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DREISBACH v. CUMMINS DIESEL ENGINES

April 5, 1994

JUDITH DREISBACH, et al.
v.
CUMMINS DIESEL ENGINES, INC., t/a CUMMINS-ONAN, et al.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: HARVEY BARTLE, III, J.

 Bartle, J.

 Plaintiff, Judith Dreisbach, has filed this sex discrimination action pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. against her former employer, Cummins Diesel Engines, Inc., trading as Cummins-Onan ("Cummins-Onan"); Cummins Engine Co., Inc. ("CECO"); her former supervisor, Andrew Gorban ("Gorban"); and two Cummins-Onan executives, Lynn Coy ("Coy") and James Williams ("Williams"). Judith Dreisbach also asserts pendent state law claims against all defendants for intentional infliction of emotional distress and claims pursuant to the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 43 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 951 et seq. Her husband, plaintiff Ronald Dreisbach, states a loss of consortium claim against all defendants.

 Before the court is the motion of defendants Coy and Williams to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, the motions of defendant Gorban to dismiss pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) or 12(b)(6) or in the alternative for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, *fn1" and the motion for summary judgment of defendant CECO.

 According to the complaint, Cummins-Onan hired Judith Dreisbach in 1984 to work as a secretary in the company's parts department. She alleges that around October of 1984 and once in 1987, defendant Gorban, then a fellow Cummins-Onan employee, asked her out for a drink. She refused on both occasions.

 Plaintiff further alleges that Gorban began making sexually suggestive remarks and gestures to her beginning in 1989, which she reported to her supervisor, Thomas Colello ("Colello"). Colello in turn communicated her complaints to a Vice President of Cummins-Onan, George Ruch. No action was apparently taken.

 The complaint continues that in 1990 Gorban repeatedly leered at her and entered her work area when she was alone to tell her sexually suggestive jokes. In the winter of 1991, Gorban allegedly began to instigate unwanted contact with her, including rubbing against her buttocks, grabbing her waist and breasts, and unzipping his pants in her presence. Around April of 1991, Gorban was promoted to the position of Operations Manager and was Colello's superior. When Colello resigned the following month, plaintiff alleges that Gorban's behavior worsened and that her new supervisor, George Gary, took no action in regard to her complaints because he feared losing his job in a planned layoff.

 On August 7, 1992, plaintiff informed defendant James Williams, a Vice President of Cummins-Onan, of her problems with Gorban and expressed concern about her job. She alleges that Williams told her she would not lose her job in the upcoming layoff and asked her not to contact an attorney concerning her complaints about Gorban. Dreisbach was laid off on August 31, 1992. Cummins-Onan fired Gorban shortly after Dreisbach filed the present action.

 The complaint further alleges that defendant Coy, the President of Cummins-Onan, together with Williams, "planned to terminate Plaintiff's employment in retaliation and response to her complaints of Gorban's sexual harassment, and authorized, permitted and ratified Gorban's termination of Plaintiff." As to defendant CECO, plaintiff alleges that it "ratified and endorsed" her termination. *fn2"

 In September 1992, plaintiff filed a charge with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission ("PHRC") and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). Dreisbach, naming her employer, Cummins-Onan, as respondent, asserted that it had wrongfully discharged her for complaining of sexual harassment by Gorban. In September 1993, plaintiff filed another charge with both agencies, alleging that Cummins-Onan refused to rehire her in retaliation for her filing of the administrative complaints. Neither of plaintiff's administrative charges names or otherwise identifies defendants Williams, Coy or CECO.

 Defendants Gorban, Coy, Williams and CECO argue that this court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the claims against them. They contend that as they were not named as parties in either of plaintiff's administrative charges, plaintiff has failed to exhaust her administrative remedies against them. See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f).

 If the EEOC does not reach a conciliation agreement with the respondent within a specified period of time, Title VII permits an aggrieved party to bring a civil action "against the respondent named in the charge." 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f)(1) (emphasis added). The provision requiring the naming of the respondent in the EEOC charge is a jurisdictional prerequisite to the institution of suit against that party. See, e.g., Glus v. G.C. Murphy Co., 562 F.2d 880, 885 (3d Cir. 1977). The policy behind requiring an aggrieved individual to exhaust administrative proceedings against a respondent before bringing suit is "to give notice to the charged party and to provide an avenue for voluntary compliance without resort to litigation." Id. at 888 (citations omitted). Bringing suit against a defendant without first exhausting administrative remedies thwarts the purpose of EEOC review.

 Jurisdictional requirements for bringing suit under Title VII are, however, liberally construed in favor of complainants. See, e.g., Glus, 562 F.2d at 887-888. As a result, certain narrow exceptions to the requirement of naming all parties in the administrative charge before filing suit have developed.

 In Glus, the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit confronted a situation in which the plaintiff had named her local union but not the international union as a respondent to an administrative charge. The Glus court held that a district court should consider the following factors in determining whether to allow a ...


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