United States District Court, S.D. Indiana, Indianapolis Division
ORDER ON DEFENDANT PRICEWATERHOUSECOOPERS LLP'S
PARTIAL MOTION TO DISMISS
WALTON PRATT, JUDGE.
matter is before the Court on Defendant
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP's ("PwC") Partial
Motion to Dismiss, seeking the dismissal of Count II in the
Amended Complaint, which claims violation of the Equal Pay
Act, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d) (Filing No. 18). After
four years of employment with PwC, Plaintiff Chayah Traphagan
("Ms. Traphagan") was terminated from her position
as a certified public accountant. In January 2016, Ms.
Traphagan brought this action against PwC, asserting claims
for violation of the Equal Pay Act and Title VJI of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e ("Title
YD"). PwC promptly filed a Partial Motion to Dismiss the
Equal Pay Act claim under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure
12(b)(6). PwC seeks dismissal of Count U on the basis that
Ms. Traphagan has not alleged the basic facts to support an
Equal Pay Act claim and has alleged facts that establish an
impenetrable defense to such a claim. For the following
reasons, the Court GRANTS PwC s Motion.
following facts are not necessarily objectively true, but as
required when reviewing a motion to dismiss, the Court
accepts as true all factual allegations in the Amended
Complaint and draws all inferences in favor of Ms. Traphagan
as the non-moving party. See Bielanski v. County of
Kane, 550 F.3d 632, 633 (7th Cir. 2008).
Traphagan is a certified public accountant and began working
for PwC in October 2010 as a tax associate. She worked in
this position until her termination from PwC in October 2014.
PwC is an international financial firm, providing financial
services to clients, including tax services. PwC has an
office in Indianapolis, Indiana. Ms. Traphagan began her
employment with PwC in its Indianapolis office.
the beginning of her employment, Ms. Traphagan received
positive employee reviews and was praised for her work. She
always met or exceeded PwC s expectations. However, she began
to feel that she was being discriminated against because of
her gender, early in her employment. She noticed that her
immediate supervisor spoke to her in a rude and derogatory
manner. (Filing No. 15 at 2.)
one year after Ms. Traphagan began working at PwC, a younger
white male with less experience and education than Ms.
Traphagan was hired in her department in the same position as
Ms. Traphagan. Ms. Traphagan and this male employee shared
the same supervisors. Throughout the new employee's
training, he received training benefits that were denied Ms.
Traphagan. He was given experiences and responsibilities that
better positioned him for raises, bonuses, and upward
advancement. He also received job assignments that had been
promised to Ms. Traphagan. "[T]he male employee received
raises and bonuses as a result of these experiences that Ms.
Traphagan did not have an opportunity to receive."
(FilingNo. 15 at 3.) When she began noticing the
different treatment, Ms. Traphagan complained to the human
resources department. (Id. at 2.) Upper level
management acknowledged the different treatment afforded the
new male employee, but nothing was done to address the issue.
(Id. at 3.)
Traphagan became pregnant in the fall of 2012, resulting
inher supervisor taking away some important accounts on which
she was working. (Id.) Her supervisor also did not
give promised job assignments to her that would have allowed
her to work directly with clients and helped her to advance
in the company. Ms. Traphagan's supervisor cited her
pregnancy as the reason for taking away the accounts and
failing to give her certain job assignments. Because of these
actions by her supervisor, Ms. Traphagan again complained to
the human resources department, and they agreed that she had
been discriminated against. (Filing No. 15 at 3.)
in response to her complaint, PwC retaliated against Ms.
Traphagan while she was on maternity leave by reassigning her
to the PwC office located in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Id.)
The human resources department informed Ms. Traphagan that
she could work from home and would not have to commute from
Indianapolis to Cincinnati, yet Ms. Traphagan began to be
criticized for not being in the Cincinnati office. In an
effort to appease PwC, Ms. Traphagan began travelling to
Cincinnati and living in a hotel room four days a week, but
she felt that PwC had set up the situation so that she would
fail. PwC became overly critical of Ms. Traphagan's work
performance. (Id.) She was chastised and disciplined
for actions that were commonplace in the office, and she was
disciplined for not being in the office. (Id)
Traphagan was told by management that her pay was lower
because the Cincinnati group was not as profitable as the
Indianapolis office, " and "[e]ven though Ms.
Traphagan was one of the most productive workers in the
office, she was terminated in October 2014." (Filing
No. 15 at 3-4.)
filing a charge of discrimination and receiving a notice of
right to sue from the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission, Ms. Traphagan filed her Complaint against PwC on
January 18, 2016. On April 5, 2016, she amended her Complaint
to focus her suit against PwC on the Equal Pay Act and Title
VQ claims (Filing No. 15). On April 19, 2016, PwC
promptly filed its Answer to the Amended Complaint and
simultaneously filed its Partial Motion to Dismiss.
Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) allows a defendant to move
to dismiss a complaint that has failed to "state a claim
upon which relief can be granted." Fed.R.Civ.P.
12(b)(6). When deciding a motion to dismiss under Rule
12(b)(6), the court accepts as true all factual allegations
in the complaint and draws all inferences in favor of the
plaintiff. Bielanski, 550 F.3d at 633. However,
courts "are not obliged to accept as true legal
conclusions or unsupported conclusions of fact."
Hickey v. O'Bannon, 287 F.3d 656, 658 (7th Cir.
complaint must contain a "short and plain statement of
the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to
relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). In Bell Atlantic
Corp. v. Twombly, the Supreme Court explained that the
complaint must allege facts that are "enough to raise a
right to relief above the speculative level." 550 U.S.
544, 555 (2007). Although "detailed factual
allegations" are not required, mere "labels, "
"conclusions, " or "formulaic recitation[s] of
the elements of a cause of action" are insufficient.
Id.; see also Bissessurv. Ind. Univ. Bd. of Trs.,581 F.3d 599, 603 (7th Cir. 2009) ("it is not enough to
give a threadbare recitation of the elements of a claim
without factual support"). The allegations must
"give the defendant fair notice of what the . . . claim
is and the grounds upon which it rests."
Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555. Stated differently, the
complaint must include "enough facts to state a claim to
relief that is plausible on its face." Hecker v.
Deere & Co.,556 F.3d 575, 580 (7th Cir. 2009)
(citation and quotation marks omitted). To be facially
plausible, the complaint must ...