United States District Court, W.D. Kentucky, Paducah
RONALD L. JONES, PLAINTIFF
WESTLAKE MANAGEMENT SERVICES, INC DEFENDANTS
MEMORANDUM OPINION AN ORDER
B. Russell, Senior Judge
matter is before the Court upon a motion by Defendant,
Westlake Management Services, Inc. (“Westlake
Management”), to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of
the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure as to all claims of
Plaintiff Ronald L. Jones (“Jones”). [DN 5].
Plaintiff has responded, [DN 7], and Defendant has filed a
reply. [DN 8]. Fully briefed, Defendants' motion is ripe
for review, and for the following reasons, it is DENIED.
factual allegations as set out in the Complaint, [DN 1], and
taken as true are as follows.Westlake Management hired Jones as
a Safety Engineer in March 2000. [DN 1 at 2]. During the
course of Jones's employment, he also became Westlake
Management's fire chief and emergency response
coordinator at the company's Calvert City facility.
Id. at 3. Jones was a competent employee, and in
fact the only issues raised about Jones's performance
occurred after he made complaints about two instances of
supervisor misbehavior to Westlake Management's local
human resources representative. Id.
Jones informed the local human resources representative about
inappropriate comments made by his supervisor in 2014.
Id. After reporting the inappropriate comments to
human resources, Jones was placed on a “performance
improvement plan.” Id. Jones successfully
completed the performance improvement plan. Id.
Second, in the spring of 2017, Jones reported to the local
human resources representative that he had observed a manager
standing over a young female employee, pointing his finger at
her, and yelling at her while the employee cried over the
inappropriate treatment. Id. After reporting that he
had observed disparate treatment of the female employee on
the basis of her sex, Jones was kept out of functions that
were part of his job. Id. at 3-4. For example, Jones
was not allowed to participate in an audit with the fire
safety vendor and was not allowed to attend a training
session in Mississippi which he regularly attended.
Id. at 3.
the audit that Jones was not allowed to attend, the fire
safety vendor found problems. Id. at 4. However, the
problems would not have been listed if Jones was present to
answer questions about the fire safety system for the safety
vendor. Id. After the audit, Westlake Management
placed Jones on a performance improvement plan identical to
the plan he had completed in 2014. Id. Again, Jones
completed the performance improvement plan. Id.
Then, on August 15, 2017, Westlake Management terminated
claims that Westlake Management terminated him in retaliation
for his complaints about the harassment or disparate
treatment of an employee on the basis of her sex, in
violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and
the Kentucky Civil Rights Act.
motion to dismiss pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6), “[t]he
defendant has the burden of showing that the plaintiff has
failed to state a claim for relief.” Directv, Inc.
v. Treesh, 487 F.3d 471, 476 (6th Cir. 2007) (citing
Carver v. Bunch, 946 F.2d 451, 454-55 (6th Cir.
1991)). A complaint must contain "a short and plain
statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled
to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). In order to survive a
motion to dismiss under Civil Rule 12(b)(6), a party must
"plead enough factual matter to raise a
'plausible' inference of wrongdoing." 16630
Southfield Ltd. P'ship v. Flagstar Bank, F.S.B., 727
F.3d 502, 504 (6th Cir. 2013) (quoting Ashcroft v.
Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d
868 (2009)). A claim becomes plausible "when the
plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to
draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable
for the misconduct alleged." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at
678 (citing Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S.
544, 556, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007)). Should the
well-pleaded facts support no "more than the mere
possibility of misconduct," then dismissal is warranted.
Id. at 679. The Court may grant a motion to dismiss
"only if, after drawing all reasonable inferences from
the allegations in the complaint in favor of the plaintiff,
the complaint still fails to allege a plausible theory of
relief." Garceau v. City of Flint, 572
Fed.Appx. 369, 371 (6th Cir. 2014) (citing Iqbal,
556 U.S. at 677-79).
motion to dismiss, Westlake Management presents two
arguments: (1) that Jones has not stated a claim because he
did not engage in protected activity under Title VII or the
KCRA; and (2) Jones has not attempted to demonstrate a causal
connection between the alleged protected activity and his
termination. The Court will address each of these arguments
claim is based on Title VII's “opposition
clause.” The Supreme Court has explained:
The opposition clause makes it "unlawful . . . for an
employer to discriminate against any . . . employe[e] . . .
because he has opposed any practice made . . . unlawful . . .
by this subchapter." § 2000e-3(a). The term
"oppose," being left undefined by the statute,
carries its ordinary meaning, Perrin v. United
States,444 U.S. 37, 42, 100 S.Ct. 311, 62 L.Ed.2d 199
(1979): "[t]o resist or antagonize . . .; to contend
against; to confront; resist; withstand," Webster's
New International Dictionary 1710 (2d ed. 1957). Although
these actions entail varying expenditures of energy,
"resist frequently implies more active striving than
oppose." Ibid.; see also Random House Dictionary of ...