United States District Court, M.D. Florida, Tampa Division
BRADLEY JONES, on behalf of himself and others similarly situated, Plaintiffs,
RS&H, INC., Defendant.
C. BUCKLEW UNITED STATES STRICT JUDGE.
cause comes before the Court on Plaintiff's Motion for
Reconsideration of Order on Conditional Certification. (Doc.
No. 27). Defendant opposes the motion. (Doc. No. 28). As
explained below, Plaintiff's motion is denied.
January 6, 2017, Plaintiff filed an age discrimination
complaint under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and
the Florida Civil Rights Act. (Doc. No. 1). In his complaint,
Plaintiff Bradley Jones alleges the following: Plaintiff
worked for Defendant RS&H, Inc. from August 5, 1991
through June 12, 2015 when he was terminated. When Defendant
terminated Plaintiff, Defendant stated that his termination
was part of a reduction-in-force (“RIF”).
Defendant terminated 23 employees nationwide during this RIF;
Defendant terminated seven employees within the Tampa
location where Plaintiff worked. Five of the seven employees
terminated at the Tampa location were over 50 years old.
who was 53 years old at the time of his termination, believes
that he was terminated due to his age. Plaintiff and the two
opt-in plaintiffs filed affidavits in support of their
allegations of age discrimination in which they state the
following: They had more than enough work, and as such, there
was no need for their termination or a RIF. (Doc. No. 16-4,
¶ 5; Doc. No. 16-3, ¶ 5-6; Doc. No. 16-5, ¶
5). Defendant rarely allowed non-officers to work until they
retired. (Doc. No. 16-4, ¶ 9; Doc. No. 16-3, ¶ 10;
Doc. No. 16-5, ¶ 9). Instead, Defendant hired young
employees and then terminated the older employees once the
younger hires were trained. (Doc. No. 16-4, ¶ 9; Doc.
No. 16-3, ¶ 10; Doc. No. 16-5, ¶ 9). According to
Plaintiff, one of Defendant's supervisors commented just
prior to the RIF that he had been informed that Defendant was
looking to reduce staff, specifically the older personnel.
(Doc. No. 16-3, ¶ 12). Additionally, Defendant's
agents often said, “Young people are our future.”
(Doc. No. 16-3, ¶ 13; Doc. No. 16-5, ¶ 11).
Order on Conditional Certification (Doc. No.
initially moved to conditionally certify a nationwide class
of former employees who were terminated from October 28, 2014
through August 24, 2015 (i.e., within 300 days prior
to Plaintiff's filing of his EEOC charge) and who were at
least 40 years old at the time of their termination.
Defendant opposed the motion. The Court granted conditional
certification for a much narrower class than that requested
by Plaintiff; the Court granted conditional certification of
a class consisting of the five employees at the Tampa
location that were terminated in the June 2015 RIF who were
at least 40 years old at the time of their termination. (Doc.
Court found that the scope of the nationwide class for which
Plaintiff requested conditional certification was too broad.
Specifically, the Court found that Plaintiff's EEOC
charge did not place the EEOC or Defendant on notice of
nationwide claims, stating:
Plaintiff's EEOC charge cannot be read to give notice
that he is asserting claims on behalf of a nationwide class
of employees. While Plaintiff alleges that non-officers are
rarely allowed to work until retirement and that Defendant
hires younger employees and then terminates older employees,
these allegations can only be viewed as Plaintiff's
perception as to what is going on at his work location.
Plaintiff provides no allegations in the charge to support
his contention that the charge provides notice of a
(Doc. No. 24, p. 6).
the Court provided an alternative basis for denying
conditional certification for the nationwide class-the scope
of the proposed nationwide class is too diverse to consist
solely of employees that are similarly situated to Plaintiff.
The Court pointed out that before a court grants a motion for
conditional certification, the court should find that: (1)
there are other employees who desire to opt-in; and (2) those
employees are similarly situated to the plaintiff.
case, only two employees have chosen to opt into this
lawsuit. Those employees were both part of the June 2015 RIF
that affected the Tampa Transportation Infrastructure
division. The Court noted that there is no evidence before
the Court that any other employees outside of Tampa are
interested in joining this lawsuit, and
“[c]ertification of a collective action and notice to a
potential class is not appropriate to determine
whether there are others who desire to join the
lawsuit.” Kubiak v. S.W. Cowboy, Inc., 2014 WL
2625181, at *8 (M.D. Fla. June 12, 2014)(quotation marks and
the Court found that Plaintiff did not satisfy his burden of
showing that he is similarly situated to his proposed
nationwide class. Plaintiff must show that his position is
similar to the positions held by the proposed class members.
Plaintiff had not Dated this for the proposed nationwide
class, whose members are in a different division in different
states with different decision-makers involved in their
result, the Court granted conditional certification of a
class consisting of the five employees at the Tampa location
that were terminated in the June 2015 RIF who were at least
40 years old at the time of their termination. ...