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Ronald Seltman v. Exelon Corporation

September 27, 2012

RONALD SELTMAN,
PLAINTIFF
v.
EXELON CORPORATION, DEFENDANT



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

MEMORANDUM

Ronald Seltman filed an employment discrimination action against his former employer alleging retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a violation of the Pennsylvania Human Rights Act,*fn1 and the state tort of intentional interference with prospective contractual relations. This case was originally filed in the Court of Common Pleas of Lehigh County, and removed here by the defendant.

The defendant filed a motion for summary judgment to which the plaintiff responded. For the following reasons, I will grant the defendant's motion in its entirety and enter judgment on its behalf.

I. BACKGROUND*fn2

Ronald Seltman's employment with Exelon Corporation began on May 11, 1987 and ended on November 19, 2007. Pursuant to his employment, Mr. Seltman applied for and received unescorted access to Exelon's Limerick Generating Station, a nuclear power plant, which was a requirement for his position as a Health Physics Technician II. As part of this process, Mr. Seltman signed two Exelon PADS*fn3 Consent Forms in which he agreed that Exelon could obtain, retain, and transfer information necessary to determine whether to grant him unescorted access to a nuclear power plant. These forms specifically provide that the information obtained would be used in determining that an individual is trustworthy, reliable, and fit-for-duty, and that the results of that determination must be available to other power reactor licensees.

By signing the forms, Mr. Seltman acknowledged that the information would include, but is not limited to, dates when unescorted access has been authorized or terminated, and the date of any denial of access and the company holding the relevant information. The forms authorized any individual, organization, institution, or entity that now has, or obtains in the future, access-related information about him, whether or not such information is included in the PADS database, to release any such information in order to perform the investigation and evaluation required for unescorted access. Moreover, Mr. Seltman released Exelon, other PADS participants, the Nuclear Energy Institute, and the officers, employers, representatives, agents, and records custodians of any entity or individual supplying such information from any and all liability based on their authorized receipt, disclosure, or use of the information obtained pursuant to the Consent and to determine his eligibility for unescorted access.

In 2007, Exelon began an internal investigation of employee misconduct involving an employee-reported incident of sexual harassment which had occurred five years before in the men's locker room with four men present.*fn4 On April 24, 2007, Mr. Seltman was questioned by Exelon security about his role in the incident. A month later, as a result of the investigation, Exelon informed Mr. Seltman that it was denying his unescorted access to its nuclear plants based on trustworthiness and reliability.*fn5 Mr. Seltman internally appealed his denial of unescorted access, which was denied by letter dated September 14, 2007. The denial of his unescorted access was thus upheld. Mr. Seltman was given ninety days within which to find employment at Exelon which did not require unescorted access. He was unable to do so.

On November 19, 2007, Exelon Generation terminated Mr. Seltman's employment. On that same day, Mr. Seltman signed a Waiver and Release under the Exelon Corporation Severance Benefit Plan which released Exelon Corporation and its affiliated entities, including but not limited to Exelon, from all claims that otherwise could have been asserted by Mr. Seltman arising out of his employment and/or termination of employment with Exelon, including claims under Title VII, claims under any state anti-discrimination law, breach of contract claims, and tort claims. As consideration for the Waiver and Release, Mr. Seltman received salary continuation for sixty weeks in the amount of $88,608.00; payment of Mr. Seltman's COBRA premium during those sixty weeks in an amount equal to that which Exelon contributed for active employees; life insurance coverage at Exelon's expense; and tuition reimbursement.

Mr. Seltman filed a Charge of Discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and cross-filed with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission. Although signed by Mr. Seltman on September 12, 2008, the Charge of Discrimination is time-stamped as filed with the EEOC on September 27, 2008.

II. STANDARD OF REVIEW

A court shall grant summary judgment if the movant shows that there is no

genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. FED.R.CIV.P. 56(a). A dispute is "genuine" if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the non-moving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A factual dispute is "material" if it might affect the outcome of the case under governing law. Id.

A party seeking summary judgment always bears the initial responsibility for informing the court of the basis for its motion and identifying those portions of the record that it believes demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322 (1986). Where the non-moving party bears the burden of proof on a particular issue at trial, the movant's initial Celotex burden can be met simply by "pointing out to the district court that there is an absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's case." Id. at 325. A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by: citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations, admissions, interrogatory answers or other materials. FED.R.CIV.P. 56(c)(1)(A). That is, summary judgment is appropriate if the non-moving party fails to rebut by making a factual showing "sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. at 322. Under Rule 56, the court must view the evidence presented on the motion in the light most favorable to the opposing party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. at 255. The court must decide not whether the evidence unmistakably favors one side or the other but whether a fair-minded jury could return a verdict for the plaintiff on the evidence ...


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