United States District Court, D. Minnesota
Andrew Berlin, Esq. and Weisberg Law, 7 South Morton Ave.,
Morton, PA 19123 and Brian R. Mildenberg, Esq. and Mildenberg
Law Firm, PC, 1735 Market Street, Suite 3750, Philadelphia,
PA 19103, counsel for plaintiff.
M. Markison, Esq. and Dorsey & Whitney LLP, 50 South
6thStreet, Suite 1500, Minneapolis, MN 55402,
counsel for defendant.
S. Doty, Judge
matter is before the court upon the motion to dismiss by
defendant Delta Airlines, Inc. Based on a review of the file,
record, and proceedings herein, and for the following
reasons, the motion is granted.
employment dispute arises from plaintiff Diane Ford's
claim that Delta discriminated against her on the basis of
age and subjected her to a hostile work environment. Ford,
who is fifty-eight years old, has been a flight attendant
with Delta since 1987. Am. Compl. ¶¶ 2, 38.
2017, Delta investigated Ford for violating company policy by
providing a sick colleague with a union card during a flight.
Id. ¶¶ 9-10. Ford denied the allegations.
Id. ¶¶ 12, 13. On August 7, 2017, Delta
placed Ford on probation for eighteen months for
"reliability issues." Id. ¶ 16. In
addition to the union card issue, Delta accused Ford of
allowing economy passengers into the first class bathrooms.
Id. ¶ 18. Ford received a "write up"
from her manager for doing so. Id. Later that month,
Ford's manager accused her of taking improper sick leave
and checking in late to a flight, both in 2016. Id.
¶¶ 19, 20. Ford denied any impropriety.
Id. Ford alleges that she was thereafter
"terrified" to go to work because she feared that
Delta would find any reason to terminate her employment.
Id. ¶¶ 23, 34. She also alleges that she
lost "significant wages" as a result of not
reporting for work. Id.
appealed her probation through Delta's conflict
resolution process. Id. ¶ 24. Ford alleges that
Delta dropped the "charges" against her just days
before the appeal hearing. Id. ¶ 25. According
to Ford, however, the probationary period remained in place.
Id. ¶ 27. She alleges that her appeal panel
advocate directed her to contact Delta's discrimination
claims department because the charges against Ford had been
baseless. Id. ¶¶ 25-26.
alleges that she complained about her treatment numerous
times and requested that Delta remove the incidents leading
to her probation from her personnel file. Id.
¶¶ 28-32. Delta declined to do so. Id.
appears that between late February and August 2018, Ford
experienced no problems with her employer. See id.
¶¶ 31-35. Then on August 5th, Ford's manager
told her that her hair was too long. Id. ¶ 35.
Ford alleges that the manager did not similarly chastise a
younger flight attendant with longer hair who was nearby.
Id. ¶ 36. Ford does not allege that she was
disciplined relating to the incident. It appears that she is
still employed by Delta and that her probationary period is
believes that she has been disciplined and harassed by Delta
due to her age. In addition to the incidents described above,
Ford also alleges that Delta has a policy of hiring younger
flight attendants at the expense of flight attendants over
forty years old. Id. ¶¶ 40-43. Because
Delta does not plan to expand its workforce, Ford alleges
that it is instead using "pretextual, embellished or
untruthful allegations" to terminate older flight
attendants to make room for new, younger employees.
Id. ¶¶ 44-45. She cites to other alleged
examples of Delta's age discrimination gleaned from
"publicly available sources" to support her theory.
See id. ¶¶ 50-54.
filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission on May 19, 2018. Dobson Decl. Ex. A.
The EEOC issued a right-to-sue notice on September 18, 2018,
and this suit followed. ECF No. 1 Ex. A. On March 28, 2019,
Ford filed an amended complaint alleging age discrimination
under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and the
Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA), hostile work environment,
and violation of Title VII. Delta now moves to dismiss.