United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Orlando Division
DALTON JR., UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
the Court are: (1) Plaintiff's motion to proceed in
forma pauperis (Doc. 2 (“IFP
Motion”)); (2) U.S. Magistrate Judge Leslie R.
Hoffman's Report and Recommendation (Doc. 6
(“R&R)); and (3) Plaintiff's
response to the R&R, which the Court construes as an
objection (Doc. 7
(“Objection”)). On review, the
Objection is overruled, the R&R adopted, and the IFP
proceeding pro se, sued Defendant, her former
employer, alleging violations of the Thirteenth Amendment of
the U.S. Constitution. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff also filed the IFP
Motion. (Doc. 2.) Plaintiff was employed by Defendant from
August 1999 until July 16, 2018, when she was terminated from
her position as a loan analyst. (Doc. 1, ¶¶ 6, 9,
84.) Her position required her to review loans in litigation,
prepare case analysis, aid managing counsel, attend
mediation, and testify at trials and depositions.
(Id. ¶¶ 6, 9.)
alleges that beginning in February 2018, Defendant required
Plaintiff to work on paid holidays, vacations, and the
sabbath. (Id. ¶¶ 13-14.) Defendant
required her to always be available to work and engaged in
“constant harassment and impossible demands” that
made it unreasonably difficult for her to adequately prepare
for her job. (Id. ¶¶ 15-16.) With that,
Plaintiff filed an official complaint with Defendant, citing
the company's “No Harassment Policy.”
(Id. ¶¶ 18-51.) After an investigation,
Defendant concluded that the evidence did not support
Plaintiff's claim of harassment and discrimination based
on her religious observance. (Id. ¶ 51.)
then initiated the instant action. To support her
“slavery” allegations, she alleges that she
requested and was approved for a paid time off vacation but
received numerous work e-mails while on vacation.
(Id. ¶ 63-76.) And Plaintiff contends her
supervisor, on more than one occasion, requested she schedule
a deposition on a paid company holiday. (Id. 63-80.)
Plaintiff was eventually fired on July 2016, 2018.
(Id. ¶ 84.) Plaintiff alleges “[i]n
January 2018, [she] left for vacation a free woman. In
February 2018, [she] returned a Slave, ” and seeks
monetary damages. (Id. ¶ 87.)
referral, Magistrate Judge Hoffman recommends denying the IFP
motion and dismissing the Complaint with leave to amend.
(Doc. 6.) Specifically, Magistrate Judge Hoffman finds
although Plaintiff is a pauper, she failed to state a claim
upon which relief may be granted because: (1) the Thirteen
Amendment, by itself, does a not provide a cause of action
for employment discrimination; and (2) Plaintiff did not
allege that she was subjected to involuntary solitude
sufficient to support a slavery claim. (Id. at 5-8.)
Plaintiff filed an objection to the R&R. (Doc. 7.) In
support of her contention that she stated a Thirteen
Amendment claim, Plaintiff recites the historical background
of slavery in America and the bible and addresses the
connection between slavery and the sabbath. (Id.)
party objects to a magistrate judge's findings, the
district court must “make a de novo determination of
those portions of the report . . . to which objection is
made.” 28 U.S.C. § 636(b)(1). “Parties
filing objections to a magistrate's report and
recommendation must specifically identify those findings
objected to. Frivolous, conclusive, or general objections
need not be considered by the district court.”
Marsden v. Moore, 847 F.2d 1536, 1548 (11th Cir.
1988). The district court “may accept, reject, or
modify, in whole or in part, the findings or recommendations
made by the magistrate judge.” Id. The
district court must consider the record and factual issues
based on the record independent of the magistrate judge's
report. Ernest S. ex rel. Jeffrey S. v. State Bd. of
Educ., 896 F.2d 507, 513 (11th Cir. 1990).
Plaintiff filed an objection to the R&R. (Doc. 7.)
Construing the Objection liberally, the Court considers the
Objection as pertaining to the entirety of the R&R.
(Id.) The R&R recommends dismissing the
Complaint and denying the IFP Motion for two reasons: (1) the
Thirteenth Amendment does not provide a cause of action for
employment discrimination; and (2) Plaintiff did not allege
involuntary servitude. (Doc. 6, pp. 5-8.) The Court addresses
each basis for dismissal in turn.
Thirteen Amendment provides, “Neither slavery nor
involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof
the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within
the United States, or any place subject to their
jurisdiction.” U.S. Const. amend. XIII. First is
Plaintiff's claim for employment discrimination and
harassment. To the extent Plaintiff seeks to allege an
employment discrimination and harassment claim against
Defendant under the Thirteenth Amendment, that claim fails
because the Thirteenth Amendment, alone, does not provide a
cause of action for employment discrimination. See,
e.g., Smith v. Orange Cty. Sch. Bd., No.
6:04-cv-1811-Orl-28DAB, 2006 WL 8439525, at *6 (M.D. Fla.
Nov. 29, 2006) (“There is no cause of action for
employment discrimination in the Thirteenth
Amendment.”). Thus, Plaintiff failed to state a claim
for employment discrimination or harassment under the
Plaintiff's claim of slavery or involuntary servitude.
“The primary purpose of the [Thirteenth] Amendment was
to abolish the institution of African slavery as it had
existed in the United States at the time of the Civil War,
but the Amendment was not limited to that purpose.”
United States v. Kozminski, 487 U.S. 931, 942
(1988). “‘[I]nvoluntary servitude'
necessarily means a condition of servitude in which the
victim is forced to work for the defendant by the use or