On Appeal from the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania (D.C. No. 2-09-cv-01205) District Judge: Honorable Gary L. Lancaster
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sloviter, Circuit Judge.
Submitted Under Third Circuit LAR 34.1(a) December 13, 2010
Before: SLOVITER, GREENAWAY, JR., and STAPLETON, Circuit Judges.
Appellant Dean Rea filed a complaint in the United States District Court of the Western District of Pennsylvania alleging that Federated Investors violated 11 U.S.C. § 525(b) when it refused to hire Rea because he had previously declared bankruptcy. The District Court granted Federated‟s motion under Rule 12(b)(6), Fed. R. Civ. P., to dismiss for failure to state a claim, holding, in accordance with the majority of other courts to have addressed the issue, that § 525(b) does not create a cause of action against private employers who engage in discriminatory hiring. We will affirm.
The facts are not in dispute. Rea filed for bankruptcy in 2002 and his debts were discharged in 2003. In 2009, Rea applied for employment with Federated through the placement firm Infinity Tech Services. Although it appeared after Federated interviewed him that Rea would be hired by Federated, Infinity later informed Rea that Federated had refused to hire him because of his bankruptcy.
Section 525 of the Bankruptcy Code, which prohibits discrimination against an individual solely because he or she is or has been a debtor or bankrupt, provides:
(a) . . . [A] governmental unit may not deny, revoke, suspend, or refuse to renew a license, permit, charter, franchise, or other similar grant to, condition such a grant to, discriminate with respect to such a grant against, deny employment to, terminate the employment of, or discriminate with respect to employment against, a person that is or has been a debtor under this title or a bankrupt or a debtor under the Bankruptcy Act, or another person with whom such bankrupt or debtor has been associated, solely because such bankrupt or debtor is or has been a debtor under this title or a bankrupt or debtor under the Bankruptcy Act, has been insolvent before the commencement of the case under this title, or during the case but before the debtor is granted or denied a discharge, or has not paid a debt that is dischargeable in the case under this title or that was discharged under the Bankruptcy Act.
(b) No private employer may terminate the employment of, or discriminate with respect to employment against, an individual who is or has been a debtor under this title, a debtor or bankrupt under the Bankruptcy Act, or an individual associated with such debtor or bankrupt, solely because such debtor or bankrupt--
(1) is or has been a debtor under this title or a debtor or bankrupt under the Bankruptcy Act;
(2) has been insolvent before the commencement of a case under this title or during the case but before the grant or denial of a discharge; or
(3) has not paid a debt that is dischargeable in a case under this title or that was discharged ...