Established 1958 ~ Hardball Business Litigation & Complex Negotiations

Separate Companies can be Joint Employer

For Purposes of Title VII and §1981 Claims

The Eastern District of Pennsylvania denied a Motion to Dismiss because Plaintiff had pled sufficient facts to show that Defendant companies could be “joint employer[s]” or a “single employer.” Anderson v. Finley Catering Co., 218 F. Supp. 3d 417, 423 (E.D. PA. 2016).

Plaintiff alleges “race discrimination, retaliation, and hostile work environment claims against both Defendants pursuant to Title VII and § 1981.” In Anderson, Plaintiff was the only African American male who worked full time as a cook in Defendants’ catering business. Plaintiff alleges in his Complaint that the management at the catering business made racial jokes and remarks about Plaintiff and gave Plaintiff more undesirable work than they did to other employees who were not African American. After Plaintiff complained to the management about the racial discrimination, some people from the management “called Plaintiff a “snitch” and warned him that he needed to watch what he said.” Following Plaintiff’s complaint, management cut Plaintiff’s hours from 40 to 3 hours per week. After Plaintiff filed for unemployment compensation benefits, management demoted Plaintiff from his position as a cook to dishwasher. Further, following this demotion, management failed to place Plaintiff on a work schedule.

The Court denied dismissal of the case. Defendants argued that the case should be dismissed because Plaintiff’s employer was Union Trust and there was not “sufficient facts” to make the claim that Finely Catering was “liable under either a “joint employer” or “single employer” theory.”  The Court held that the Plaintiff has pled “sufficient facts” at this step in proceedings that “Finley Catering and Union Trust are both owned by Steve Finley, share common management and operations, and have centralized control of labor relations and common financial controls.” Therefore, the Court can “reasonabl[y] infer” that the companies are “either joint employers or a single employer.”

For more information, call our Philadelphia employment lawyers at Sidkoff, Pincus & Green at 215-574-0600 or submit an online inquiry.