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Gloria J. Thompson v. Keystone Human Services Corporation

February 7, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sylvia H. Rambo


Before the court is Defendant Keystone Human Services Corporation's ("Keystone") motion to dismiss (Doc. 23) Plaintiff's second amended complaint. For the reasons that follow, the motion will be granted.

I. Background

A. Facts*fn1

On April 18, 2011, Plaintiff filed her second amended complaint (doc. 22) alleging violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000 et seq. ("Title VII"); the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, as amended, 29 U.S.C. § 621, et seq. ("ADEA"); the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12111 et seq. ("ADA"); and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 42 Pa.C.S.A § 951 et seq. ("PHRA").*fn2

Plaintiff, Gloria Thompson, is a forty-nine year old black female who resides in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. (Compl. ¶ 1.) At all times relevant to this complaint, Plaintiff worked for Defendant as a rehabilitation specialist and/or personal care associate.*fn3 Specifically, Plaintiff started working for Keystone on July 27, 1998, as a rehabilitation specialist. (Id. ¶ 5.) In September, 2002, she was transferred to the position of personal care associate. (Id. ¶ 6.)

On July 8, 2003,*fn4 Plaintiff called in sick due to a stomach aneurism and chronic asthma issues. (Id. ¶ 7.) Plaintiff claims she "was disparately and racially harassed by Tracy Robinson, (Causasian) Assistant Supervisor, perceiving Plaintiff as handicapped required that Plaintiff come in to work or find coverage which was not the standard practice or protocol of Defendant and was not how Defendant treated non-minority employees. Also, the Defendants' [sic] agents failed to reasonably accommodate her condition." (Id.) In addition, it is alleged that Tracy Robinson threatened to fire Plaintiff on this day if she did not find someone to cover her shift, Plaintiff claims non-minority employees were not subject to such a threat. (Id. ¶ 8.) This same day, Matt McGeorge, Defendant's Director, called Plaintiff to tell her he supported Tracey Robinson's decision and that it was consistent with company policy. (Id. ¶ 9.) However, Plaintiff claims there is no official, written company policy in effect. (Id.)

On July 5, 2004, Plaintiff again became ill with a stomach aneurism and chronic asthma, as a result, Plaintiff called Defendant's pager. (Id. ¶ 11.) Unfortunately, Defendant's pager was not properly working, however, Plaintiff was able to eventually contact Amy Hurst, an assistant supervisor. Plaintiff requested Defendant obtain medical assistance for her and coverage for the residents under her supervision. (Id. ¶¶ 12, 13.) Hurst informed Plaintiff she was not allowed to leave until coverage had been obtained for the residents. Plaintiff claims non-minority employees were not treated this same way and that this was not the written practice or procedure of Defendant. (Id. ¶ 14.) Plaintiff claims that instead of Hurst helping Plaintiff, Hurst instead told Plaintiff to start contacting other employees to see if she could obtain coverage for the facility's residents. (Doc. ¶ 15.)

Plaintiff alleges that as she attempted to comply with Hurst's requirement that she obtain residential coverage before leaving, Plaintiff became disoriented and semi-conscious. (Id. ¶ 16.) Eventually, Plaintiff's husband arrived at the facility and called an ambulance for Plaintiff. (Id. ¶ 17.) By the time the ambulance was ready to take Plaintiff to the hospital, no member of Defendant's staff had showed up to watch the facility's residents, therefore, Plaintiff's husband remained at the facility to watch the approximately ten disabled adult mental health patients onsite. (Id. ¶ 19.) Eventually Plaintiff's husband found a phone number for Matt McGeorge, Director of Keystone, who was apprised of the situation and eventually arrived at the facility so Plaintiff's husband could leave. (Id.)

Following this incident, on September 1, 2004, Plaintiff filed a complaint with the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Board of Health based on Defendant's treatment of her on July 5, 2004. (Id. ¶ 20.) In addition, it is alleged that Defendant was cited by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Board of Health based on Plaintiff's husband being alone on the premises and responsible for the residents within. Defendant was also cited for failing to ensure that Plaintiff was up to date on her CPR certification. (Id. ¶ 21.) With regard to the CPR training, in October 2006, Defendant was once again inspected and was notified that within seven days all employee files would need to be updated. (Id. ¶ 42.) At this time, Plaintiff's certification was due to expire on October 22, 2006, however, Defendant did not inform Plaintiff of her CPR's expiration and instead continued to let her work. (Id. ¶ 43.) Plaintiff claims that Defendant failed to make sure that Plaintiff was timely certified, while at the same time, making sure that non-minority employees were certified. (Id. ¶ 22.)

In July 2005, Plaintiff requested time off under the Family Medical Leave Act ("FMLA"). (Id. ¶ 29.) Plaintiff was told by Supervisor Pan Berkins that Plaintiff did not have any time available, although Plaintiff contends her pay-stub reflected ample time. (Id.) Later, Director McGeorge and Supervisor Berkins met with Plaintiff and informed her that she only had two weeks of annual leave available and if she did not return to work in two weeks, she could be terminated. (Id.) Other management personnel also supported this decision. (Id. ¶33.) Plaintiff contends that McGeorge's and Berkin's information was incorrect and that non-minority employees were not subject to termination for requesting time off in the same fashion. Furthermore, Plaintiff contends that her inability to use her earned leave time was a violation of the FMLA. (Id. ¶¶ 31, 34.) Eventually, Plaintiff declined to put in for leave time and instead continued working her assigned shift. (Id. ¶ 35.) Plaintiff claims she was later told this was a mistake but continued to remain unable to use her leave time. (Id. ¶ 37.)

Another medically-related incident involving Plaintiff occurred on November 27, 2006. (Id. ¶ 44.) On this date, Plaintiff alleges she was called into an unscheduled meeting by her program director and program administrator, Bobbi Olson and Laura Kuchta, both caucasian. She was told the meeting would be held in the facilities basement. Plaintiff related that she was not feeling well due to a rotator cuff injury, bursa tear and chronic inflammation of the shoulder. (Id.) During the meeting, Plaintiff received a written warning from Olson and Kuchta which caused her to become more ill, and when she attempted to stand up, both Olson and Kutcha started yelling at her. (Id. ¶ 46.) The complaint alleges that as Olson and Kutcha were "yelling at her to leave" Plaintiff lost consciousness. (Id. ¶ 48.) She remained unconscious for an extended period of time, with no medical assistance, until her husband arrived at the facility. (Id. ¶ 49.) Plaintiff was taken to the hospital by her family while her husband remained at the facility until he could get Plaintiff's shift covered. (Id. ¶ 50.) Plaintiff claims that non-minority employees who fell ill were not treated this same way, nor was any adverse action taken against either Olson or Kuchta regarding their behavior. (Id. ¶¶ 48, 51.)

In addition, the complaint alleges a litany of other discriminatory incidents which Plaintiff claims were based on her minority statues. These include:

failing to discipline a caucasian female who cursed Plaintiff in front of facility residents (id. ¶ 23); fostering an environment that created hostility and allowed "discriminatory, harassing and disrespectful behavior and speech towards Plaintiff by other employees" (id. ¶ 24); in mid-2006, an employee of Defendant suggested that Plaintiff leave her position, something that was not suggested to non-minority employees (id. ¶ 26); discriminatory behavior, including miscalculating pay, which was in retaliation for Plaintiff's September 1, 2004 complaint (id. ¶¶ 39, 40, 41); requiring Plaintiff to provide a doctor's note when she called in sick (id. ¶ 52); forcing Plaintiff to take involuntary medical leave ...

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