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Jeffers v. Netjets Services, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Ohio, Eastern Division

February 27, 2018

STACIE JEFFERS, Plaintiff,
v.
NETJETS SERVICES, INC., Defendant.

          Kimberly A. Jolson, Magistrate Judge

          OPINION AND ORDER

          EDMUND A. SARGUS, JR., CHIEF UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

         This matter is before the Court on the Motion to Dismiss by Defendant, NetJets Services, Inc. ("NetJets" or "Defendant") (ECF No. 7), Plaintiffs Memorandum in Opposition (ECF No. 10), and Defendant's Reply in Support. (ECF No. 13.) For the reasons that follow, Defendant's Motion is DENIED.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, Stacie Jeffers ("Plaintiff), is a former employee of Defendant, Netjets. an aviation services company. In January 2014, Plaintiff began working full-time as an Owner Services Representative for Defendant. (Am. Compl. ¶ 10, ECF No. 4.) Around July of 2015, Plaintiff became a Crew Support Representative and remained in that position until her last day in December of 2016. (Am. Compl. ¶ 13.)

         In early December of 2016, Plaintiff alleges that she was paid the incorrect amount of overtime pay. (Am. Compl. ¶ 22.) On December 9, 2016, Plaintiff approached two supervisors to convey her belief that she was not paid the correct amount of shift differential and overtime on a particular check. (Am. Compl. ¶ 23.) One of the supervisors told Plaintiff to contact the Payroll Department about her concern and on the same day, Plaintiff emailed Payroll and expressed her belief that her check was incorrect. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 25-26.) In the email, Plaintiff asserted that she had worked twelve hours of overtime between November 20, 2016 and November 25, 2016, stating, "I worked 12 hours of overtime, 0 regular hours, and used 32 hours of vacation and should have had 16 holiday hours for Thanksgiving and the day after." (Def.'s Exhibit 2 at 1, ECF No. 7-2.)[1] She further claimed that for the week of November 27, 2016 through December 3, 2016 she worked "40 regular hours and had 13 hours of overtime."

         On December 12, 2016, Defendant notified Plaintiff that "she was suspended and being investigated for hanging up on crew members . . . ." (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 27-28.) On Wednesday, December 14, 2016, Defendant called Plaintiff and told her that an investigation had been conducted and that she was terminated for hanging up on crew members. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 29-30.)

         On December 20, 2016, Plaintiff received an email from Defendant admitting that Defendant had not paid the proper shift differential and that Defendant was going to remedy the situation, (Am. Compl. ¶ 32.) On January 6, 2017, Plaintiff received payment in the amount of $159.68 from Defendant which, "was intended to compensate her for all of 2016." (Am. Compl. ¶ 33.) Plaintiff contends that $159.68 was insufficient to compensate her for 2016. (Am. Compl. ¶33.)

         Plaintiff alleges that she engaged in a protected activity under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201, etseq., when she informed Defendant that she believed it failed to properly compensate her "the correct amount of shift differential and failed to pay her the required overtime pay as required by law." (Am. Compl. ¶ 45.) Plaintiff asserts that Defendant retaliated by terminating her. (Am. Compl. ¶¶ 48-49.)

         Defendant moves to dismiss Plaintiffs FLSA claim, asserting that Plaintiffs complaints did not constitute protected activity.

         II. STANDARD

         Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) provides for dismissal of actions that fail to state a claim upon which relief may be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). Such an action will be dismissed where "there is no law to support the claims made" or where "the facts alleged are insufficient to state a claim." Stew Farm, Ltd. v. Natural Res. Conservation Serv., Case No. 2:12-cv-299, 2013 WL 4517825, at *3 (S.D. Ohio Aug. 26, 2013) (citing Rauch v. Day & Night Mfg. Corp., 576 F.2d 697, 702 (6th Cir. 1978)). Federal Rule 8(a)(2) requires "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief." Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2); see also BellAtl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 555 (2007). To meet this standard, a complaint must contain sufficient factual allegations to "state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 570; Askcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (clarifying the plausibility standard articulated in Twombly). A complaint will not "suffice if it tenders 'naked assertion[s]' devoid of further factual enhancement." Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557). When considering a motion to dismiss, a court must construe the complaint in the light most favorable to the plaintiff and accept all of the complaint's well-pleaded factual allegations as true. Grindstaff v. Green, 133 F.3d 416, 421 (6th Cir. 1998).

         III. LAW AND ANALYSIS

         It is unlawful for an employer "to discharge or . .. discriminate against any employee because such employee has filed any complaint or instituted . .. any proceeding under [the FLSA]." 29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3). An FLSA retaliation claim ...


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