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CULBERTSON v. CHAROSA FOUNDATION CORP.

January 7, 2004.

EDITH A. CULBERTSON, Plaintiff, -against- CHAROSA FOUNDATION CORP., Defendant


The opinion of the court was delivered by: SANDRA J. FEUERSTEIN, District Judge

OPINION & ORDER

I. Introduction

Defendant ChaRosa Foundation Corp. ("ChaRosa" or "defendant") has moved to dismiss plaintiff's complaint pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. For the reasons stated below, the motion is GRANTED.

 II. Background

  A. Facts

  ChaRosa, founded by Charles Alien ("Alien") and Rose Geneva ("Geneva"),*fn1 is a community-based, not-for-profit organization that provides cultural and educational programs for the community. (Mem. of Law in Supp. of Def.'s Mot. to Dimiss at 1-2). Plaintiff Edith Culbertson ("Culbertson" or "plaintiff) was hired by defendant on September 13, 1999 as a program director. (Compl. at 4). Ms. Culbertson claims she had had several years of experience Page 2 working for other non-profit organizations, and was attracted to ChaRosa by a promise of more responsibility, the opportunity to reach a larger community, and better benefits, (Id.).

  Ms. Culbertson alleges that as soon as she was hired, "Mr. Alien immediately began to engage in behaviors that were abusive, threatening and discriminatory." (Id. at 5). While plaintiff claims that Mr. Alien treated his entire staff poorly, she "caught the brunt of his abuse" since she worked directly with Mr. Alien (Id.). According to Ms. Culbertson, she "felt like a trapped animal." (Id. at 6). Examples of Mr. Alien's allegedly offensive behavior include: demanding that plaintiff "bring the women under control"; ordering plaintiff to investigate female employees but not male employees; failing to support her efforts to direct programs; pouring gasoline in a garbage can to scare her; and yelling at plaintiff in the basement after she decorated her desk with white and black bows. (Id.). Plaintiff was terminated on or about December 12, 1999.

  B. Procedural History

  On October 10, 2000, plaintiff filed a verified complaint with the City of New York Commission on Human Rights (the "NYCCHR") against ChaRosa, Mr. Alien, and Ms. Geneva, which was also accepted on behalf of the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (the "EEOC"). (NYCCHR Determination and Order at I). In her complaint, plaintiff alleges that "respondents have discriminated against her by denying her equal terms and conditions of employment and terminating her employment because of her gender . . ." (NYCCHR Verified Compl. ¶ 8). No mention was made of discrimination on any other basis.

  On August 2, 2002, the NYCCHR dismissed plaintiff's complaint, concluding that "there Page 3 is no probable cause to believe that the respondents have engaged or are engaging in the unlawful discriminatory practices alleged." (NYCCHR Determination and Order at 1). The NYCCHR Determination and Order After Investigation stated:
The investigation further revealed that although respondent Alien was found to have treated his staff in an oppressive manner, the Commission has found nothing to substantiate the complainant's allegations that she alone was discriminated against because she is female. The investigation revealed that not only were other women in the office ill-treated by respondent Alien, but also that male co-workers were subjected to harsh treatment by respondent Alien. . . . The evidence revealed that respondent Alien was abusive to all of his employees. Therefore, the Commission has determined that there is no probable cause that discriminatory animus played a role in respondents' actions towards the complainant.
(Id. at 1-2). The EEOC adopted the findings of the NYCCHR and dismissed plaintiff's complaint on May 1, 2003, (EEOC Dismissal and Notice of Rights at 1).

  On July 23, 2003, plaintiff filed the instant complaint pro se alleging that defendant violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. ("Title VII") and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. ("ADEA") by discriminating against her on the basis of gender, race, religion, and age, and by retaliating against her for filing charges. (Compl. at 1-3). On November 17, 2003, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, defendant filed the instant motion to dismiss on the grounds of: (1) failure to comply with the statute of limitations; (2) failure to exhaust administrative remedies; and (3) failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. (Mem. of Law in Supp. of Def.'s Mot. to Dimiss at 1).

 III. Analysis

  A. Statute of Limitations Page 4

  To commence a claim for unlawful discrimination under Title VE or the ADEA, a plaintiff must file administration charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") or with "a State or local agency with authority to grant or seek relief from such practice." 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(e) (1994) (Title VE); see 29 U.S.C. § 626(d) (1994) (ADEA); see also Holtz v. Rockefeller & Co., 258 F.3d 62, 82-83 (2d Cir. 2001). For a Title VII or ADEA claim to be timely, it must be filed within ninety (90) days of the claimant's receipt of a right-to-sue letter. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1); see also Baldwin County Welcome Ctr. v. Brown, 466 U.S. 147, 149-50, 80 L.Ed.2d 196, 104 S.Ct. 1723 (1984)(per curiam); Sherlock v. Montefiore Med. Ctr., 84 F.3d 522, 525 (2d Cir. 1996). This ninety (90) day period begins to run on the date the plaintiff receives ...


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