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Jennifer Guimaraes v. Tjx Companies

December 20, 2012

JENNIFER GUIMARAES,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
TJX COMPANIES, INC., ET AL., DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: William J. Martini, U.S.D.J.:

OPINION

Plaintiff Jennifer Guimaraes brings this employment discrimination action against HomeGoods, Inc. ("HomeGoods") and TJX Companies, Inc. (collectively "Defendants"). This matter comes before the Court on Defendants' motion to dismiss under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). There was no oral argument. Fed. R. Civ. P. 78(b). For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion to dismiss is GRANTED.

I.BACKGROUND

Plaintiff is an individual who resides in Fords, New Jersey. Defendant HomeGoods is a corporation engaged in the sale of retail merchandise, with stores located throughout New Jersey. Defendant TJX Companies, Inc. is the parent corporation of HomeGoods.

On August 2, 2004, Plaintiff was hired by HomeGoods as a full time employee in the receiving department. Plaintiff was eventually promoted to Assistant Manager. The Complaint alleges that, while Plaintiff was an Assistant Manager in a HomeGoods in Union, New Jersey, Plaintiff's District Manager, Keith Hanson, made numerous and repeated sexual advances toward Plaintiff. Shortly thereafter, Plaintiff and Hanson began having a sexual affair. After the affair began, Hanson began treating Plaintiff differently at work, at times ignoring her and making her feel as if she had to work harder than everyone else. Eventually, Plaintiff's husband found out about the affair and Plaintiff ended the affair.*fn1

On June 19, 2009, Hanson transferred Plaintiff to a HomeGoods store in Riverdale, New Jersey. Plaintiff was unhappy with the transfer because the store in Riverdale was far from her home. Plaintiff repeatedly asked Hanson to transfer her back to the Union store, or another store closer to her home. Hanson refused, saying that Plaintiff had to be interviewed by another store manager in order to transfer. When Plaintiff asked another District Manager about the proper procedures for transferring, she was told that transfers were within each District Manager's discretion.

Plaintiff alleges that her new superiors at the Riverdale location treated her poorly. Plaintiff alleges that she immediately noticed that the Riverdale store personnel did not follow the proper procedures regarding time cards. She asked her District Manager to explain the proper time card procedures to her, and then she relayed that information to her superiors in Riverdale, yet her superiors continued to fail to follow proper procedures. Plaintiff repeatedly followed up with her superiors regarding the correct procedure. Plaintiff alleges that, as a result of these reminders, her job tasks and functions were reduced.

Plaintiff alleges that, on February 25, 2011, she had a conversation with the Loss Prevention department. Plaintiff was told that the conversation was "just a chat" and that the information discussed would be "off the record." Am. Compl. ¶ 14. Plaintiff alleges that she "complained how she did not trust Mike or Phyllis and how she moderately trusted Bob and reported several incidents actions [sic] taken by Mike and Phyllis which were contrary to company policy and protocol." Id. Plaintiff does not explain who Mike, Phyllis, and Bob are. On March 3, 2011, Loss Prevention relayed the contents of the complaints to Bob, and Bob fired Plaintiff without providing her with a valid reason for the termination.

Plaintiff also alleges that she was forced to work up to 70 hours per week, but was not paid overtime wages. She alleges that she was not exempt from overtime wages.

On January 17, 2012, Plaintiff filed a complaint in the Superior Court of New Jersey, Middlesex County, Law Division, asserting claims under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, N.J.S.A. § 10:5-1, et seq. ("NJLAD"). On February 23, 2012, Plaintiff filed an Amended Complaint, which included a federal claim for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 201, et seq. ("FLSA"). On February 29, 2012, Defendants removed the action to this Court. Defendants now move to dismiss the Amended Complaint.

II.LEGAL STANDARD

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for the dismissal of a complaint, in whole or in part, if the plaintiff fails to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The moving party bears the burden of showing that no claim has been stated. Hedges v. United States, 404 F.3d 744, 750 (3d Cir. 2005). In deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a court must take all allegations in the complaint as true and view them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff. See Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 501 (1975); Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts, Inc. v. Mirage Resorts Inc., 140 F.3d 478, 483 (3d Cir. 1998).

Although a complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, "a plaintiff's obligation to provide the 'grounds' of his 'entitlement to relief' requires more than labels and conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). Thus, the factual allegations must be sufficient to raise a plaintiff's right to relief above a speculative level, such that it is "plausible on its face." See id. at 570; see also Umland v. PLANCO Fin. Serv., Inc., 542 F.3d 59, 64 (3d Cir. 2008). A claim has "facial plausibility when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 1949 ...


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