United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Roanoke Division
Glen E. Conrad, Senior United States District Judge.
Perdue filed this action against her former employer,
Rockydale Quarries Corporation ("Rockydale"),
asserting claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964 ("Title VII"), the Equal Pay Act of 1963-
("Equal Pay Act" or "EPA"), and Virginia
law. The case is presently before the court on the
defendant's motion to dismiss. For the reasons set forth
below, the motion will be granted in part and denied in part.
following facts are taken from the complaint and employment
documents referenced therein. See Phillips v. LCI
Int'l. Inc., 190 F.3d 609, 618 (4th Cir. 1999)
(noting that the court could properly consider a document
submitted by the defendant in determining whether to dismiss
the complaint "because it was integral to and explicitly
relied on in the complaint").
27, 2014, Perdue accepted a supervisory position with
Rockydale. Offer Letter, Dkt. No. 10-2, at l. Perdue initially
requested an annual salary of $65, 000. Compl. ¶ 9, Dkt.
No. 1. However, the plaintiff ultimately agreed to accept a
lower salary. See Offer Letter at 1 ("For this position,
your starting compensation will be $923.08 per week, which is
equivalent to an annual amount of $48, 000.");
Id. at 2 ("I agree to the terms of the
employment set forth above."). Perdue alleges that she
only did so because Gary Hubbard, who signed the offer letter
on behalf of Rockydale, "promise[d] that if she proved
herself, her salary would increase to $65, 000 within six
months." Compl. ¶9.
benefits package also included use of a company vehicle.
Specifically, Rockydale agreed to provide a company vehicle
for Perdue to use for "business travel only." Offer
Letter at 1. The defendant also agreed to cover the company
vehicle's gas, maintenance, and insurance. Id.
first day of work was July 2, 2014. Compl. ¶ 7. That
same day, Perdue acknowledged receiving a copy of
Rockydale's employee handbook. Receipt for Employee
Handbook, Dkt. No. 14-1. The handbook provided that
"[a]ll pay increases for employees shall be in
writing." Employee Handbook, Dkt. No. 14-1, at 14.
subsequently learned that her predecessor, Cooper Maxey,
"had use of a company truck for business travel and his
work commute. Compl. ¶ 8 (emphasis added). The same was
true for other male supervisors. Id. ¶ 10.
However, "Rockydale never provided [Perdue] with the
full use of a company truck." Id.
addition to this alleged disparity, Perdue claims that she
was subjected to "continuous sexual harassment"
while working for Rockydale, and that such harassment
included "name .calling, swearing, angry outbursts,
yelling, belittlement, crude statements, and gestures."
Id.¶ 11. For instance, Blue Hill, a scale
operator at Rockydale's Jacks Mountain location,
"regularly called Perdue an asshole, idiot, and
bitch," and "informed Perdue that Rockydale should
never have hired a 'girl' to do 'a man's
job.'" Id. ¶ 13. When Perdue reported
her coworker's behavior to Hubbard, he simply
"laughed and said, 'Well, Blue is Blue."
Id. According to the complaint, Hill was not the
only employee who engaged in rude or offensive behavior.
"Male truck drivers swore at Perdue and threw tickets at
her." Id. ¶ 14.
Charlie Underwood, a loader driver, "regularly called
Perdue names and taunted other male drivers who were
professional with her." Id. ¶ 15.
"His taunts were crude and sexual in nature and made
over radio channels that were audible to numerous employees
and drivers." Id. After learning that Perdue
had complained about his behavior to the general manager,
Mike Chopski, Underwood confronted Perdue and swore at her
for reporting him. Id. ¶¶ 15-16.
early June 2016, Hill attempted to have Perdue fired by
arranging for a Rockydale driver to falsely claim that Perdue
was sexually harassing the driver. Id. ¶ 17.
Although Rockydale learned during a subsequent investigation
that the allegation of harassment was "Hill's
fabrication," Hill retained his position and continued
to harass the plaintiff, "calling her names such as
'bitch,' 'stupid,' and 'idiot'
whenever he spoke to her." Id. Although Perdue
reported Hill's conduct to her supervisor, Rockydale did
not take "sufficient action" to stop it.
August of 2016, "Perdue asked her supervisor, Chris
Willis, about the raise she still had not received and about
the company truck." Id. ¶ 18. Perdue
alleges that "Willis promised the raise and the truck,
but neither ever happened, despite Perdue following up with
Willis several times." Id.
of 2017, Perdue complained to Chopski about comments made by
a male driver. Id. ¶ 20. Chopski shared
Perdue's complaint with the offending employee, which
caused further problems. Id. Perdue alleges that
employees and contract drivers began referring to her as a
'"rat bitch, "' and that Hill threatened to
"get her." Id. ¶¶ 20, 21.
Efforts to report the behavior proved ineffective. John
Basham, another supervisor, called her "stupid and
dumb" when she complained about the male drivers, and
"harassed Perdue for reporting improper practices to
management." Id. ¶ 23.
received positive performance reviews during her employment.
Her June 27, 2017 evaluation included a score of 4.15 on a
scale of 5, which signified that her work "almost always
exceeds expectations." Id. ¶ 25. The
evaluation also listed multiple "Employee
Strengths." Id. (internal quotation marks
September of 2017, the plaintiffs husband, G.R. Perdue
("G.R."), began working for Kenneth Foley, a
company that picked up loads of materials from Rockydale.
Id. ¶ 27. G.R. had previously worked for
another hauler in the same capacity. Id. ¶ 26.
Management officials at Rockydale were aware of both of these
jobs held by G.R., and they "never expressed any
concern, or indicated that it was a 'potential conflict
of interest' for Perdue's husband to work for a
company that was picking up loads from Rockydale."
Id. ¶ 26. Nonetheless, on October 3, 2017,
Willis advised Perdue that G.R.'s employment with Foley
was a potential conflict of interest that should have been
reported to management. Id. ¶ 32.
Perdue returned to work on October 11, 2017, Rockydale
terminated her employment for failing to report the potential
conflict of interest. Id. ¶ 37. Perdue alleges
that Rockydale failed to provide her with any of the
procedural safeguards outlined in the company's employee
handbook prior to her termination, and that the company
treated her differently than "[m]ale employees who acted
in direct conflict with the company's interests and who
violated other company policies." Id. ¶
68. For instance, although Perdue witnessed and reported
conduct by the scale house employees that caused Rockydale to
lose revenue, "no employee was terminated or disciplined
for this actual conflict of interest." Id.
time of Perdue's termination, "Rockydale informed
her that her health insurance would end at midnight that
night, and that she could not receive her 401(k) for which
she [was] fully vested, until one year after her
termination." Id. ¶ 37. Perdue
subsequently requested a hardship distribution from her
401(k) plan. Id. ¶ 51. Rockydale denied the
plaintiffs request and once again advised her that she would
need to wait a year before withdrawing funds from the
account. Id. ¶¶ 50-51.
was previously diagnosed with lupus, fibromyalgia, and
arthritis. Id. ¶ 53. She alleges that
"[t]hese conditions were exacerbated by the harassment
and mistreatment she suffered during her tenure at
Rockydale," and that she experienced "elevated
stress, nausea, insomnia, and an upset stomach from the
harassment." Id. On multiple occasions, Perdue
sobbed in her office and experienced physical shaking that
was so intense that she could not type at her desk.
Id. Her doctor prescribed Cymbalta for depression
and anxiety, and a muscle relaxant to help her sleep at
night. Id. ¶ 54. Perdue also had to get knee
injections every time she experienced stress-related lupus
"flares." Id. Perdue alleges that she