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Raynor v. G4S Secure Solutions (USA) Inc.

United States District Court, W.D. North Carolina, Charlotte Division

October 4, 2017

E. RAY RAYNOR, Plaintiff,
v.
G4S SECURE SOLUTIONS (USA) INC., et al., Defendants.

          ORDER

          FRANK D. WHITNEY CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         THIS MATTER is before the Court upon Defendant G4S Secure Solutions (USA) Inc.'s (“G4S”) Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Doc. No. 14) (“G4S's Motion”) and Defendants Chuck Brock, Donald S. Zeccardi, Malcolm Burchett, Jr., Tifani A. Grusky, and Michael A. Nail's (the “Individual Defendants”) Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (Doc. No. 15) (G4S and Individual Defendants collectively “Defendants”) (collectively the “Motions”). Having considered the Motions, the Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part G4S's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings and GRANTS the Individual Defendant's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings for the reasons that follow.

         I. PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff Elmer Ray Raynor (“Plaintiff” or “Raynor”) filed this action in Superior Court in Gaston County, North Carolina on February 21, 2017, and Defendants subsequently removed the action to this Court on March 24, 2017. (Doc. No. 1). Defendants answered Plaintiff's Complaint on March 31, 2017. (Doc. No. 7). On June 9, 2017, as required by Court order, Plaintiff filed the Charge of Discrimination (the “Charge”) that he filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”). (Doc. Nos. 12, 13). Defendants filed their respective Motions on August 11, 2017. (Doc. Nos. 14, 15). Plaintiff filed his responses on September 4, 2017. (Doc. Nos. 20, 21). Defendants declined to file replies. Accordingly, the Motions are now ripe for resolution.

         II.FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         G4S employed Plaintiff, an African-American male, from on or about July 16, 2001 until G4S terminated Plaintiff on August 26, 2016.[1] (Doc. No. 1-1 at 18, 20). Plaintiff received favorable evaluations for his work and had no write-ups of misconduct or infractions in his record. (Doc. No. 1-1 at 20). G4S also employed the Individual Defendants, who were officers, agents, and/or employees of G4S. (Doc. No. 1-1 at 19-20).

         In February 2008, G4S promoted Plaintiff from Manager of Field Support to Regional Manager of Field Support. (Doc. No. 1-1 at 20). Plaintiff alleges that in his position as Regional Manager, he received a lower salary than his predecessor, a white employee with less experience, training, and education, and was required to travel to conduct floor surveys, when other regional field managers were excused. (Doc. No. 1-1 at 21). Further, despite his superior performance, Plaintiff did not receive incentive pay throughout his employment when other white employees did. (Doc. No. 1 at 21-23).

         In September 2014, G4S's Mid-Atlantic Vice-President Malcom Burchett released Plaintiff from his position as Regional Manager on the pretext of a budget cut and demoted Plaintiff to Site Manager at Bank of America Corporate Center. (Doc. No. 1-1 at 22-23). Plaintiff alleges that a less experienced white employee filled his vacated position and assumed his duties but was given a different title, Director of Field Support. (Doc. No. 1-1 at 23).

         Then, in July 2016, G4S's Director of Administration Tifani Grusky informed Plaintiff that he had no accrued vacation leave when he in fact had three days of unused vacation leave under G4S's policy, practice, and contract with Plaintiff. (Doc. No. 1-1 at 23-24). Soon thereafter, on July 20, 2016, G4S's Secure Solutions General Manager Mike Nail informed Plaintiff that they had no work for him and gave him a Severance Agreement and General Release package that stated his effective termination date as July 18, 2016. (Doc. No. 1-1 at 24). The Severance Agreement and General Release indicated that Plaintiff was terminated for cause. (Doc. No. 1-1 at 24). After several individuals refused to listen to his complaints, on July 21, 2016, Plaintiff sent a written memorandum to G4S's Chief Human Resources Officer and Burchett. (Doc. No. 1-1 at 25). The memorandum cited specific examples of G4S's disparate treatment of Plaintiff, asked questions about the Severance Agreement and General Release, and summarized his favorable work performance. (Doc. No. 1-1 at 25). In August 2016, Burchett informed Plaintiff that the Severance Agreement and General Release had been intended for another employee (Doc. No. 1-1 at 25) but maintained that G4S did not have a work assignment for Plaintiff (Doc. No. 1-1 at 26). Burchett, G4S's Mid-Atlantic Vice-President, however indicated that he would have Plaintiff paid for his vacation leave. (Doc. No. 1 at 25-26). Nevertheless, Plaintiff did not receive payment for his vacation leave and was not considered for a comparable position in the company despite Plaintiff's interest. (Doc. No. 1 at 26-28).

         Plaintiff reported these discriminatory practices to the Human Resources Department on September 17, 2015 (Doc. No. 1-1 at 27) and filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC on January 11, 2017 (Doc. No. 1-1 at 28; Doc. No. 13-1 at 1). On January 18, 2017, Plaintiff received notice from the EEOC that he could file suit (Doc. No. 1-1 at 28, 69) and initiated this action on February 21, 2017.

         III. STANDARD OF REVIEW

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) provides that “[a]fter the pleadings are closed-but early enough not to delay trial-a party may move for judgment on the pleadings.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(c). In resolving a motion for judgment on the pleadings, a court must accept the nonmovant's allegations as true and view the facts in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party. Bradley v. Ramsey, 329 F.Supp.2d 617, 622 (W.D. N.C. 2004) (internal citations omitted). The court, however, need not “accept the legal conclusions drawn from the facts, ” nor “accept as true unwarranted inferences, unreasonable conclusions, or arguments.” Giarranto v. Johnson, 521 F.3d 298, 302 (4th Cir. 2008) (internal citations omitted).

         A Rule 12(c) motion is reviewed under a standard similar to that which is used in Rule 12(b)(6) motions to dismiss, with the “key difference being that on a 12(c) motion, the court is to consider the answer as well as the complaint.” Bradley, 329 F.Supp.2d at 622 (internal citations omitted). The court may also considering any materials referenced in, incorporated by reference, or attached to the pleadings. See Fed.R.Civ.P. 10(c).

         A plaintiff alleging claims under Title VII need not plead facts that constitute a prima facie case in order to survive a motion to dismiss or motion for judgment on the pleadings, see Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 510-15 (2002), but “[f]actual allegations must be enough to raise a right of relief above the speculative level[, ]” Coleman v. Md. Court of Appeals, 626 F.3d 187, 190 (4th Cir. 2010) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007)).

         IV. ...


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