United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
Matthew W. Brann United States District Judge
February 13, 2017, Plaintiff filed her Complaint. ECF No. 1.
Plaintiff states that she was hired by Defendant Modular
Steel Systems in March 2014 and was purportedly fired before
having spent two years at the company's plant in
Bloomsburg, Columbia County, Pennsylvania. Id. at
¶¶ 21, 23. In precisely what capacity Plaintiff was
hired is unclear from the Complaint.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendant Jim Novick, Modular
Steel's Vice President, created a hostile work
environment by making sexually- charged comments and
attempting to stare at her breasts and buttocks. Id.
at ¶¶ 25-30.
After Plaintiff complained to a plant manager, she alleges
that Mr. Novick “began to retaliate against
[her].” Id. at ¶ 36.
way of example, Plaintiff writes that Mr. Novick had referred
to her as a “cunt” and a “bitch.”
Id. at ¶ 38.
Plaintiff then writes that in February 2016, Mr. Novick
“yelled at [her] and told her she was terminated with
no explanation.” Id. at ¶ 52.
Plaintiff also avers that she was “subjected to wage
discrimination on the basis of her gender” because all
male employees in the office received raises, while her pay
stayed the same. Id. at ¶¶ 47-48.
Defendants filed a Motion to Dismiss on March 7, 2017, noting
that Plaintiff's Complaint was written “in the most
bare bones of terms.” ECF No. 7 at 1. I agree.
After Twombly and Iqbal, “[t]o
survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain
sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state
a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly,
550 U.S. at 570). “A claim has facial plausibility when
the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged.” Iqbal, 556 U.S.
at 678. “Although the plausibility standard does not
impose a probability requirement, it does require a pleading
to show more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has
acted unlawfully.” Connelly v. Lane Const.
Corp., 809 F.3d 780, 786 (3d Cir. 2016) (Jordan, J.)
(internal quotations and citations omitted).
Plaintiff here has not “allege[d] sufficient facts to
raise a reasonable expectation that discovery will uncover
proof of her claims.” Connelly, 809 F.3d at
789. To the contrary, the averments in Plaintiff's
Complaint are shadowy at best and pale in comparison to the
facts pled in Connelly. Specifically, nothing in the
Complaint suggests that sex “played either a motivating
or determinative factor” in the contested termination
or pay decisions. Id. at 791.
Moreover, “[f]or sexual harassment to be actionable, it
must be sufficiently severe or pervasive “to alter the
conditions of [the victim's] employment and create an
abusive working environment.” Meritor Sav. Bank,
FSB v. Vinson, 477 U.S. 57, 67 (1986). “Conduct
that is not severe or pervasive enough to create an
objectively hostile or abusive work environment-an
environment that a reasonable person would find hostile or
abusive-is beyond Title VII's purview.” Harris
v. Forklift Sys., Inc., 510 U.S. 17, 21 (1993). A
“mere utterance of an . . . epithet which engenders
offensive feelings in an employee would not affect the
conditions of employment to sufficiently significant degree
to violate Title VII.” Meritor, 477 U.S. at
Plaintiff offers no facts that plausibly suggest she was the
victim of sex discrimination so severe or pervasive as to
alter the conditions of her employment as that standard is
applied. See, e.g., Bumbarger v. New Enter.
Stone & Lime Co., 170 F.Supp.3d 801, 830 (W.D. Pa.
2016) (Gibson, J.) (“[U]se of the word ‘b-h'
on a few occasions and ‘c-t' on a few occasions,
over the time period of 2009 until 2013, is ...