United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
GYLES G. WILSON Plaintiff,
GRAYBAR ELECTRIC COMPANY INC., et al. Defendants.
MEMORANDUM RE: MOTION TO DISMISS
Gyles Wilson, a resident of Middletown, Delaware, asserts
that he was wrongfully terminated from his position as a
warehouse supervisor at Graybar Electric Company, Inc. by his
former supervisor, James O'Kane, on the basis of age,
disability, race, and national origin and in retaliation for
seeking worker's compensation for a workplace injury.
Graybar, a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania company, and James
O'Kane, a resident of Glenolden, Pennsylvania, move to
dismiss counts two, five, seven, and ten pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6) for failure to state a claim. Presently
before the Court is Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Mr.
Wilson's claims due to a failure to exhaust
administrative remedies and availability of statutory relief
baring common law claims. For the reasons that follow,
Defendant's motion is denied.
following facts are taken as true from Plaintiff's
complaint. Plaintiff Gyles Wilson, a 55-year-old black man of
Jamaican decent, spent 23 years working for Defendant Graybar
at their Philadelphia location. (2d Am. Compl. ¶ 5, ECF
21). In those 23 years, Wilson had never received a written
reprimand. Id. ¶ 17. On November 11, 2015,
Wilson suffered a work-related injury. Id. ¶
18. Wilson utilized worker's compensation to pay for
physical therapy and related medical expenses. Id.
¶ 19. Wilson was certified as able to return to work on
February 16, 2016 and did return to work the following Monday
February 22, 2016. Id. ¶ 20.
returned to the same position as warehouse supervisor he
left, but states that his supervisor, James O'Kane, was
overly harsh in his criticism and required Wilson to perform
tasks outside of his job description despite Wilson's
request for accommodation. Id. ¶¶ 20-22.
James O'Kane is described as white and younger than
Wilson. Id. ¶¶ 21.
August 15, 2016, Wilson was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Id. ¶ 23. He notified his employer of his
diagnosis and then again later when he found out he would
have to take a medical leave for surgery. Id. ¶
24. However, when Wilson requested the twelve weeks of leave
he was anticipated to require to recover from the surgery, he
was denied and ultimately only given eight weeks.
Id. ¶¶ 24-26. Wilson required two
additional surgeries due to medical complications, but still
returned within his allotted 8 weeks on October 3, 2016.
Id. ¶¶ 25-26. Upon his return from
surgery, Wilson again was subject to harsh criticism and
tasks outside his job description despite his requested
accommodation. Id. ¶ 28.
November 7, 2016, Wilson was called in to O'Kane's
office and where his employment was terminated. Id.
¶ 29. Wilson was not told an official reason for his
firing from O'Kane at the meeting. Id. ¶
30. The reason given to other people for Wilson's firing
is that he delayed in reporting damage to a truck in the
warehouse he was supervising. Id. ¶ 31. Wilson
states that he discovered the damage at 4:00am and promptly
reported it. He did report it when he arrived at the facility
at 8:00am. Id. ¶ 32. Wilson asserts that his
firing without any notice was due to his age, disability,
race, national origin and in retaliation for his use of
worker's compensation and medical leave. Id.
Wilson's time at Graybar, older employees ceased to be
promoted once O'Kane became supervisor. Id.
¶ 39. Wilson was told that he was not the
“type” to be a manager by O'Kane, which he
understood to be an overt racial comment. Id.
¶¶ 41-42. There were three other black employees at
Graybar's Philadelphia location at the time of
Wilson's firing and two were fired soon after and the
third quit in January 2017. Id. ¶ 43.
August 7, 2017 Plaintiff filed this action in the United
States District Court for the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania. (Compl., ECF 1). The second amended complaint
was filed on January 9, 2018. (2d Am. Compl., ECF 21). The
ten counts of the second amended complaint are:
I) Discrimination Due to Actual or Perceived Disability and
Failure to Provide Reasonable Accommodation, Americans with
Disabilities Act 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq.
II) Discrimination Due to Actual or Perceived Disability and
Failure to Provide Reasonable Accommodation, Pennsylvania
Human Relations Act 43 P.S. § 951 et seq.
III) Workers Compensation Retaliation (Public Policy),
Pennsylvania Human Relations Act 43 ...