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Fenn v. Mansfield Bank

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

February 12, 2015

RYAN FENN, Plaintiff,
v.
MANSFIELD BANK, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM & ORDER

NATHANIEL M. GORTON, District Judge.

This case arises out of a dispute between Ryan Fenn ("plaintiff") and his former employer, Mansfield Bank ("defendant"). Plaintiff contends that defendant misclassified him as exempt from overtime pay otherwise mandated by state and federal law and alleges that he was unlawfully terminated because of his association with his disabled wife. Pending before the Court is defendant's motion to dismiss Counts III and IV of plaintiff's amended complaint which concern only the associational discrimination claims. For the reasons that follow, the motion will be denied.

I. Background

A. Factual Background

The Court summarizes only the facts stated in the complaint that are relevant to ruling on the instant motion.

Plaintiff is a resident New Bedford, Massachusetts. He began working for defendant as a "Systems Administrator" in May 2013. His principal responsibility in that position was to update defendant's computer systems.

In January, 2014, plaintiff was told that he would have to attend a week-long training session in Burlington, Massachusetts. Prior to that time, he informed his manager as well as other employees of defendant that his wife was disabled on account of her suffering from lupus, Raynaud's disease and rheumatoid arthritis. Plaintiff felt that the distance he would need to travel for the mandatory training session would create a hardship for him because of his need to care for his wife in New Bedford.

Accordingly, he repeatedly asked his manager if he could either take the training session in Providence, Rhode Island or online. Plaintiff's requests were denied, leading him to request a meeting with the human resources manager, along with his manager and the IT manager, about the issue.

At the meeting, held on April 21, 2014, plaintiff described his wife's disabilities and expressed the hardship it would cause him if he were required to commute to the training in Burlington. He again requested that he be permitted to take the class closer to his home in New Bedford or online. At the conclusion of the meeting, the human resources manager reportedly told him that before making any final decision they would meet again the following day after considering plaintiff's request overnight.

Instead, before the end of the day, defendant abruptly terminated plaintiff. Plaintiff contends that he was fired because of his association with his disabled wife and he asserts that defendant harbored animosity against him for asking for special consideration.

B. Procedural History

Plaintiff subsequently filed suit in this Court in June, 2014, alleging both federal and state statutory violations in a three-count complaint. In September, 2014, plaintiff filed an amended complaint that asserted a fourth claim against defendant. Plaintiff's amended complaint raises claims against defendant for (1) violations of overtime wage laws, specifically the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 207(a) (Count I) and M.G.L. c. 151, § 1A (Count II), and (2) violations of employment discrimination laws, specifically M.G.L. c. 151B, § 4(16) (Count III) and the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"), 42 U.S.C. § 12112(b)(4) (Count IV).[1]

In November, 2014, defendant filed the instant motion to dismiss Counts III and IV of ...


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