Golden v. Mgmt. & Training Corp.

Decision Date06 August 2018
Docket NumberCivil Action No.: 16-1660 (RC)
Citation319 F.Supp.3d 358
Parties David GOLDEN, Plaintiff, v. MANAGEMENT & TRAINING CORPORATION, et al., Defendants.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of Columbia

Jason Christopher Crump, Smith Graham & Crump LLC, Largo, MD, for Plaintiff.



RUDOLPH CONTRERAS, United States District Judge


Plaintiff David Golden brings this suit against Management & Training Corporation ("MTC") and Chugach Government Services, Inc. ("CGSI") for discrimination and retaliation in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621 et seq. , as well as for wrongful termination. Specifically, Mr. Golden alleges that after he complained to his supervisors at MTC and CGSI that he was receiving disparate pay and treatment based on his age, he was placed on an unnecessary Performance Improvement Plan ("PIP") and then terminated. Now before the Court are MTC's and CGSI's motions to dismiss Mr. Golden's Second Amended Complaint. MTC has moved to dismiss on the ground that Mr. Golden's claims are either time-barred or insufficiently pleaded. CGSI has moved to dismiss on the ground that it never in fact employed Mr. Golden and that therefore it cannot be liable to him under the ADEA. In the alternative, it argues that Mr. Golden has failed to state a claim and that his claims are time-barred. For the reasons set forth below, the Court finds that Mr. Golden has stated claims against MTC for certain acts of age discrimination and retaliation, but not for wrongful termination. It further finds that Mr. Golden has stated a claim for retaliation against CGSI, but not for wrongful termination, and that his claim for age discrimination is time-barred.


Mr. Golden worked as a career and technical training manager at the Potomac Job Corps facility from his hiring in May 2009 until his termination in July 2015, when he was 63 years old. 2d Am. Compl. ¶¶ 4, 8, ECF No. 43. The Potomac facility is one of several locations around the country at which the U.S. Department of Labor administers its Job Corps program, which offers free academic and vocational training to young, formerly incarcerated individuals. Id. ¶¶ 6, 9. Defendant CGSI has contracted with the U.S. Department of Labor to provide operations, training, management, and maintenance services at the site. Id. ¶ 5. CGSI in turn subcontracts with MTC to provide educational services to Job Corps students. Id. ¶ 6. "With the assistance and understanding of Defendant MTC, CGSI's human resources director at Job Corps' District of Columbia facility—Grace Jabril—oversaw the duties and responsibilities of MTC's hired staff including Plaintiff."Id. ¶ 5. Correspondence from individuals working at the facility—"regardless of whether the author was an employee of CGSI or MTC—at all times contained the ‘Job Corps’ logo." Id. ¶ 7.

MTC hired Mr. Golden in 2009, when he was 57 years old. Id. ¶ 8; 1st Am. Compl. ¶ 7, ECF No. 20. In April 2011, Mr. Golden began to "voice his concerns" to MTC and CGSI personnel that he was being discriminated against on the basis of his age. 2d Am. Compl. ¶ 11.

Specifically, he complained about (1) disparate amount of pay he was receiving as a yearly salary from Job Corps compared to other managers significantly younger than him and less credentialed; (2) younger employees being able to attend training courses that he was not allowed to attend; (3) younger managers getting their supply purchase orders approved while the orders that he made were always being delayed; and (4) younger managers received additional compensation bonuses above their salary for work performed on projects while he was unable to receive the same compensation for similar work performed.

Id. Mr. Golden alleges that he hand-delivered EEO complaints containing these allegations on April 4, 2011; December 10, 2013; July 14, 2014; February 20, 2015; and May 20, 2015. Id. ¶ 12. The recipients of each EEO complaint included employees of both MTC and CGSI. Id.

Despite what Mr. Golden characterizes as "satisfactory performance appraisals from his supervisors throughout his entire tenure at Job Corps," Mr. Golden's MTC supervisors twice placed him on PIPs—once in 2012 and once in 2015. Id. ¶¶ 13, 15. Mr. Golden met the requirements of his 2012 PIP and continued to work at Job Corps. Id. ¶ 14. However, following Mr. Golden's second placement on a PIP in March 2015, he was fired in July 2015 "for allegedly not successfully completing the requirements of the 2015 PIP despite receiving a satisfactory rating from [his MTC supervisor Mr. Stroman] during the same period." Id. ¶¶ 15–16. Mr. Golden highlights that "Dwaine Page (34 years of age) and Patricia Pryor (43 years of age)—younger managers employed by Job Corps who did not satisfactorily perform their job duties during [Mr. Golden's] tenure—were given the opportunity to cure their performance after lesser methods of discipline were imposed upon them." Id. ¶ 19.

Two months before his termination, Mr. Golden filed a charge with the EEOC alleging discrimination based on race, age, and disability, as well as retaliation. See MTC's Mot. Ex. 1 ("1st EEOC Charge") at 2, ECF No. 45-3.2 MTC received notice of this charge on or around May 26, 2015. See id. at 1. The EEOC declined to pursue Mr. Golden's case and instead granted him a right-to-sue letter on August 5, 2015. See MTC's Mot. Ex. 2 ("1st Right-to-Sue Letter") at 1, ECF No. 45-4. By that time, Mr. Golden had been terminated.

Mr. Golden never filed a suit based on his first EEOC charge. Instead, he filed a second EEOC charge against "Potomac Job Corp" on February 18, 2016. His charge included the following allegations:

On multiple occasions, from the time period of May 2009, until the time of my discharge in June of 2015 I was subject to different and unfavorable treatment than those outside my protected class. Other younger managers, in the same position title as me, received better compensation, and educational training opportunities from my company that were not extended to me. As a result of this treatment I filed multiple internal EEO complaints that were left unaddressed. Shortly after which, I was put on a Performance Improvement Plan, and then terminated.

MTC's Mot. Ex. 3 ("2d EEOC Charge") at 2, ECF No. 45-5. He further explained that he had "been discriminated against, and been the victim of retaliation for engaging in protected activity in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended." Id.

After receiving his right-to-sue letter based on the second EEOC charge, see Compl. Ex. 1, ECF No. 1-2, Mr. Golden brought suit against MTC and Chugach Government Solutions, LLC ("CGS")—not CGSI—alleging that Defendants retaliated against him in violation of Title VII by "erroneously placing Plaintiff on a PIP and terminating him despite his satisfactory ratings on his yearly performance appraisals" "as a direct and proximate result of filing an internal complaint for age discrimination and hostile work environment." Compl. ¶ 17, ECF No. 1. After MTC and CGS filed their first motions to dismiss, see MTC's 1st Mot. Dismiss, ECF No. 10; CGS's 1st Mot. Dismiss, ECF No. 14, Mr. Golden moved for leave to amend his complaint to replace his claim under Title VII with a claim under the ADEA, which the Court allowed. See 1st Am. Compl.; Minute Order (Nov. 3, 2016). MTC and CGS again moved to dismiss Mr. Golden's complaint for failure to state a claim. See MTC's 2d Mot. Dismiss, ECF No. 22; CGS's 2d Mot. Dismiss, ECF No. 23. One of the grounds upon which CGS moved to dismiss the First Amended Complaint was that CGSI, not CGS, operated the Potomac Job Corps facility. See Mem. P. & A. CGS's 2d Mot. Dismiss at 3–4, ECF No. 23.

In July 2017, the Court granted MTC's and CGS's second motions to dismiss, finding that Mr. Golden had "not alleged any facts that might support an inference that he held a reasonable, good faith belief that the perceived harms he reported were violations of the ADEA." Golden v. Mgmt. & Training Corp. , 266 F.Supp.3d 277, 282 (D.D.C. 2017). However, because "the Court believe[d] that the deficiencies [in the complaint might] be cured through subsequent pleading, the Court [ ] dismiss[ed] the complaint without prejudice and grant[ed] Golden leave to amend the complaint," including by adding CGSI as a defendant. Id. Once Mr. Golden filed his Second Amended Complaint, ECF No. 43, MTC and CGSI both moved to dismiss. See MTC's 3d Mot. Dismiss ("MTC's Mot."), ECF No. 45; CGSI's Mot. Dismiss ("CGSI's Mot."), ECF No. 46. Their motions are now ripe for decision.


The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require that a complaint contain "a short and plain statement of the claim" in order to give the defendant fair notice of the claim and the grounds upon which it rests. Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2) ; accord Erickson v. Pardus , 551 U.S. 89, 93, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007) (per curiam). A motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6) does not test a plaintiff's ultimate likelihood of success on the merits; rather, it tests whether a plaintiff has properly stated a claim. See Scheuer v. Rhodes , 416 U.S. 232, 236, 94 S.Ct. 1683, 40 L.Ed.2d 90 (1974), abrogated on other grounds by Harlow v. Fitzgerald , 457 U.S. 800, 102 S.Ct. 2727, 73 L.Ed.2d 396 (1982). A court considering such a motion presumes that the complaint's factual allegations are true and construes them liberally in the plaintiff's favor. See, e.g., United States v. Philip Morris, Inc. , 116 F.Supp.2d 131, 135 (D.D.C. 2000). Nevertheless, "[t]o survive a motion to dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to ‘state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.’ " Ashcroft v. Iqbal , 556 U.S. 662, 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550...

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