Gumbs v. State of Delaware Department of Labor
MEMORANDUM ORDER Denying 16 MOTION to Dismiss. Signed by Judge Richard G. Andrews on 9/17/2015. (nms)
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF DELAWARE
C.A. No.: 15-00190-RGA
DELAWARE DEPARTMENT OF
At Wilmington this \
day of September, 2015, having reviewed Defendant's motion to
dismiss Plaintiffs Equal Pay Act claim and the papers filed in connection therewith,
IT IS ORDERED that Defendant's motion to dismiss Plaintiffs Equal Pay Act claim
(D.I. 16) is DENIED for the following reasons:
Familiarity with the first opinion (D.1. 13), decided June 17, 2015, is assumed. On July
2, 2015, Plaintiff filed a timely amended complaint revising her factual allegations in order to
state a claim. (D.I. 15). In response, Defendant moved to dismiss Plaintiffs amended
complaint. (D.I. 16). Plaintiff opposed Defendant's motion (D.I. 17),.and Defendant filed a
reply to Plaintiffs opposition. (D.I. 18).
STANDARD OF REVIEW
Defendant seek~ dismissal pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). (D.I. 16). Under Rule
12(b)(6), a motion to dismiss may be granted only if, accepting the well-pleaded allegations in
the complaint as true and viewing them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff, a court
concludes that those allegations "could not raise a [facially plausible] claim of entitlement to
relief." Bell At!. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 558 (2007); see Williams v. BASF Catalysts
LLC, 765 F.3d 306, 315 (3d Cir. 2014).
Defendant argues that Plaintiffs Equal Pay Act claim fails because it is inherently
implausible that a supervisor and subordinate can have equal duties and responsibilities. (D.I.
16). To state a valid Equal Pay Act claim, a plaintiff must assert that "an employer pays
different wages to employees of opposite sexes 'for equal work on jobs the performance of
which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar
working conditions."' Corning Glass Works v. Brennan, 417 U.S. 188, 195 (1974). Defendant
contends Plaintiffs admission that the job description of Regulatory Specialist includes
oversight of the Labor Law Enforcement Supervisor renders it impossible for the Labor Law
Enforcement Supervisor to possess responsibility equal to that of the Regulatory Specialist. (D.I.
Yet, Plaintiff alleges in the amended complaint that despite the titles and descriptions of
the two positions, Plaintiff, in her position of Labor Law Enforcement Supervisor, actually
oversees and performs the work of the Regulatory Specialist. (D.I. 15). Additionally, Plaintiff
describes the relationship between the two positions as "most akin to job sharing." Id. The
pertinent issue for determining equal work under the Equal Pay Act is "not the name under
which the position was classified but what was actually done[,]" and employers are prohibited
from "rely[ing] merely on the job description" in defending against Equal Pay Act claims.
Brobst v. Columbus Servs. Int'!, 761 F.2d 148, 155 (3d Cir. 1985).
Unlike Plaintiffs first complaint, the amended complaint, as required by Twombly,
alleges facts that go beyond a "formulaic recitation of a cause of action's elements" and
conclusory statements. 550 U.S. at 545. Plaintiff included in the amended complaint a
description of the duties and responsibilities of the Regulatory Specialist, the relationship
between the two positions at issue, and allegations of Plaintiffs performance of the same duties
and responsibilities that necessitate the Regulatory Specialist's higher salary. Id Thus, Plaintiff
has met her obligation to plead "sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, 'to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face."' Williams, 765 F.3d at 315 (quoting Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556
U.S. 662, 678 (2009)).
For the aforementioned reasons, Defendant's motion to dismiss Plaintiffs Equal Pay Act
action (D.I. 16) is DENIED.
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