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Carol Mikulski v. Bucks County Community College

April 27, 2011


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Baylson, J.


I. Introduction

Plaintiff Carol D. Mikulski ("Plaintiff") brings this action against her employer, Bucks County Community College ("Defendant"), for violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq., and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA"), 43 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 951 et seq. Defendant moves to dismiss Plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), and, in the alternative, moves for a more definite statement pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(e). For the following reasons, Defendant's Motion will be granted in part and denied in part.

II. Background

1. Factual Background

Plaintiff's Complaint alleges the following facts. Plaintiff, a 56-year-old woman, began working for Defendant in 1993 as Coordinator of Community and Cultural Programs, a position she held until 1997. Compl. ¶¶ 8, 11. From 1999 to June 2004, Plaintiff served as Assistant Director, Continuing Education, including three stints as Interim Director, Continuing Education. Compl. ¶ 11. From July 2004 to the present, Plaintiff has held the position of Executive Director, Continuing Education. Compl. ¶¶ 8, 11.

In fall 2009, Plaintiff applied for the newly created position of Assistant Vice President, Continuing Education and Workforce Development. Compl. ¶ 12. The posted minimum requirements for the position included a masters degree; ten years of experience leading adult and continuing education initiatives and managing staff; senior leadership skills; interpersonal skills; adaptability to diverse constituencies; and grant writing experience. Compl. ¶ 13. Defendant formed a search committee, which selected Plaintiff as one of five finalists for the position. Compl. ¶ 14. Barbara Miller ("Miller"), Vice President of Continuing Education, Workforce Development and Public Safety Training, interviewed Plaintiff for the position in December 2009. Compl. ¶ 14. In January 2010, Miller announced the selection of Christine Gillespie ("Gillespie"), a 47-year-old candidate who was employed at a lower level than Plaintiff and did not meet the posted minimum requirements for the position. Compl. ¶¶ 15-18.

Plaintiff met with Miller to discuss why Plaintiff did not receive the promotion, given her experience and positive performance history. Compl. ¶¶ 19-20. Miller informed Plaintiff that Defendant's search committee ranked Gillespie above Plaintiff, which Plaintiff contests. Compl. ¶¶ 21-22. Miller told Plaintiff that "there are going to be a lot of changes at the College" and "I have to think about the College over the next ten years." Compl. ¶ 23.

Since May 2010, Plaintiff has been excluded from meetings and decision-making processes related to her job and job functions, and has suffered a "campaign of retaliation." Compl. ¶¶ 32-33. On June 7, 2010, Plaintiff filed a written complaint alleging age discrimination with the President of Bucks County Community College, James Linksz. Compl. ¶ 26. On June 14, 2010, Plaintiff received a performance review from Miller criticizing Plaintiff's direct communication style and unprofessional communication with Miller, in contrast to Plaintiff's April 2010 review praising her "excellent communications skills." Compl. ¶¶ 27-30.

2. Procedural History

Plaintiff alleged that she timely filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission ("PHRC"), and exhausted her administrative remedies. Compl. ¶ 4.

On January 26, 2011, Plaintiff filed a federal Complaint (ECF No. 1) with two Counts: Count One, "Age Discrimination," for violations of the ADEA, and Count Two, "State Law Claims," for violations of the PHRA. Compl. ¶¶ 36-45. Plaintiff seeks back pay with interest, front pay, compensatory damages, liquidated damages, costs, attorneys' fees, compensatory damages under the PHRA, and other monetary, injunctive and equitable relief as the Court deems just and proper.

On February 28, 2011, Defendant filed the Motion to Dismiss the Complaint or in the Alternative for a More Definite Statement of Plaintiff's Claims (the "Motion") (ECF No. 4), which is currently before the Court. Defendant attached to its Motion the June 14, 2010 Performance Evaluation of Plaintiff (the "June 2010 evaluation"). (Def.'s Ex. 1, ECF No. 4-4) Defendant also attached Plaintiff's administrative Charge of Discrimination (the "Charge"). (Def.'s Ex. 2, ECF No. 4-5) The cover sheet of the Charge is dated September 22, 2010, and is marked for filing with both the EEOC and the PHRC. Plaintiff responded to the Motion on March 21, 2011. (ECF No.5)

III. The Parties' ...

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