The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOYNER
Plaintiff, Jay Sharp, ("Sharp" or "Plaintiff") alleges in this action that defendant, BW/IP International ("BW/IP" or "Defendant") discharged him in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621, et. seq., and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA"), 43 P.S. § 951, et. seq. ; terminated him to prevent him from vesting in defendant's pension plan in violation of § 510 of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA"), 29 U.S.C. § 1140; and breached an implied-in-fact employment contract for which plaintiff claims damages under the Pennsylvania Wage Payment and Collection Act ("PWPCA") 43 P.S. § 260.1, et. seq. Jurisdiction is proper under 28 U.S.C. § 1331, and supplemental jurisdiction is proper pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367.
Presently before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 on all counts of Plaintiff's Complaint. For the following reasons the Motion is granted in part and denied in part.
Plaintiff was employed by BW/IP as a salesman on December 18, 1989. BW/IP is a corporation located in Boothwyn, Pennsylvania that manufactures and services industrial pumps and seals used by utility companies, oil refineries, and other industrial enterprises. Plaintiff had fifteen (15) years of experience in this field when he was hired by defendant. Plaintiff alleges that he was hired, in part, to bring defendant access to new customers and geographic areas which defendant serviced in his prior employment.
In October 1993, approximately nine months prior to plaintiff's termination, defendant employed a new sales person, Larry Bohn ("Bohn"), in the Boothwyn, Pennsylvania office. Bohn was approximately 41 years of age. This salesman also had a difficult time meeting his repair quotas for the repair center. In fact, Bohn received two warnings about the quality of his work within the first 4-5 months of working for defendant. Bohn first received a poor performance review approximately 30 days prior to termination of his 90 day probationary period, and Bohn's second poor performance review, received in March 1994, was accompanied by a threat that he would likely be terminated if he did not increase his repair bookings. However, Bohn was kept on even after receiving these poor performance reviews. Even when Bohn continued to perform inadequately in outside sales, he was still not terminated. Instead, defendant created a new in-house position for him, allowing Bohn to continue his employment with defendant.
Further, when plaintiff was terminated his clients were transferred to this new salesman, Bohn, and another salesman who was in his thirties. The customers brought to defendant by plaintiff were similarly transferred to younger sales people during the course of plaintiff's employment.
Plaintiff further alleges that BW/IP was the Administrator of the BW/IP International, Inc. Capital Accumulation Plan ("the Pension Plan"). Defendant's pension plan provided for vesting after five years of employment. Plaintiff participated in the plan, but was terminated approximately four months prior to vesting. Plaintiff requested that defendant extend his employment until December 18, 1994 in order to allow him to vest, but defendant denied plaintiff's request. Plaintiff alleges that his termination was effectuated to prevent him from vesting in the pension plan.
Finally, plaintiff alleges that there was an implied-in-fact employment contract between plaintiff and defendant. Plaintiff alleges that his immediate supervisor, Michael Dziekonski ("Dziekonski"), continually requested that plaintiff relocate from Clayton, New Jersey to a location closer to defendant's facility first in Exton, Pennsylvania and then in Boothwyn, Pennsylvania. In reliance upon this "employment condition," plaintiff spent in excess of twenty-five thousand ($ 25,000) on improvements to his home to make it saleable and entered into a contract for the sale of his home in July 1994. While the repairs were being conducted on plaintiff's home, plaintiff and his wife looked for a new home near defendant's facility. Plaintiff alleges that defendant knew plaintiff was in the process of negotiating to sell his home to relocate closer to defendant's facility prior to his termination and that defendant did not notify or advise plaintiff during this time of negotiation that his employment was in question. Defendant terminated plaintiff's employment after the sale of plaintiff's home and prior to plaintiff's purchase of another property. As a result of his termination, plaintiff has been unable to purchase a new property since he had no employment and, therefore, has been living in a camper since his termination.