United States District Court, E.D. North Carolina, Western Division
BOBBIE A. JACKSON, Plaintiff,
TYCO ELECTRONICS CORPORATION, Defendant.
W. FLANAGAN United States District Judge.
matter comes before the court on defendant's motion to
dismiss for failure to state a claim. (DE 12). The motion has
been fully briefed, and in this posture issues raised are
ripe for ruling. For the reasons that follow, defendant's
motion is granted in part and denied in part.
initiated this action September 21, 2016, in the General
Court of Justice Superior Court Division for Harnett County,
North Carolina, seeking reinstatement of employment,
compensatory and punitive damages, and other ancillary relief
arising from defendant's alleged acts of employment
discrimination and retaliation in violation of the North
Carolina Equal Employment Practices Act
(“NCEEPA”), loosely pleaded in the first three
claims for relief. Plaintiff alleges in three separate
tort-based claims the following: 1) wrongful termination; 2)
intentional infliction of emotional distress; and 3)
negligent infliction of emotional distress. Defendant removed
the case to this court October 27, 2016, on the basis of
filed the instant motion November 28, 2016, seeking dismissal
for failure to state a claim as to plaintiff's claims for
NCEEPA violations as well as plaintiff's claims of
intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Defendant also seeks dismissal as to plaintiff's claim of
wrongful termination on the ground that the claim either
never existed under North Carolina law or is time-barred.
Finally, defendant seeks dismissal as to plaintiff's
remaining claims for damages and other relief on the ground
that such claims do not constitute independent causes of
facts alleged in the complaint may be summarized as follows.
Defendant is engaged in the business of assembling, packing,
and shipping electronic components. Plaintiff, a resident of
Harnett County, North Carolina, became defendant's
employee May 15, 1990. In her complaint, plaintiff alleges
problems arising no later than early 2015 between plaintiff
and her supervisors.
company meeting held January 6, 2015, with plaintiff,
defendant's manufacturing supervisor, Robert Yarborough
(“Yarborough”), and plant manager, Mark Johnson,
Yarborough engaged in angry outbursts. Plaintiff contends he
yelled at her and slapped his hands near plaintiff's
face. (DE 1-1 ¶ 15). Defendant took no action to address
Yarborough's behavior. (Id. ¶ 16).
other times, defendant's supervisor, Raphael Marconi
(“Marconi”), responded negatively to
plaintiff's suggestions, belittling plaintiff by stating
in response to her comments that “he had a wife[,
]” and, after forming his hand in a manner to mime
choking, told plaintiff “[y]ou better be glad this
table is between us.” (Id. ¶ 11). Yet
another of defendant's supervisors, Martin Ramirez
(“Ramirez”), belittled plaintiff and often said
“[w]e have to keep the young guys happy because they
are the future of the company[.]” (Id. ¶
these events, plaintiff filed an internal complaint with
defendant's human resources department February 13, 2015,
alleging employment discrimination. (Id. ¶ 18).
On the same day, defendant's human resources director,
Emily Du, without first allowing plaintiff to describe her
version of the January 6, 2015, incident involving
Yarborough, instructed plaintiff to undergo anger management
training. (Id. ¶ 17).
March 18, 2015, Betsy Boger, another human resources director
for defendant, notified plaintiff that her February 13, 2015,
complaint had been investigated, which concluded in
plaintiff's favor, (id. ¶ 19), even though
defendant's investigator never discussed the January 6,
2015, incident with plaintiff. (Id. ¶ 23). Also
on March 18, 2015, defendant issued to plaintiff a
“performance improvement plan[, ]” which outlined
several areas of concern not described in the complaint.
(Id. ¶¶ 20-21). Plaintiff already had
addressed the areas of concern outlined in the performance
improvement plan weeks before the plan issued. (Id.
March 21, 2015, plaintiff filed another internal complaint
alleging retaliatory employment discrimination.
(Id., ¶ 24). On the same day, Brandon Burton,
employed by defendant as a human resources generalist,
informed plaintiff that she was being suspended without pay
because she had an open retaliation claim and management did
not want her at the workplace during the investigation.
(Id. ¶¶ 25-26). Defendant terminated
plaintiff's employment April 10, 2015. (Id.