United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London
VICKIE L. HOSKINS YOUNG, Plaintiff,
SMITHFIELD FARMLAND CORP., Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
C, Reeves, United States District Judge.
matter is pending for consideration of the defendant's
motion to dismiss the plaintiff's Complaint pursuant to
Rule 1');">12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.
[Record No. 5] The matter has been fully briefed and the
Court has considered the parties' respective positions.
For the reasons that follow, the Court will deny defendants
motion to dismiss.
Vickie Young (“Young”) is a former employee of
Defendant Smithfield Farmland Corporation
“(Smithfield”). She was hired to work at
Smithfield's facility in Middlesboro, Kentucky, in
October 2009. [Record No 1');">1-1');">1, ¶ 9] Young initially was
assigned to the packing department, but in 201');">10 her position
and duties changed when she was approved to be a Clerk in the
Maintenance Shop. [Id. at ¶¶ 9-1');">10] Young
continued her employment in the Maintenance Shop until she
was terminated in 201');">15. [Id. at ¶ 1');">10]
alleges that, during her last year of employment with
Smithfield, she was supervised by Joanie Bloomer
(“Bloomer”). She claims that Bloomer subjected
her to gender discrimination by treating her male co-workers
more favorably regarding vacation time, criticisms of work,
reprimands, and scheduling. [Id. at ¶ 1');">11');">1] Young
also alleges that, during her time in the Maintenance Shop,
she was repeatedly subjected to offensive verbal and physical
conduct of a sexual nature from Smithfield managers and
co-workers. [Id. at ¶ 1');">19] She contends that
during the last two years of her employment, mechanic
supervisor and maintenance manager Daniel Leach
(“Leach”) made unwanted sexual advances and made
clear that certain job benefits were conditioned on her
acceptance of his advances. [Id. at ¶¶
Young asserts that Smithfield retaliated terminating her
employment after she complained to the human resources office
regarding gender discrimination and hostile work environment
and threatened to file a complaint with the EEOC.
[Id. at ¶¶ 48-49]
Rule 1');">12(b)(6) of the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure, the
Court must look to the complaint and determine whether it
states a claim for which relief is available. The pleading
“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 Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly,
550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). The factual contentions must be
sufficient to raise a right to relief above the speculative
level, Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555, and permit the
Court to “draw the reasonable inference that the
defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.”
Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678. While a complaint need not
contain detailed factual allegations, it must contain more
than an “unadorned, the defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me
accusation.” Id. “A pleading that offers
‘labels and conclusions' or a ‘formulaic
recitation of the elements of a cause of action'”
is insufficient. Id. (quoting Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555).
KCRA Sex Discrimination Claim
alleges in Count I that she was subjected to a pattern and
practice of gender discrimination in the term, conditions,
and privileges of employment as compared to
similarly-situated male employees, who were treated more
favorably. [Record No. 1');">1-1');">1, ¶ 1');">11');">1] Section 344 of the
Kentucky Civil Rights Act (“KCRA”) makes it
unlawful for an employer to “fail or refuse to hire, or
to discharge any individual, or otherwise to discriminate
against an individual with respect to compensation, terms,
conditions, or privileges of employment, because of the
individual's race, color … [or] sex.” Ky.
Rev. Stat. 344.040(1');">1)(a). Because the KCRA was enacted to
implement the Federal Civil Rights Act of 1');">1964, its language
is “virtually identical” to that of Title VII.
Jefferson Cnty. v. Zaring, 1');">1 S.W.3d 583');">91');">1 S.W.3d 583, 586 (Ky.
2002); see also Gragg v. Somerset Tech. Coll., 373
F.3d 763, 768 (6th Cir. 2004); Lewis v. Norfolk S. Ry.
Co., 590 Fed. App'x 467, 469 (6th Cir.) Thus, the
same analysis applies to discrimination claims under title
VII and the KCRA. See Id.
establish a prima facie case for sex discrimination under the
KCRA, a plaintiff must demonstrate that she: (1');">1) is a member
of a protected class; (2) was subjected to an adverse action;
(3) was qualified for the job; and that (4) another similarly
situated employee, not in the protected class, was treated
more favorably. Kirkland v. James, 657 F. App'x
580, 584 (6th Cir. 201');">16) (citing Jackson v. VHS Detroit
Receiving Hosp., Inc., 1');">14 F.3d 769');">81');">14 F.3d 769, 776 (6th Cir.
201');">16). These elements represent “an evidentiary
standard, not a pleading requirement.” Keys v.
Humana, Inc., 684 F.3d 605, 609 (6th Cir.) (citing
Swierkiewicz v. Sorema, 534 U.S. 506, 51');">10, 1');">122 S.Ct.
992, 1');">152 L.Ed.2d 1');">1 (2002)). However, the Court must still
assess whether the plaintiff alleges “sufficient
‘factual content' from which a court, informed by
its ‘judicial experience and common sense, ' could
‘draw the reasonable inference, ' Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 678-79, that Smithfield “discriminate[d]
against [Young] with respect to her compensation, terms,
conditions, or privileges of employment, because of
[her] race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.”
Keys, 684 F.3d at 61');">10 (quoting 42 U.S.C. §
2000e-2(a)(1');">1)) (emphasis in original).
contends that Young has not pleaded facts sufficient to show
adverse employment action (i.e., that she received less
favorable treatment than similarly situated male employees,
and that she was subjected to intentional discrimination on
the basis of her gender). However, Young asserts sufficient
factual allegations from which this Court can draw a
reasonable inference of a plausible claim that Smithfield
discriminated against her with respect to her compensation,
terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of her
sex. See Keys, 684 F.3d at 61');">10. The Complaint
contains allegations that are neither speculative nor
conclusory. Instead, the pleading contains factual
allegations that state a plausible claim for relief. It
alleges, that over the last year of Young's employment,
Smithfield had a pattern or practice of gender discrimination
in the terms, conditions, and privileges of employment. It
also provides details of specific instances where Young
alleges she was treated differently than her male
counterparts, provides facts of the adverse actions
complained of, and provides the name of the key supervisor
who is alleged to have committed the discrimination. In
summary, Young has pleaded sufficient facts in her Complaint
which give Smithfield “fair notice of the basis for
[Young's] claims.” Swierkiewicz 534 U.S.
Hostile Work ...