommendation should be adopted. In addition to the grounds provided in the Report and Recommendation, to the extent that the Plaintiff is asserting a federal claim for racial discrimination (related to being shown a “black face cartoon”) or sexual harassment pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), those claims are subject to dismissal without prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The events on which the Plaintiff bases her claims appear to have occurred in 2015 and 2016.
Title VII prohibits an employer from discriminating “against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment, because of such individual’s race, color, religion, sex, or national origin[.]” 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a). Before filing a lawsuit under Title VII, an employee must first file a timely charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) or the appropriate administrative state agency. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5. Generally, charges alleging discrimination under Title VII must be filed with the EEOC within 180 days from the date that the alleged discriminatory act occurred. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e)(1). In order to for this court to have subject matter jurisdiction over her Title VII claim, the Plaintiff is required to exhaust these administrative remedies. B.K.B. v. Maui Police Dep’t, 276 F.3d 1091, 1099 (9th Cir. 2002).
To the extent that the Plaintiff is asserting federal claims under Title VII for racial or sexual harassment, the Plaintiff has failed to plead that she has timely exhausted her administrative remedies. Accordingly, her federal Title VII racial or sexual harassment claims are subject to dismissal without prejudice for lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
Furthermore, the court, having dismissed plaintiff’s federal claims, declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over plaintiff’s state law claims.