On July 12, 1996, plaintiff, Ronald C. Lloyd filed this complaint alleging that Wyoming Valley Health Care System, Inc. violated the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601-2654. Defendant brings this motion for partial summary judgment arguing Mr. Lloyd did not suffer any tangible economic loss under the FMLA, and that the FMLA does not authorize the recovery of damages for emotional distress, embarrassment, humiliation, and loss of job security. For the reasons that follow, defendant's motion is granted in part and denied in part. The court finds there is a genuine issue of material fact as to whether plaintiff suffered any tangible economic loss. The court finds that the FMLA does not provide for damages for emotional distress, embarrassment, and humiliation ("emotional distress"). The court believes that damages for job security may be included in the FMLA.
Taken in a light most favorable to the non-moving party, the facts are as follows. In 1981, Wilkes-Barre General Hospital hired Mr. Lloyd as the Assistant Director of Purchasing. From November of 1982 through June of 1993, Mr. Lloyd served as Director of Central Services for Wilkes-Barre General Hospital. In 1993, Wilkes-Barre General Hospital merged with Nesbitt Memorial Hospital which together with other entities comprised Wyoming Valley Health Care System, Inc. ("Wyoming Valley"). In June of 1993, Wyoming Valley appointed Mr. Lloyd as Warehouse Manager. This position had supervisory, management and delegation responsibilities.
In March of 1995, Wyoming Valley hired Robert Zaleskas as Warehouse Supervisor. In April of 1995, Mr. Lloyd sought and obtained a medical leave as provided by the FMLA. See 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601-2654. In June of 1995, Mr. Lloyd returned to Wyoming Valley as a Warehouse Coordinator which paid the same as Warehouse Manager but did not have supervisory, management, or delegation responsibilities. Mr. Lloyd's former position was filled by Mr. Zaleskas (Paczkowski Dep. at 76.)
On May 14, 1996, while performing duties of a stock clerk, Mr. Lloyd suffered a work-related injury. In June of 1996, after leave and treatment for his work injury, Mr. Lloyd returned to work as a courier. In August of 1996, Mr. Lloyd became a corporate sales representative for Pro Works, a division of Wyoming Valley. Wyoming Valley continued to pay Mr. Lloyd's Warehouse Manager salary until the end of 1996.
On February 13, 1997, Wyoming Valley placed Mr. Lloyd on a salary plus incentives schedule. Defendant provides expert testimony that plaintiff will not suffer any tangible economic loss in 1997. Mr. Lloyd receives incentives almost four months after he completes his work, and because of the timing of payments, his 1997 income will be less than his 1996 and 1995 incomes. (Lloyd Aff. P 21.) In addition, Mr. Lloyd's incentive income will decrease because of his vacation schedule and other seasonal factors. (Id. P 30.) Mr. Lloyd argues that Wyoming Valley has devalued his vacation and sick pay by at least ten percent. (Pl.'s Br. at 8 n.1.) Moreover, Mr. Lloyd believes that his sales representative position has less value than the Warehouse Manager position because it is less essential and more susceptible to reduction or elimination. (Lloyd Aff. P 26.)
II SUMMARY JUDGMENT STANDARD
Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) provides that the moving party is entitled to summary judgment if "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file together with the affidavits, if any, show there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56. A fact is "material" if proof of its existence or non-existence might affect the outcome of the suit under the applicable law. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986). "Facts that could alter the outcome are material facts." Charlton v. Paramus Bd. of Educ., 25 F.3d 194, 197 (3d Cir.), cert. denied, 513 U.S. 1022, 115 S. Ct. 590, 130 L. Ed. 2d 503 (1994). "Summary judgment will not lie if the dispute about a material fact is 'genuine,' that is, if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248.
Initially, the moving party must show the absence of a genuine issue concerning any material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 329, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986). All doubts as to the existence of a genuine issue of material fact must be resolved against the moving party, and the entire record must be examined in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. White v. Westinghouse Elec. Co., 862 F.2d 56, 59 (3d Cir. 1988); Continental Ins. Co. v. Bodie, 682 F.2d 436 (3d Cir. 1982). Once the moving party has satisfied its burden, the nonmoving party "must present affirmative evidence to defeat a properly supported motion for summary judgment." Anderson, 477 U.S. at 256-57. Mere conclusory allegations or denials taken from the pleadings are insufficient to withstand a motion for summary judgment once the moving party has presented evidentiary materials. Schoch v. First Fidelity Bancorporation, 912 F.2d 654, 657 (3d Cir. 1990). Rule 56 requires the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery, where a party "fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322. "The moving party is 'entitled to a judgment as a matter of law' because the nonmoving party has failed to make a sufficient showing on an essential element of her case with respect to which she has the burden of proof." Id. at 323.
A. Tangible Economic Loss
The plaintiff's change from a base salary as a warehouse manager to salary plus commission as a corporate sales representative raises genuine issues of material fact concerning plaintiff's tangible economic loss in the future. If an employer discriminates against an employee, the FMLA provides in pertinent part that an employer will be liable:
(A) for damages equal to -