The opinion of the court was delivered by: Legrome D. Davis, J.
AND NOW, this 16th day of July, 2012, upon consideration of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 16) and Plaintiff's response in opposition thereto (Doc. No. 20); Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 15) and Defendant's response thereto (Doc. No. 19); and Defendant's Motion to File a Reply Brief (Doc. No. 21), it is hereby ORDERED as follows:
1. Defendant's Motion to File a Reply Brief (Doc. No. 21) is GRANTED. The Clerk of Court shall docket Doc. No. 21-1 as "Defendant's Reply Memorandum of Law in Further Support of Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment."
2. Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 16) is GRANTED.
3. Plaintiff's Motion for Partial Summary Judgment (Doc. No. 15) is DENIED AS MOOT. Because we have granted summary judgment for Defendant, we need not address the legal sufficiency of Defendant's third affirmative defense (the only issue raised by Plaintiff's motion).
4. The Clerk of Court is directed to close this matter for statistical purposes.
I. Factual Background*fn1
This is an age- and race-based employment discrimination case. Defendant Liberty Court
("Liberty Court" or "the Center") is a nursing home located in Philadelphia, PA. The Center employs a diverse workforce, but its employees are predominantly female and black. (See Bosler Decl. Tab A, B). Plaintiff Wanda Glover-Daniels, a 49-year-old African American woman, began working for Liberty Court in 1988 as a payroll coordinator. Over the years, Glover-Daniels took on more responsibility and eventually began performing HR-type duties for Liberty Court. According to both Glover-Daniels and Stacey Martella (the young white woman who took the job Glover-Daniels wanted), at the time Glover-Daniels lost her job, Glover-Daniels had been performing most of Liberty Court's HR functions. Although Glover-Daniels' "official" title, as reflected on her pay stub, was "Manager, Personnel," her business card and employee badge indicated that she was the "Human Resources Manager" for the Center. Prior to the events precipitating this lawsuit, Glover-Daniels had never made a complaint of age or race discrimination at Liberty Court.
Stacey Martella, a 26-year old Caucasian woman, began working at Liberty Court in 2006 as a Scheduling Manager. Among other things, as Scheduling Manager, Martella was responsible for maintaining Liberty Court's nursing coverage on a twenty-four hour a day, seven day a week basis. Less formally, Martella took the initiative to listen to her fellow employees' work-related concerns and "went above and beyond to try and find a solution" for them. (Martella Dep. 56-58). Martella eventually became Glover-Daniels' "backup," performing (at least some of) Glover-Daniels' duties when she was out. For example, Martella served as Glover-Daniels' backup while Glover-Daniels was out on leave for her father's death from November 18, 2008 to December 21, 2008. Martella continued to function as Glover-Daniels' backup until the time Liberty Court hired Martella as the Center HR Manager and fired Glover-Daniels. In essence, the student replaced the teacher.
Two of the individuals who participated in the decision to hire Martella (and consequently fire Glover-Daniels) were Robert Murray and Colin Bosler. During the relevant time frame, Murray was the Administrator of Liberty Court and Bosler was a Regional Human Resources Manager. Glover-Daniels described her relationship with Murray as "okay," but she felt there was a lack of communication between them because Murray tended to discuss HR issues with Bosler instead of her (go over her head, so to speak). With respect to Bosler, Glover-Daniels would turn to him for help when needed and never had a problem with him (until she was passed-over for the Center HR Manager position, which led to this suit). Glover-Daniels admits that neither Murray nor Bosler ever made a comment to her that was discriminatory on the basis of race or age. (Pl.'s Dep. 109-12). What's more, according to Glover-Daniels, whenever she contacted someone for help at Liberty Court, she never felt that they made any discriminatory comments to her or helped her less than anyone else. (Id.).
In 2008, the region for which Bosler was responsible decided to install Center HR Manager positions at each center in the region in order to provide better center-specific HR support. In other words, the corporate decision to restructure HR was not targeted specifically at Liberty Court or Glover-Daniels, but rather impacted all centers within Bosler's region. As Bosler explained, the Center HR Manager position would require both the ability to handle dayto-day task-oriented support for the center and the ability to problem solve and act as a resource for the Administrator and other staff on a variety of HR-issues.
In August of 2008, Bosler met with Glover-Daniels and explained that they would be restructuring the HR position at Liberty Court, which would bring the job's "grade level" up to the same level as the Scheduling Manager position that Martella currently occupied (level 25, as opposed to level 13 which was the current level of Glover-Daniels' position). At the time, Glover-Daniels thought this was a good idea, primarily because she believed she would get the job (since she was already acting as the Center's HR manager) and receive a raise in accordance with the grade level bump.
In April of 2009, Bosler met with Glover-Daniels again about the soon-to-be restructured HR position at Liberty Court. Bosler told Glover-Daniels that they were moving forward with the plan, and if she was interested in the position, she could apply for it. After hearing this, Glover-Daniels did not understand why she had to apply for the job because, in her mind, she was already doing it. Bosler tried to explain the differences between Glover-Daniels' current position and the position that was going to be introduced, but Glover-Daniels believed (and apparently still does) that there were no real differences between the two.
After getting the news, Glover-Daniels told Martella (her backup) about the creation of the Center HR Manager position, and that Glover-Daniels' position would be eliminated as a result. Martella discussed with Glover-Daniels whether she (Martella) should apply, and Glover-Daniels told her to do it. Although Martella "felt bad about applying . . . [b]ecause [she and Glover-Daniels] had shared an office and worked closely for three years, and [she] knew that [Glover-Daniels] was also going to be applying," she went ahead and did it. (Martella Dep. 54-55).
On May 13, 2009, Murray placed an advertisement for the Liberty Court Center HR Manager position. (Murray Decl. Tab A). In response, Liberty Court received over twenty (20) resumes. Bosler was responsible for screening the resumes and choosing which candidates to interview. Bosler did so, looking for individuals with skills in employee relations, problem solving, and leadership. Internally, both Glover-Daniels and Martella applied for the position. Bosler interviewed Glover-Daniels in June of 2009.
Glover-Daniels thought the interview went well, but Bosler had some concerns. In particular, Bosler felt that Glover-Daniels often reiterated information that Bosler had previously provided her about his expectations for the position rather than bringing her own thoughts or concepts to the table. (Bosler Dep. 30-31). While Bosler didn't question Glover-Daniels' "task oriented practical experience," he had concerns about her ability to apply HR ...