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Amy Dalickas v. Summit Ridge Biosystems

September 29, 2011

AMY DALICKAS,
PLAINTIFF
v.
SUMMIT RIDGE BIOSYSTEMS, INC.D/B/A SUMMIT RIDGE FARMS, DEFENDANT



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Munley

MEMORANDUM

Before the court for disposition is Defendant Summit Ridge Biosystems, Inc.'s motion to dismiss the complaint. The motion has been fully briefed and is ripe for disposition.

BACKGROUND

Plaintiff Amy Dalickas ("Dalickas") worked for Defendant Summit Ridge Biosystems, Inc. ("Summit Ridge"). (Compl. ¶¶ 2-4 (Doc. 1)). Dalickas was hired on October 18, 1999. (Id. ¶ 6). Dalickas alleges that until the events in question, over the course of nearly ten years she received raises, promotions, and a bonus, with no written reprimands or warnings. (Id. ¶ 11). At the time of the events in question Dalickas was employed as a Study Director / Laboratory Manager. (Id. ¶ 31).

On December 3, 2008, Dalickas found out she was pregnant. (Id.¶ 9). Dalickas informed Summit Ridge's president, Michael Panasevich ("Panasevich"), that she was pregnant on January 12, 2009. (Id. ¶ 10). Dalickas alleges that from this point forward "Panasevich's demeanor, speech and actions turned hostile towards Plaintiff." (Id. ¶ 12). Panasevich also "became more confrontational with Plaintiff and yelled at Plaintiff at times." (Id. ¶ 16).

In early 2009 Panasevich indicated that he wanted Dalickas to travel to a pet food trade show in Chicago in April of 2009. (Id. ¶ 13) Dalickas' doctor advised against taking the trip and Dalickas informed Panasevich of this. (Id. ¶¶ 14, 15). Panasevich allegedly "berated" Dalickas for being unable to travel. (Id. ¶ 15). Dalickas alleges that she began taking anti-anxiety medication because of Panasevich's "hostile and confrontational demeanor." (Id. ¶ 17).

On April 6, 2009, Panasevich sent Dalickas "an e-mail complaining of Plaintiff's alleged poor performance." (Id. ¶ 18). On June 4, 2009, Panasevich allegedly yelled at Dalickas for not emailing a report. (Id. ¶ 19, 20). Dalickas asked why Panasevich was yelling and asked "[w]hy is it that for 10 plus years I was great at my job, and since I got pregnant, everything I do is wrong?" (Id. ¶ 20). Panasevich allegedly "stormed off" only to return to inform Dalickas that, from then on, he would communicate with her through Director of Operations Ryan Krupovich. (Id. ¶¶ 20, 21). Panasevich allegedly admitted he treated Dalickas differently from other employees because she was on a different pay scale, but not because she was pregnant. (Id. ¶ 21).

Dalickas alleges that her workload increased in June of 2009-- other employees took vacation and Dalickas was required to train her temporary replacement. (Id. ¶¶ 22-23). Panasevich allegedly yelled at Dalickas on multiple occasions for not having completely trained the temporary employee. (Id. ¶ 24). On July 2, 2009, Dalickas expressed concern to Krupovich, stating "[p]regnancy in this place is a death sentence, and I am afraid that I am going to lose my job." (Id. ¶ 27). Krupovich allegedly assured Dalickas that her job was not in jeopardy. (Id.) Krupovich and Dalickas agreed that the two would communicate during Dalickas' leave. (Id. ¶¶ 29-30).

Dalickas took medical leave on July 3, 2009. (Id. ¶ 30). Dalickas alleges that on July 17, 2009 Krupovich sent a message to Dalickas that Panasevich wanted her to analyze data from a study by the following day. (Id. ¶¶ 41-43). Dalickas encountered problems with the data and contacted Krupovich. (Id. ¶¶ 45-46). After receiving no guidance from Krupovich or Panasevich, Dalickas completed her work as best she could with the data she had, and emailed her results with certain instructions. (Id. ¶ 47). Summit Ridge employees allegedly did not follow the instructions, creating problems. (Id. ¶ 49). On July 21, 2009, Krupovich allegedly called Dalickas and yelled at her for not completing the study and demanding the files. (Id. ¶ 51).

Dalickas gave birth on July 27, 2009. (Id. ¶ 55). Dalickas was on maternity leave until September 17, 2009, at which point she returned to Summit Ridge for a meeting with Panasevich and Krupovich. (Id. ¶¶ 56, 57). Dalickas was discharged at the meeting. (Id. ¶ 58). Dalickas was given the following reasons for her termination: "(1) she went on maternity leave without completing studies she was working on; she did not communicate with Mr. Krupovich on a daily basis while on medical leave to discuss on-going projects; and (3) she was disrespectful to Mr. Krupovich during a phone conversation on July 21, 2009." (Id. ¶ 59).

On February 24, 2011, Dalickas filed her complaint. (Compl.). The complaint raises six counts: Counts I through IV claim gender discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., the Pregnancy Discrimination Act ("PDA"),42 U.S.C. § 2000e(k), the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA"), 43 P.S. § 951, et seq., and Article I, Section 28 of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Count V claims common law wrongful discharge based on gender discrimination; and Count VI claims intentional infliction of emotional distress. On May 3, 2011, Summit Ridge filed this motion to dismiss. (Doc. 5). The motion has been fully briefed, bringing the case to its present posture.

JURISDICTION

Because this case is brought pursuant to Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1), the court has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331. ("The district courts shall have original jurisdiction of all civil actions arising under the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States."). The court has supplementaljurisdiction over plaintiff's state-law claims pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1367(a) ("In any civil action of which the district courts have original jurisdiction, the district courts shall have supplemental jurisdiction over all other claims that are so related to claims in ...


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