United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
ORDER ON DEFENDANT SUSAN ABBOTT'S MOTION TO
DISMISS FOR FAILURE TO STATE A CLAIM
Dennis Saylor, IV United States District Judge
an action for workplace discrimination. Plaintiff Vera
Brown-Morrison, a black woman who practices Pentecostalism,
alleges that defendants Vinfen Corporation, her former
employer; Katherine Sharby,  her team leader; and Susan
Abbott, the Vice President of Vinfen, violated federal labor
law and discriminated against her on the basis of her race
and religion. She further alleges that she was retaliated
against when she reported those violations to Abbott.
Susan Abbott has filed a motion to dismiss for failure to
state a claim. For the following reasons, that motion will be
following facts are set forth as alleged in the complaint.
Vera Brown-Morrison is a black woman who practices
Pentecostalism. (Compl. Ex. B ¶ 1). She began working
for Vinfen on February 14, 2011, as a Community Integration
Coordinator. (Id.). In November 2013, Sharby was
hired as Brown-Morrison's team leader. (Id. Ex.
B ¶ 2).
complaint alleges that Sharby “continuously targeted
members of [Brown-Morrison's] team who [were] not white
by constantly switching their work assignments and clients
around as well as delegating licensed caseloads to unlicensed
complaint further alleges that from December 2013 to May 2014
Sharby organized mandatory trainings that occurred during
lunch and required employees to eat during the training.
(Id. Ex. B ¶ 4). Brown-Morrison “felt
very uncomfortable” with that because, in accordance
with Pentecostalism, she and three other co-workers on her
team were fasting for 30-40 days around the Easter holiday.
October 6, 2014, Brown-Morrison sent an email to Abbott,
expressing her concerns that Sharby was giving her, an
unlicensed practitioner, work assignments that required a
license. (Id. Ex. B ¶ 5). She told Abbott in
the email that she “felt uncomfortable doing these
duties as [she was] not qualified and spoke about
[Sharby's] unprofessional behavior towards [her] because
of [her] race.” (Id.). According to the
complaint, she never heard back from Abbott. (Id.).
complaint alleges that Sharby reprimanded Brown-Morrison and
other employees, who were again fasting for religious
reasons, in November 2014 for not attending a potluck prior
to another training. (Id. Ex. B ¶ 6). It
further alleges that Brown-Morrison unsuccessfully attempted
to transfer to other positions or another team. (Id.
Ex. B ¶ 7).
complaint alleges that on February 12, 2015, Brown-Morrison
received a Corrective Action form, and that Sharby fabricated
all five clients mentioned on the form in order to accuse
Brown-Morrison of failing 25% of the time. (Id. Ex.
B ¶ 8). Furthermore, it alleges that she was issued the
Corrective Action form in retaliation for complaining to
filed this action on November 7, 2017. The complaint alleges
violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42
U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq.; violation of the
Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201 et
seq.; and ...