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Raymond Guthrey v. California Department Ofcorrections and Rehabilitation

March 29, 2011

RAYMOND GUTHREY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
CALIFORNIA DEPARTMENT OFCORRECTIONS AND REHABILITATION, ET AL.,
DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Oliver W. Wanger United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM DECISION REGARDING MOTION TO DISMISS

(Doc. 8)

I. INTRODUCTION.

Plaintiff Raymond Guthrey ("Plaintiff") brings this employment discrimination action against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR") and Michael Pate, Jr. ("Pate").

On December 16, 2010, Defendants filed a motion to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint. (Doc. 8). Plaintiff filed opposition to Defendants' motion on February 18, 2011. Defendants filed a reply on February 24, 2011. (Doc. 10).

II. FACTUAL BACKGROUND.

Plaintiff is a 56-year-old Caucasian male who subscribes to the Ananda Marga faith. Followers of the Ananda Marga believe in allowing the hair on their heads, faces, and bodies to grow naturally. In observance of his faith, Plaintiff maintains a full beard and long hair.

From 1984 until retirement in 2008, Plaintiff worked as a Correctional Counselor at Sierra Conservation Center, a CDCR facility. Throughout his employment, Plaintiff exceeded expected standards during his annual performance reviews.

During his employment, Defendant Pate, a CDCR employee, regularly called Plaintiff "Ragjeesh" and other slurs directed towards persons of Middle Eastern or South Asian ancestry. Plaintiff was also accused of being homosexual because he did not identify with the "macho" male stereotype embraced by Pate and other CDCR employees. After wearing a kilt in honor of a colleague who was given an award, Plaintiff was told that "men don't wear dresses" and was derogatorily referred to as a woman by CDCR employees.

In early 2010, Plaintiff applied to participate in CDCR's retired annuitant program as a contract employee. On April 29, 2010, Pate contacted Plaintiff and extended an offer of employment to him on behalf of the CDCR. Plaintiff accepted the offer and agreed to begin working on May 3, 2010. During the April 29, 2010 phone call, Plaintiff discussed grooming standards with Pate. Pate stated "just don't wear a kilt." Pate also stated that Plaintiff had "gone south" at the time that Plaintiff instituted a counseling program at Sierra Conservation Center involving turban-wearing Ananda Marga clergy.

On May 3, 2010, Plaintiff arrived at Sierra Conservation Center to begin his position. Plaintiff was scheduled to attend a week-long training. Upon his arrival in the training classroom, Plaintiff observed Pate gesturing wildly and jabbing his finger toward the door while staring at Plaintiff. Pate stomped toward Plaintiff, grabbed him by the arm, and forced him into the hallway. Pate physically blocked Plaintiff from entering the classroom. Pate told Plaintiff that "this" was not going to work and that Plaintiff was to leave the grounds immediately.

Plaintiff attempted to contact CDCR employees about the incident, but none of his telephone or email messages were returned.

III. LEGAL STANDARD.

Dismissal under Rule 12(b)(6) is appropriate where the complaint lacks sufficient facts to support a cognizable legal theory. Balistreri v. Pacifica Police Dep't, 901 F.2d 696, 699 (9th Cir.1990). To sufficiently state a claim to relief and survive a 12(b) (6) motion, the pleading "does not need detailed factual allegations" but the "[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). Mere "labels and conclusions" or a "formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Id. Rather, there must be "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Id. at 570. In other words, the "complaint must contain sufficient factual ...


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