United States District Court, W.D. Pennsylvania
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C. MITCHELL UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
Robert Rush, brings this employment discrimination action
pursuant to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29
U.S.C. §§ 621-34 (ADEA), against the Defendant,
Rice Energy. He alleges that Defendant discriminated against
him on the basis of his age when it terminated him from his
position as a Senior Construction Foreman on August 25, 2016.
pending before the Court for disposition is Defendant's
motion to dismiss. Plaintiff has filed a brief in opposition
and Defendant has filed a reply brief. For the reasons that
follow, the motion will be denied.
was hired on December 1, 2016 [sic] as a Senior Construction
Foreman. Plaintiff's boss, Mark Wainwright, consistently
told Plaintiff to keep quiet during meeting and not to offer
his opinion or suggestions. During Plaintiff's
evaluations, Wainwright discredited Plaintiff's ideas
about cost cutting and improvements. (Compl. ¶¶
Plaintiff was hired, he was told that he would receive
training on Defendant's policies and procedures. Once
Plaintiff was hired, he did not receive any training nor was
he allowed to attend meeting where the policies were
discussed. Employees that were younger than Plaintiff
received training on Defendant's policies and were
allowed to attend meetings where Defendant's policies
were discussed. (Compl. ¶¶ 11-13.)
along with several of Defendant's employees, attended two
(2) classes to obtain certification to operate various pieces
of equipment. At no time during the classes were the
employees and Plaintiff instructed not to operate the
equipment. Younger employees that were similarly situated as
Plaintiff routinely operated the equipment. (Compl.
August 19, 2016, a subcontractor was ineffectively operating
a piece of equipment. Plaintiff requested that the
subcontractor cease operating and Plaintiff took over
operating the piece of equipment. When Plaintiff was done
operating the piece of the equipment, the subcontractor
alleged that Plaintiff bumped a pipe and almost hit one of
the subcontractor's welders. Shortly thereafter,
Wainwright telephoned Plaintiff and ordered that the job site
be shut down. Wainwright told Plaintiff that he would speak
to Plaintiff in more detail on the following Monday. (Compl.
Monday, August 22, 2016, Wainwright and Plaintiff met, but
Wainwright did not discuss the job site shut down. On
Tuesday, August 23, 2016, Vice President John Guoynes called
Plaintiff into his office to discuss the job site shut down.
After Plaintiff told Guoynes what happened, Guoynes told
Plaintiff that he violated company policy, however he did not
provide any details. Plaintiff asked if he was terminated and
Guoynes stated he was not terminated. (Compl. ¶¶
Wednesday, August 24, 2016, Michael Lauderbaugh, Head of
Safety, and Ms. Curigliano called Plaintiff on his cell phone and
accused him of violating a company policy that prohibited
Defendant's employees from operating equipment. However,
Lauderbaugh stated that the safety inspection that had been
conducted did not find that the pipe or any personnel were
hit during the incident. Plaintiff asked several questions
about other employees operating equipment, but Lauderbaugh
did not respond. On August 25, 2016, Plaintiff was
terminated. (Compl. ¶¶ 26-29.)
filed this action on January 31, 2018. Count I (the only
claim) alleges that Defendant discriminated against him on
the basis of his age in violation of the ADEA when it
excluded him from training that was provided to younger
employees, precluded him from operating equipment that
younger employees were allowed to operate and ultimately
terminated him for allegedly abandoning his position. Federal
question jurisdiction is invoked pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §
1331 and the ADEA, 29 U.S.C. § 623.
March 14, 2018, Defendant filed a motion to dismiss (ECF No.
7), to which Plaintiff responded on April 4, 2018 (ECF No.
15). On April 9, 2018, Defendant filed a reply brief (ECF No.