Virginia Lawyers Weekly//April 23, 2020
Virginia Lawyers Weekly//April 23, 2020//
Where the EEOC’s intake questionnaire identified the parties and the specifics of the Title VII claim, including that a day-care provider thought the plaintiff was a liability because of her pregnancy and her lifting restrictions, and where the questionnaire was filed within 300 days of the termination, her claim was considered timely.
In this pregnancy discrimination case brought under Title VII and the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, defendant Kids Central Inc. has moved to dismiss the complaint filed by Stephanie Maggard as untimely. The dispute hinges on whether the intake questionnaire qualifies as a charge of discrimination, rendering Maggard’s claim timely filed with the EEOC.
I find that the intake questionnaire was sufficiently specific to serve as a charge. It clearly identified the parties and, viewed in the light most favorable to Maggard, explained the basis of her claim.
Maggard indicated on the questionnaire that she was claiming pregnancy discrimination, that her doctor had restricted her to lifting no more than 30 pounds, that she asked Allen Couch from human resources if co-workers could assist her in lifting any heavier children should the need arise, that Couch did not grant that request and that Couch told her she was a liability and was not allowed to work.
Kids Central asserts that the intake questionnaire is inadequate because it does not directly tie Couch’s statement to Maggard’s pregnancy and does not explicitly state that she was terminated. One could reasonably infer, however, that when Maggard wrote that she was not allowed to work, she was conveying that she was fired. Likewise, the questionnaire raises a reasonable inference that Couch meant that Maggard was a liability because of her pregnancy and lifting restriction.
Because Maggard filed the intake questionnaire within 300 days of her termination, she timely filed a charge with the EEOC. The later filing of the charge of discrimination, which clarified her statements in the intake questionnaire and was verified, relates back to the date on which she filed her intake questionnaire, pursuant to the regulation.
I therefore conclude that amending the complaint to add the intake questionnaire would not be futile, and I will grant Maggard leave to amend. I will deny the motion to dismiss as moot in light of the forthcoming amended complaint.
Plaintiff’s motion to amend complaint granted; defendant’s motion to dismiss denied as moot.
Maggard v. Kids Central Inc., Case No. 19-cv-00048, March 31, 2020. WDVA at Big Stone Gap (Jones). VLW 020-3-190. 9 pp.