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McNeil v. Greyhound Lines, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

November 6, 2013

WAYNE MCNEIL, Plaintiff,
v.
GREYHOUND LINES, INC., Defendant

Decided November 5, 2013

For WAYNE MCNEIL, Plaintiff: JOHN KRAWCZYK, LEAD ATTORNEY, DAVID M. KOLLER, KOLLER LAW PC, PHILADELPHIA, PA.

For GREYHOUND LINES, INC., Defendant: IVAN R. NOVICH, LEAD ATTORNEY, LITTLER MENDELSON, P.C., NEWARK, NJ; JESSICA AGARWAL, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, LITTLER MENDELSON PC, NEWARK, NJ; LEIGH ANN BIGLEY, LEAD ATTORNEY, LITTLER MENDELSON, PHILADELPHIA, PA.

OPINION

Page 448

MEMORANDUM

Anita B. Brody, J.

Plaintiff Wayne McNeil brings suit against his former employer, Defendant Greyhound Lines, Inc. (" Greyhound" ). McNeil alleges that Defendant Greyhound, through its managers, supervisors, agents, and employees, engaged in gender discrimination, race discrimination, and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (" Title VII" ), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (" PHRA" ), 43 Pa. Stat. Ann. § 951 et seq. [1]

Defendant Greyhound moves to dismiss McNeil's complaint in its entirety, with prejudice, under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim on the basis of gender discrimination, race discrimination, or retaliation. I will grant in part and deny in part the motion for the reasons discussed below.

I. BACKGROUND[2]

Plaintiff Wayne McNeil is an African American male who wears his hair in dreadlocks in support of his race, culture, and heritage. He worked as a Greyhound bus driver from June 13, 1998, until his termination on January 3, 2013. During his tenure, McNeil was an exemplary employee, respected for his service to Greyhound.

Beginning in 2007, McNeil was repeatedly reprimanded and suspended for his hairstyle because his dreadlocks violated Greyhound's grooming policy. Greyhound's grooming policy states: " Hair must be kept neat be styled and colored in a matter that does not draw undo attention to the employee. Hair length for men should not be extended below the collar." Compl. ¶ 38. Female Greyhound employees are allowed to wear hair of any length.

Page 449

In March 2011, McNeil was suspended for three days without pay because of his hairstyle. On November 6, 2011, he was suspended for two days because of his hairstyle. McNeil told Greyhound that he wears his hair in dreadlocks in honor of his race, culture, and heritage and that removing his dreadlocks would go against his strongly held philosophical beliefs.

When McNeil contacted his direct supervisors about his treatment, they explained that they were following the directions of Vice President of the Region Michael Fleischhauer, a Caucasian male. Fleischhauer told McNeil that he personally disliked McNeil's hairstyle and that dreadlocks were not suitable for the work environment in any circumstance. Fleischhauer also commented to Al King, a ...


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