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Jennifer L. Froehlich v. Holiday Organization

September 27, 2012

JENNIFER L. FROEHLICH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
HOLIDAY ORGANIZATION, INC. AND BARRY WEISBERG, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Hurley, Senior District Judge:

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Plaintiff Jennifer L. Froehlich ("plaintiff") commenced this action against defendants Holiday Organization, Inc. ("Holiday") and Barry Weisberg ("Weisberg"), (collectively, "defendants"), asserting claims pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e et seq. ("Title VII"), as amended by the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(k) ("PDA"), the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101 et seq. ("ADA"), and the New York State Human Rights Law, N.Y. Exec. Law § 296 ("NYHRL"). Plaintiff alleges that defendants discriminated against her based upon her gender, pregnancy, and disability.

Presently before the Court is defendants' motion, made pursuant to Rules 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, seeking dismissal of the Complaint. For the reasons set forth below, defendants' motion is granted in part and denied in part.

BACKGROUND

I. Factual Allegations

Plaintiff, a female and resident of Suffolk County, New York, started working for Holiday in 2005 under the supervision of Weisberg, Holiday's Vice President of Food & Beverage Operations. According to plaintiff, Weisberg "had the authority . . . to hire, fire, discipline and discharge" plaintiff. (Compl. ¶ 14.)

At some point after 2005, plaintiff informed defendants that she was pregnant and that she intended to return to work after taking maternity leave. Plaintiff alleges that after announcing her pregnancy, defendants "engaged in a persistent and pervasive course of intimidation, harassment, humiliation, interference with Plaintiff's work performance and created a hostile and offensive work environment." (Id. ¶ 16.) Plaintiff further alleges that defendants "ultimately terminated Plaintiff" while she was on maternity leave, and replaced her with a "younger male employee." (Id. ¶¶ 16, 19.) Plaintiff asserts that the alleged discrimination, hostile work environment, and wrongful termination were all based "solely on her pregnancy, disability, and gender." (Id. ¶¶ 16, 20.)

The Complaint asserts six causes of action: (1) a claim that Holiday violated the PDA by discriminating against plaintiff based upon her "pregnancy, childbirth or related conditions," (id. ¶ 23), (2) a claim that Holiday "and its agents" violated the ADA by discriminating against plaintiff due to her disability (id. ¶ 33), (3) a claim that Holiday "and its agents" violated Title VII by discriminating against plaintiff based upon her gender (id. ¶ 42), (4) a claim that Holiday "and its agents" violated the NYHRL by engaging in "unlawful employment practice[s]" and creating a hostile work environment based upon plaintiff's "gender and sex," (id. ¶ 51), (5) a claim that Holiday "and its agents" violated the NYHRL by engaging in "unlawful employment practice[s]" and creating a hostile work environment based upon plaintiff's "pregnancy and related conditions," (id. ¶ 60), and (6) a claim that Holiday and Weisberg "separately and together, have aided and abetted gender, sex and pregnancy discrimination and harassment, in violation of the [NYHRL]." (Id. ¶ 69.)

II. Procedural History

Plaintiff alleges that she filed a written complaint of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") on December 16, 2008. (Id. ¶ 4.) On October 28, 2010, the EEOC issued the Notice of Right to Sue letter. (Id. ¶ 5.) Plaintiff alleges that although plaintiff's counsel had given the EEOC "the firm's new and correct address, the EEOC sent the document to an old address and same was never received." (Id.) Plaintiff further alleges that the Right to Sue letter "was never mailed to the Complainant." (Id.) According to plaintiff: "To correct their error, the EEOC re-sent the Right to Sue [letter] to Plaintiff's counsel by facsimile on April 14, 2011." (Id.) The Complaint in this action was filed on June 22, 2011.

DISCUSSION

I. Legal Standard

Rule 8(a) provides that a pleading shall contain "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2). The Supreme Court has recently clarified the pleading standard applicable in evaluating a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6).*fn1

First, in Bell Atlantic Corporation v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544 (2007), the Court disavowed the well-known statement in Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 45-46 (1957) that "a complaint should not be dismissed for failure to state a claim unless it appears beyond doubt that the plaintiff can prove no set of facts in support of his claim which would entitle him to relief." See Twombly, 550 U.S. at 561 (quoting Conley, 355 U.S. at 45-46) (internal quotation marks omitted). Instead, to survive a motion to dismiss ...


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