United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky
For Glenna Bargo, Vickie Tuggle, Plaintiffs: Adam L. Towe, LEAD ATTORNEY, Williams Law Office, London, KY.
For Goodwill Industries of Kentucky, Inc., Roland Blahnik, Kristel Fryman, David Schultz, Vicky Napier-Hunter, Defendants: R. Kenyon Meyer, LEAD ATTORNEY, Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP - Louisville KY, Louisville, KY.
David L. Bunning, United States District Judge.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
Plaintiffs bring this age and gender discrimination action against their former employer, Goodwill of Kentucky, Inc., under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (" ADEA), and the Kentucky Civil Rights Act, along with state-law claims against Goodwill and its employees for intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation and invasion of privacy against Goodwill and its employees.
The Defendants have moved to dismiss all claims brought by Plaintiff Glenna Bargo, and certain claims brought by Plaintiff Vicki Tuggle (Doc. # 3). More specifically, Defendants move to dismiss Plaintiff Tuggle's claim under Title VII, as well as her intentional infliction of emotion distress, defamation and invasion of privacy claims. Plaintiffs have responded in opposition (Doc. # 4), and Defendants have replied (Doc. # 5); thus, this motion is ripe for review. For the reasons stated herein, the Court will grant Defendants' motion to dismiss.
I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND
Because this matter is before the Court on a motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6), the following facts are taken from Plaintiffs' Complaint and accepted as true:
A. Plaintiff Glenna Bargo
Plaintiff Bargo, who was at least forty (40) years old at all times relevant to this suit, was employed by Defendant Goodwill Industries, Inc. (" Goodwill" ) from November 1999 through September 2011. During that period, Bargo consistently received good performance evaluations. Her last position with the company was as Store Manger of the Harlan, Kentucky store.
Bargo alleges that Defendant Kristel Fryman was promoted to Vice President of Goodwill some time between October 2010 and September 2011. Shortly after her promotion, Fryman began relieving Bargo of her job duties and forcing her to work longer hours. Finally, on September 30, 2011, Fryman terminated Bargo, allegedly because of poor performance and decreased sales.
Bargo asserts that Fryman's explanation for her termination was " merely a mask to cover-up the pattern of age discrimination throughout Goodwill's Cumberland division." (Doc. # 1 at ¶ 20). Bargo goes on to allege that Fryman's explanations were inconsistent with the objective evidence: her performance evaluations were consistently positive and, although sales had dropped from October 2010 through June 2011, sales receipts reflected that sales had increased in July, August and September 2011.
B. Plaintiff Vicki Tuggle
Plaintiff Tuggle was employed by Goodwill as a Store Manger since September 6, 1994. At all times relevant to this suit, Tuggle was in her mid-to-late sixties. In early 2011, Defendant Vicky Hunter began reprimanding Tuggle about customer complaints
and taking excessively long lunch breaks. Tuggle asserts that there were no such customer complaints, nor was Hunter ever able to produce specific information about the complaints.
At some time in early 2011, Goodwill solicited applications for a Donated Goods Manager. Tuggle applied for the positions, as did Mr. David Schultz, a younger male who had been with the company for less than a year. Schultz was ultimately given the position despite Goodwill's longstanding history of promoting veteran employees, particularly those with Store Manager experience. As the Donated Goods Manager, Schultz began reprimanding Tuggle about being rude to customers and taking long lunch breaks. Tuggle contends these allegations were false.
Between March 2011 and July 27, 2011, Tuggle went on medical leave due to an unspecified medical condition. When Tuggle returned from medical leave, Schultz demoted her from the Store Manager position and took away many of her job responsibilities. Schultz also scheduled Tuggle for less favorable shifts working in the " back of the store," ( Id. at ¶ 26) which required her to be on her feet, lift, and do manual labor above her head. These new job tasks were in violation of Tuggle's medical restrictions, she claims.
Because she was unable to perform her new job tasks, Tuggle again took medical leave from August 16, 2011 through September 22, 2011. During her leave, she made complaints to Defendant Roland Blahnik, President of Goodwill. Tuggle asserts that Blahnik " ignored her complaints, told her that he was 'suspending' her complaints, and instructed her to fire workers with disabilities." ( Id. at ¶ 28). Five days after returning from medical leave Tuggle was terminated from Goodwill without any explanation or justification.
A. Standard of Review
" To 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." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009). A claim is factually plausible if the complaint contains factual allegations that " allow the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. This does not require a showing that the defendant is probably liable, but " it asks for more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Id. To meet this plausibility standard, the complaint must contain more than " threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements." Id.
B. Plaintiff Bargo has failed to plead plausible age discrimination claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Kentucky Civil Rights Act
Plaintiff Bargo alleges that she was terminated by Goodwill because of her age, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (" ADEA" ), 29 U.S.C. § 623, and Kentucky Civil Rights Act (" KCRA" ), ...