United States District Court, N.D. California
ORDER DISMISSING AMENDED COMPLAINT PURSUANT TO 28
U.S.C. § 1915 WITH LEAVE TO AMEND RE: DKT. NO.
C. SPERO, CHIEF MAGISTRATE JUDGE
Colleen Denise Walker, pro se, brings this employment
discrimination action against her former employer, the
California Employment Development Department
("EDD"). The Court previously granted
Walker‘s application to proceed in forma pauperis
(dkts. 2, 4) and now reviews the sufficiency of her amended
complaint pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2).
For the reasons discussed below, the amended complaint is
DISMISSED with leave to amend. Walker may file a second
amended complaint addressing the deficiencies discussed
herein no later than May 3, 2017. The case management
conference previously set for April 7, 2017 is hereby
CONTINUED to June 30, 2017 at 2:00 PM in Courtroom G, located
on the fifteenth floor of the San Francisco courthouse at 450
Golden Gate Avenue.
brings this action under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964, alleging employment discrimination in the course of her
employment with EDD at a call center. Am. Compl. (dkt. 9).
She describes the "acts complained of" as follows:
Management caused a stressful work environment in lieu of my
medical condition and denied me a work environment free of
discrimination. Harassment by management regarding the
nationality of my fiancé (Iranian) and defamation of
my character as a U.S. Veteran. Denied access to my
Department of Veteran Affairs physician after causing Acute
Stress in workplace and directed me to return to harassing
and stressful environment. Forced to quit on January 6, 2016
due to working conditions that were affecting my physical and
Id. ¶ 4 (sic throughout).
alleges that EDD discriminated against her based on her race
or color, her status as a veteran, and her
fiancé‘s Iranian descent. Id. ¶ 5.
She describes the facts of her claim as follows:
Questioned and denied access to VA urgent care via email in
2012 by manager Raymond Tapia, resulting in emergency
hospitalization, voiced concern to Senator Eric Swalwell
(Exhibit A) Management posted my fiancés Nader Zand
picture in front entrance and lunch room (Exhibit B)
Retaliation by management regarding my rights to a
discrimination free work environment (Exhibit‘s C &
D), Called CHP on me at workplace (Exhibit E), Processed over
3000 electronic Spanish claims during overtime backlog, but
denied hardship transfer because I do not speak Spanish
(Exhibit F), Addressed concerns to U.S. Senators (Exhibit G),
Great concerned ignored (Exhibit H), Denied access to VA
healthcare because emergency card was missing (Exhibit I).
Id. ¶ 6 (sic throughout). The exhibits attached
to Walker‘s amended complaint are summarized below in
chronological order, with the exception of Exhibit B, which
is a photograph of a bulletin board that includes one posting
with a picture of a man‘s face. See Am. Compl.
Ex. B. Walker alleges that the discrimination at issue
occurred on or about December 7, 2015, and that she received
a right-to-sue letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission on December 7, 2016. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 7, 9.
A is a letter to Walker from U.S. Representative Eric
Swalwell, dated July 25, 2014. Am. Compl. Ex. A. This letter
does not reference any correspondence from Walker to
Swalwell, but instead states Swalwell‘s opposition to
the Supreme Court‘s holding in Burwell v. Hobby
Lobby Stores, Inc., 134 S.Ct. 2751 (2014), and his view
that "[h]ealth care decisions should be made by a woman
in consultation with her family, her faith, and her physician
- not her boss." Am. Compl. Ex. A. The version of this
letter attached to the amended complaint also includes a
photocopy of a Department of Veterans Affairs card bearing
Walker‘s name and photograph. Id.
C is a memorandum from A‘Nette Knox-Talley to Walker
dated July 24, 2015 and captioned "Memorandum of
Discussion - Disturbances at Workplace." Am. Compl. Ex.
B (capitalization altered). The memorandum describes an
incident in which Walker‘s fiancé Nadder Zand
stood near the EDD office building staring into a window, and
another incident in which he stood outside the gate of
building yelling: "You, I want to talk to you, what the
hell is going on with management? Come here, I want to talk
to you, Damn you, Tammy? What the hell is going on?"
Id. at 1 (purporting to quote Zand). According to
Knox-Talley, Walker stated: (1) that Zand grabbed
Walker‘s arm and yelled at her when she went outside to
talk to him; (2) that Zand had refused Walker‘s
requests to stop coming to the office because he believed he
needed to protect her; (3) that over the previous few months
Zand had begun yelling at Walker to come meet him during her
breaks from work; and (4) that Zand asked for the names of
some of Walker‘s coworkers and supervisors and wanted
to speak to them directly. Id. at 1-2. Knox-Talley
wrote that she had advised Walker that Zand‘s behavior
was "impacting the office" and Walker‘s
ability to focus on work, that Walker should contact the
Oakland Police Department if she thought that was necessary,
that it was Walker‘s responsibility to resolve the
issue so that it did not disrupt the workplace, and that
Knox-Talley expected Walker to do so immediately.
Id. at 2. The memorandum also advised Walker that
resources were available through EDD‘s employee
assistance program. Id. Knox-Talley signed the
memorandum, but Walker refused to sign it. Id.
same day that Knox-Talley issued her the memorandum, Walker
sent an email to Ernesto Magana, another EDD employee,
stating that she wanted to dispute aspects of the memorandum
and raise concerns, and asking to whom she should direct such
a response. Am. Compl. Ex. C-1. Magana responded eleven
minutes later to ask Walker how she wished to proceed, and
suggested the possibilities of submitting a rebuttal to the
memorandum, a formal complaint, or a union grievance.
sent a rebuttal to Knox-Talley on July 27, 2015. Am. Compl.
Ex. C-2. She wrote that the issues arose from incidents where
she was docked pay or questioned when she stayed home from
work due to illness or back pain. Id. at 1.
According to Walker, Zand was concerned that Walker had been
treated with indifference by management, but Walker asserted
that aspects of Knox-Talley‘s characterization of
Zand‘s behavior were inaccurate, and that her ability
to focus on her job had not been affected. Id.
According to Walker, the California Highway ...