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Mathis v. Christian Heating & Air Conditioning, Inc.

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

March 12, 2015

PAUL MATHIS, Plaintiff,
v.
CHRISTIAN HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING, INC., Defendant

Page 652

For PAUL MATHIS, Plaintiff: ADAM C. LEASE, LEAD ATTORNEY, ARI RISSON KARPF, KARPF KARPF & CERUTTI PC, BENSALEM, PA.

For CHRISTIAN HEATING AND AIR CONDITIONING, INC., Defendant: FREDERICK T. LACHAT, JR., PHILADELPHIA, PA.

Page 653

MEMORANDUM

Hon. Jan E. DuBois, Judge.

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiff brings this action against his former employer, Christian Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. for alleged violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § § 2000e et seq., and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (" PHRA" ), 43 P.S. § § 951 et seq. Presently before the Court is Plaintiff's Motion for Clarification of the Court's Memorandum and Opinion Regarding Defendant's Motion to Dismiss. The Court construes the Motion for Clarification as a Motion for Reconsideration of the Court's Memorandum and Order dated October 7, 2014. For the reasons that follow, the Motion for Reconsideration is granted, and, upon reconsideration, the Motion to Dismiss, which was previously granted in part and denied in part, is denied in its entirety.

II. BACKGROUND

The background of this case is set forth in detail in the Court's October 7, 2014 Memorandum and Order. See Mathis v. Christian Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc., No. 13-3740, 60 F.Supp.3d 566, 2014 WL 5027802 (E.D. Pa. Oct. 8, 2014). The facts will be recited in this Memorandum only as necessary to address the issues presented by the Motion presently before the Court.

A. Factual Background [1]

Plaintiff was employed from April 2010 until January 2012 as a full-time sheet metal installer for defendant, Christian Heating and Air Conditioning, Inc. The company is owned by David Peppelman, who also served as plaintiff's supervisor. Plaintiff asserts that during his employment he was subjected to comments from Peppelman about his religious beliefs and that Peppelman repeatedly insisted that plaintiff attend church. (Compl. ¶ 15.) Plaintiff was also required to wear an identification badge with defendant's mission statement printed on the back, which read in part: " This company is not only a business, it is a ministry. It is set on standards that are higher than man's own. Our goal is to run this company in a way most pleasing to the lord [sic]...." (Compl. ¶ 18.) Plaintiff wore the badge during work hours but covered the mission statement with a piece of tape. Plaintiff claims that wearing the badge conflicted with his beliefs as an atheist. (Compl. ¶ 10.)

Plaintiff alleges that on January 23, 2012, Peppelman approached plaintiff and told him that he could not continue to work unless he removed the tape from the back of his identification badge. (Compl. ¶ 21.)

Page 654

Plaintiff informed Peppelman that the mission statement conflicted with his religious beliefs and he felt that the badge was an attempt to force religious beliefs on him. (Compl. ¶ 21.) Defendant refused to allow plaintiff to continue concealing the mission statement. (Compl. ¶ 22.) Plaintiff contends that, as a result of this conversation, he was terminated from employment on January 23, 2012. (Id.)

Plaintiff subsequently applied to the Pennsylvania Unemployment Compensation Service Center for unemployment compensation benefits. On February 8, 2012, he received a Notice of Determination denying benefits. (Mot. to Dismiss, Ex. I at 3A, 29A.) Plaintiff filed an appeal, and a hearing was held before a referee on June 12, 2012. The Unemployment Compensation Board of Review (" UCBR" ) issued its Decision and Order on July 18, 2012, in which it concluded that plaintiff did not qualify for unemployment compensation benefits. (Mot. to Dismiss, Ex. E, Board's Decision and Order.) The UCBR made a number of factual findings, including findings that defendant told plaintiff " to remove the duct tape [from his badge] or he could leave" and that " claimant [Mathis] chose to leave and the work relationship ended." ( Id.) Based on these findings, the UCBR concluded that ...


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