The opinion of the court was delivered by: HERBERT HUTTON, District Judge
Presently before the Court are Defendants' Motion for Judgment on the
Pleadings With Respect to Plaintiff's Failure to Promote Claim (Docket
No. 18), Plaintiff's response (Docket No. 22), Defendants' reply (Docket
No. 25), Plaintiff's sur-response (Docket No. 27), and Defendants'
sur-reply (Docket No. 30).
Plaintiff Karen Lee Gaul ("Plaintiff") brings suit against Defendants
Acuity Specialty Products Group, Inc. d/b/a Zep Manufacturing Company
("Zep") and National Service Industries, Inc. ("NSI"),*fn1 alleging
claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act ("Title VII"),
42 U.S.C. § 2000 (e) et seq., the Equal Pay Act ("EPA"),
29 U.S.C. § 206 et seq., and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act
("PHRA"), 43 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. § 951 et seq., as well as
for breach of contract. Zep is a manufacturer and supplier
of industrial and institutional maintenance and sanitation
Plaintiff started working for Defendant Zep on August 22, 1994 in a
sales position. Approximately four years later, on June 1, 1998,
Plaintiff was promoted to the position of Branch Sales Manager ("BSM").
In mid-1999, Zep had an opening for a District Sales Manager ("DSM") for
the Mid-Atlantic District. Plaintiff applied for the position but did not
get the promotion. Instead, Defendant promoted Ethan Powers, an allegedly
less qualified male, on June 1, 1999. Plaintiff alleges that Defendants
denied her the promotion because of her gender.
Plaintiff next alleges that she was demoted, because of her gender,
from her BSM position to the position of Field Sales Manager in August of
2001. Plaintiff also alleges that Zep retaliated against her after she
filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission ("PHRC")
by setting unrealistic sales goals, by failing to give her business leads
at a comparable rate that male employees were receiving, and by reducing
Plaintiff filed her complaint with the PHRC on November 26, 2001. The
complaint was cross-filed with the United States Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on that same date. On March 6, 2003, the
EEOC issued a Notice of Right to Sue letter to Plaintiff. Plaintiff filed
suit on April 23, 2003. Defendants now
move for judgment on the pleadings with respect to Plaintiff's
failure to promote claim.
A motion for judgment on the pleadings, made pursuant to Federal Rule
of Civil Procedure 12(c) is treated under the same standard as a motion
to dismiss under 12(b)(6). See Jablonski v. Pan American World
Airways, Inc., 863 F.2d 289, 290-91 (3d Cir. 1988); Abdulaziz
v. City of Philadelphia, No. 00-5672, 2001 WL 1257441, at *1 (E.D.
Pa. Oct. 18, 2001). A motion for judgment on the pleadings will only be
granted where the moving party has established that no material issue of
fact remains to be resolved, and that the movant is entitled to judgment
as a matter of law. See Consolidated Rail Corp. v. Protlight,
Inc., 188 F.3d 93, 95-96 (3d Cir. 1999); Institute for
Scientific Info., Inc. v. Gordon and Breach, Science Publishers,
Inc., 931 F.2d 1002, 1005 (3d Cir. 1991). In determining whether a
material issue of fact exists, the court must view the facts and
inferences to be drawn from the pleadings in the light most favorable to
the non-moving party. See Green v. Fund Asset Management, L.P.,
245 F.3d 241, 220 (3d Cir. 2001); Janney Montgomery Scott, Inc. v.
Shepard Miles, Inc., 11 F.3d 399, 406 (3d Cir. 1993).
A. Title VII and PHRA Claims*fn2
Defendants argue that Plaintiff's claims arising from the alleged
failure to promote her to the DSM position in mid-1999 are time-barred
under Title VII and the PHRA. Plaintiff responds that she is not
time-barred under the continuing violation doctrine.
1. Timeliness of Plaintiff's Claims
A plaintiff under Title VII must file a timely charge with the EEOC
before initiating suit in federal court. See Love v. Pullman,
404 U.S. 522, 523 (1972). Title VII provides that a plaintiff must file
with the EEOC or its state or local equivalent within 300 days of the
alleged actions or practice that constitutes illegal discrimination.
See 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5 (e);*fn3 West v. Philadelphia
Elec. Co., 45 F.3d 744, 754 (3d Cir. 1995). To bring a suit under
the PHRA, Pennsylvania law requires that a plaintiff first file an
administrative complaint with the PHRC within 180 days of the alleged act
of discrimination. See 43 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 959(h);