United States District Court, M.D. Pennsylvania
the Court is the motion to dismiss Plaintiff Christian White
(“Plaintiff”)'s complaint, filed by
Defendants FedEx Corporation and FedEx Supply Chain, Inc.
(“Defendants”). (Doc. No. 5.) For the reasons
that follow, the motion will be granted.
initiated the above-captioned action against Defendants by
filing a complaint in this Court on February 25, 2019. (Doc.
No. 1.) The complaint alleges unlawful age discrimination in
violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
(“ADEA”), 29 U.S.C.A. § 621, et
seq., and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act
(“PHRA”), 43 P.S. § 951, et seq.,
as well as a state law claim for wrongful discharge in
violation of public policy. (Id.) On May 1, 2019,
Defendants filed a motion to dismiss the complaint for
failure to state a claim upon which relief may be granted
pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) (Doc.
No. 5), along with a brief in support (Doc. No. 6). Plaintiff
filed a brief in opposition on May 4, 2019 (Doc. No. 8), to
which Defendants filed a brief in reply on May 20, 2019 (Doc.
No. 9). Accordingly, the motion has been fully briefed and is
ripe for disposition.
Factual Background 
was employed by Defendants as an Assistant General Manager
(“AGM”) from July 18, 2016 to August 22, 2018.
(Doc. No. 1 ¶ 5.) During the course of his employment,
Plaintiff began to suspect that two supervisors were engaged
in activities that could negatively impact Defendants'
assets. (Id. ¶ 8.) Interpreting company policy
to require background checks on individuals suspected of
violating company policy or engaging in acts that may harm
the company, Plaintiff conducted a public records search of
the two supervisors on his home computer. (Id.
¶¶ 10-12.) Upon discovering that the two
supervisors had a criminal background history, Plaintiff
reported his findings and concerns that the supervisors may
have been engaged in criminal activity to Noel Alvarez
(“Alvarez”), Security Specialist at FedEx, on
August 13, 2018. (Id. ¶¶ 14-15.) Following
a more in-depth background check, Plaintiff and Alvarez
brought the information from their investigation to Human
Resources. (Id. ¶¶ 16-17.)
following day, after Plaintiff arrived at work, Senior
Manager Vince Woolgar (“Woolgar”) called
Plaintiff into a conference room and suspended him.
(Id. ¶ 18.) Plaintiff was not given a reason
for the suspension at the time. (Id. ¶ 19.) On
August 22, 2018, General Manager Jan Kauffman
(“Kauffman”) terminated Plaintiff's
employment for the stated reason of “conducting an
unauthorized background check.” (Id. ¶
20.) While Plaintiff readily admits to having conducted the
background check, he asserts that younger managers were not
disciplined or fired for serious violations of company policy
and that he was replaced by a younger manager with less
experience. (Id. ¶¶ 25-27.) Plaintiff has
not provided any additional facts to support these
assertions. Plaintiff further asserts that his suspension and
termination were due to an internal cover-up of criminal
activity and for his reports of the same. (Id.
¶ 24.) Subsequent to his termination, Plaintiff
dual-filed a charge of age discrimination with the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and
Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (“PHRC”).
(Id. ¶ 29.) He received a right to sue letter
dated February 15, 2019. (Id.)
STANDARD OF REVIEW
notice and pleading rules require the complaint to provide
the defendant notice of the claim and the grounds upon which
it rests. See Phillips v. Cnty. of Allegheny, 515
F.3d 224, 232 (3d Cir. 2008). When reviewing the sufficiency
of a complaint pursuant to a motion to dismiss under Federal
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the Court must accept as
true all material allegations in the complaint and all
reasonable inferences that can be drawn from them, viewed in
the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See In re Ins.
Brokerage Antitrust Litig., 618 F.3d 300, 314 (3d Cir.
2010). However, the Court need not accept legal conclusions
set forth as factual allegations. See Bell Atlantic Corp.
v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Rather, a civil
complaint must “set out ‘sufficient factual
matter' to show that the claim is facially
plausible.” See Fowler v. UPMC Shadyside, 578
F.3d 203, 210 (3d Cir. 2009) (quoting Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009)).
with the Supreme Court's ruling in Twombly, and
Ibqal, the Third Circuit has identified three steps
a district court must take when determining the sufficiency
of a complaint under Rule 12(b)(6): (1) identify the elements
a plaintiff must plead to state a claim; (2) identify any
conclusory allegations contained in the complaint “not
entitled” to the assumption of truth; and (3) determine
whether any “well-pleaded factual allegations”
contained in the complaint “plausibly give rise to an
entitlement to relief.” See Santiago v. Warminster
Twp., 629 F.3d 121, 130 (3d Cir. 2010) (citation and
quotation marks omitted). A complaint is properly dismissed
where the factual content in the complaint does not allow a
court “to draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678.
noted above, Plaintiff's complaint asserts both state and
federal age discrimination claims as well as a state law
claim for wrongful discharge in violation of public policy.
The Court first addresses Plaintiff's age discrimination
Defendants' Motion to Dismiss ...