United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
employment discrimination case, plaintiff Maria Garcia Dixon
alleges that she was discriminated against and that her
employment was terminated by defendant, Amerihealth
Adminstrators (“Amerihealth”) because of her
“race and color.” Dixon, an African-American
woman, was terminated following a series of complaints to
Amerihealth's Human Resources Director concerning
discriminatory treatment and discipline by her supervisor.
Dixon asserts claims of race discrimination, harassment, and
retaliation under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 and the Pennsylvania
Human Relations Act (“PHRA”), 43 P.S.
§§ 951, et seq. Presently before the Court
is Amerihealth's Motion to Dismiss. For the reasons that
follow, Amerihealth's Motion is granted in part and
denied in part.
facts as alleged in the Amended Complaint are as follows.
Dixon was hired as a Claims Service Representative by
Amerihealth in April of 2008. Am. Compl. ¶ 4. In
November of 2010, Vicky Meager, who is Caucasian, became
Dixon's immediate supervisor. Am. Compl. ¶ 6. Meager
provided “Caucasian workers with training and
assistance that was denied to similarly situated
African-American employees, ” Am. Compl. ¶ 8, and
“denied [Dixon] and her African-American coworkers
assistance and guidance regarding their work duties and
responsibilities, ” Am. Compl. ¶ 9. Dixon was
subjected to “unfair and unwarranted discipline”
by Meager in July and September of 2013. Am. Compl. ¶
11. In September of 2013, Dixon complained to
Amerihealth's Human Resources Director, Susan Weed, about
Meager's discriminatory treatment. Am. Compl. ¶ 12.
Meager was placed on corrective action by Amerihealth, but
her discriminatory treatment of Dixon continued. Am. Compl.
five months later, in February of 2014, Dixon “filed a
charge of discrimination alleging race discrimination.”
Am. Compl. ¶ 15. On June 15, 2014, Dixon was terminated,
allegedly for performance deficiencies. Am. Compl. ¶ 17.
Dixon additionally alleges that, in the year prior to her
termination, Meager was responsible for the discharge of four
other African-American employees who held the same positions
as Dixon. Am. Compl. ¶ 19.
filed her initial Complaint on March 31, 2017. On June 12,
2017, Amerihealth filed a Motion to Dismiss. Dixon thereafter
filed an Amended Complaint on June 26, 2017. Amerihealth
filed a Motion to Dismiss Dixon's Amended Complaint on
June 30, 2017.
12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure permits a
party to respond to a pleading by filing a motion to dismiss
for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted.” To survive a motion to dismiss, the complaint
must allege facts that “‘raise a right to relief
above the speculative level.'” Victaulic Co. v.
Tieman, 499 F.3d 227, 234 (3d Cir. 2007) (quoting
Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555
(2007)). A complaint must contain “sufficient factual
matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief
that is plausible on its face.'” Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570). A district court first
identifies those factual allegations that constitute nothing
more than “legal conclusions” or “naked
assertions.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, 557.
Such allegations are “not entitled to the assumption of
truth” and must be disregarded. Iqbal, 556
U.S. at 679. The court then assesses the remaining
“‘nub' of the plaintiff['s] complaint-the
well-pleaded, nonconclusory factual allegation[s]”-to
determine whether the complaint states a plausible claim for
asserts disparate treatment discrimination, harassment, and
retaliation claims under § 1981 and the PHRA.
Amerihealth moves to dismiss all claims. The Court first
addresses Amerihealth's argument that Dixon did not
exhaust her administrative remedies under the PHRA and then
considers each claim in turn.
first argues that Dixon's PHRA claims should be dismissed
because (1) she failed to allege that she exhausted her
administrative remedies and (2) her allegations of
discriminatory treatment are insufficient to support a claim
for discrimination and retaliation under the
bring suit under the PHRA, an administrative complaint must
be filed with the [Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission]
within 180 days of the alleged act of discrimination.”
Mandel v. M & Q Packaging Corp., 706 F.3d 157,
164 (3d Cir. 2013) (citing 43 Pa. Stat. § 959(h)).
Plaintiffs can satisfy the administrative complaint
requirement of the PHRA by “check[ing] the box on the
[Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] charge form
indicating that the charge should be filed with both
agencies, ” thereby dual-filing a charge of
discrimination. Woodson v. Scott Paper Co.,
109 F.3d 913, 925 (3d Cir. 1997); see also Rhoades v.
Young Women's Christian Ass'n of Greater
Pittsburgh, No. 09-1548, 2010 WL 4668469, at *5 (W.D.
Pa. Nov. 9, 2010) (“Courts in this Circuit interpreting
the worksharing arrangement have held that where a plaintiff
timely files a complaint with one agency, either the EEOC or
the PHRC, coupled with a request for dual filing, then the
complaint is deemed filed with both agencies as of that
case, Dixon alleges that she “filed a charge of
discrimination alleging race discrimination in the
workplace.” Am. Compl. ¶ 15. As an attachment to
her response to the Motion to Dismiss, Dixon submits a signed
and stamped form titled “Information for Complainants
& Election Option to Dual File with the Pennsylvania
Human Relations Commission.” Resp. to Mot. to Dismiss,
Ex. B. Based on the submission of that form, the
Court concludes that Dixon dual filed her charge ...