PGW Files Interlocutory Appeal with Court to Re-Visit Conditional Certification
May 30, 2012

by Katie O'Mara,

Pittsburgh Glass Works (PGW) has filed documents with the Western District Court of Pennsylvania to take a second look at the plaintiffs’ conditional certification. In early May, the court granted class certification to former employees of PGW in a discrimination suit filed against the company.

The interlocutory appeal asks the court to take a second look at a piece of the case before the case is decided upon.

In PGW’s interlocutory appeal the company states that, “the order involves at least three straightforward legal questions—(1) whether sub-grouping is permitted in disparate impact claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, (2) whether should should apply Dukes v. Wal-Mart Store, Inc. to each stage of the collective action certification process and require at the condition certification stage a modest factual showing that plaintiffs and the proposed class are similarly situated without reliance on the alleged ‘corporate culture’ at PGW; and, (3) whether the ‘modest factual showing’ required for conditional certification includes a modest showing that the proposed class members can present a claim for disparate impact.”

The appeal goes on to say that there is substantial ground for difference of opinion regarding the certification order and that this appeal would “materially advance the ultimate termination of the litigation.”

The suit was originally filed in October 2010 and the plaintiffs in the suit include seven former employees who allege they were let go during a March 2009 reduction-in-force due to their age. The five plaintiffs are Rudolph Karlo, Mark McLure, William Cunningham, Jeffrey Marietti, David Meixelsberger, Benjamin Thompson and Richard Csukas. The plaintiffs, who are all between the ages of 52 and 58, were let go at the end of March 2009, when the company laid off several employees as part of a reorganization.

In the September 30 complaint, they allege that PGW “adopt[ed] and employ[ed] methods for evaluating, ranking and selecting employees for termination in its [reductions-in-force], which methods were highly subjective, unreliable, invalid, and served as mere pretext, resulting in the termination of disproportionately high numbers of older workers who were never informed of the clandestine criteria used to select them for termination.”

PGW has asked the court to stay the current court proceedings pending a resolution from the appeal.

PGW and the former employees were involved in a status conference on May 29, but the court is currently waiting for a response from the former employees regarding the interlocutory appeal, which is due to the court by June 6.

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