United States District Court, W.D. Washington, Tacoma
ORDER ON DEFENDANT'S MOTION TO DISMISS FIRST
J. BRYAN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
matter comes before the Court on the Defendant Great Wolf
Resorts, Inc.'s (“Great Wolf”) Motion to
Dismiss First Amended Complaint. Dkt. 25. The Court has
considered the pleadings filed in support of and in
opposition to the motion and the file herein.
diversity case, the Plaintiff claims that Great Wolf created,
perpetuated, and failed to address, a hostile work
environment, based on his sex/gender, and retaliated against
him by terminating his employment all in violation of the
Washington Law Against Discrimination, RCW § 49.60,
et seq., (“WLAD”). Dkt. 22. The only
claim in the original Complaint, termination in violation of
public policy, was dismissed on July 1, 2019, without
prejudice, in part, for failure to allege facts to show that
the public-policy linked conduct caused his dismissal. Dkt.
21. The Plaintiff, with leave of court, filed the Amended
Complaint. Dkt. 22. Great Wolf (who asserts that the
Plaintiff improperly names it as the Defendant, and not
Plaintiff's real employer, Great Lakes Services, LLC),
now moves to dismiss the case, arguing that the Plaintiff
fails to allege that the harassment occurred because of his
sex/gender or that there was a causal connection between the
Plaintiff's discharge and his purported protected
activity. Dkt. 23. For the reasons provided below, the motion
(Dkt. 23) should be denied.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
following facts are from the Plaintiff's First Amended
Complaint and are presumed true for the purposes of this
Plaintiff was hired to work at Great Wolf, a hotel and inside
water park, on October 25, 2017, as the Director of
Engineering. Dkt. 22, at 9. Prior to the events that give
rise to this action, he alleges that he met or exceeded
performance goals and received only positive performance
reviews. Id., at 8-9.
First Amended Complaint asserts that on January 23, 2018, the
Plaintiff reported to Great Wolf management that a co-worker,
Marilyn Milani, the Director of Rooms, “wrote various
graffiti on an interior wall and then destroyed it.”
Dkt. 22, at 10. He did so by text message to Human Resources
Manager Tawni Houk and included pictures, which appear in the
First Amended Complaint. Id., at 10-11. The picture
is of a wall with writing on it and portions of the drywall
and insulation torn way. Id., at 11. The next day,
Milani emailed the Plaintiff, “stating that she had
begun destructively tearing the wall down in housekeeping via
her pack ritual but did not plan on encountering insulation
and metal.” Id. The First Amended Complaint
maintains that she then asked the Plaintiff to
“schedule someone to remove the wall.”
Id. The Plaintiff asserts that he reported
Milani's conduct a second time, this time to the General
Manager, Nadine Miracle. Id.
First Amended Complaint alleges that in retaliation for the
Plaintiff's reports, on January 26, 2018, Milani reported
to human resources that the Plaintiff “objectified
women.” Dkt. 22, at 12. He asserts that when he pointed
out that the timing of her complaint was suspicious, Miracle
and Houk stated that due to the nature of Milani's
claims, they would not treat the report as retaliatory.
First Amended Complaint alleges that when he was not
disciplined as a result of Milani's claim, Milani began a
rumor that he was having an affair with another married
co-worker, Herbert. Dkt. 22, at 11. He maintains that Miracle
went to Houk and inquired as to whether they should contact
the police to investigate because “in Pennsylvania
where [Miracle] was from, adultery is illegal.”
Id. at 12. The Plaintiff asserts that he did not
have the affair. Id. Milani is alleged to have then
“ran an unauthorized audit through the workplace
computer system on Plaintiff [and Herbert]” and gave
his personal contact information to Herbert's husband.
Id. The Plaintiff asserts that Milani continued to
defame and harass him on social media. Id., at 13.
He asserts that other of Milani's friends at work also
harassed him by making unwelcome sex-based comments.
Id., at 13. Plaintiff states that Milani was
increasingly hostile to him, would not communicate with him,
and made it very difficult to do his job due to the
interrelated nature of their duties. Id., at 14. The
Plaintiff reported Milani's behavior, but he asserts that
General Manager Miracle indicated that she disagreed that any
such behavior was occurring. Id. In March of 2018,
Milani was discharged. Dkt. 22, at 15.
First Amended Complaint alleges that the Plaintiff's
performance evaluation for April 2018 indicated that he
“consistently meets” goals and work expectations
and that his overall performance was “strong
contributor.” Dkt. 22, at 15-16.
early June 2018, Plaintiff and a few other employees headed
to Seattle to participate in a work-related program. Dkt. 22,
at 15. The Plaintiff alleges that he left with Ms. Herbert,
but that after they left, they received a call from General
Manager Miracle that they were to wait on the side of the
road for her. Id., at 16. Plaintiff asserts
that Miracle forced him to ride with her. Id. When
asked why, the Plaintiff maintains that Miracle told him,
“boys and girls should not ride alone in cars
together.” Id., at 17.
Ms. Herbert and the Plaintiff filed complaints with human
resources regarding this episode. Dkt. 1-1, at 17. Plaintiff
maintains that their “complaints detailed how their
boss, GM Miracle, believed the sexual harassment perpetrated
by Ms. Milani.” Id. On June 28, 2018, the
Plaintiff asserts that he asked Human Resources Manager Houk
about the status of his complaint. Id. He maintains
that Houk told him that Bryan Robinson of Corporate Human
Resources told her to “put a stop to any further
complaints” and that if they wanted to complain
“they know where the door is.” Id. He
asserts that he was not promoted in July 2018, despite having
been given the impression that he was the top candidate.
Id., at 18.
First Amended Complaint alleges that on July 24, 2018, a
meeting was held between the Plaintiff, General Manager
Miracle, and Assistant General Manager, Nick Licastro. Dkt.
22, at 18. The Plaintiff maintains that he politely disagreed
with them on an issue. Id. He asserts that they went