Pelcha v. MW Bancorp, Inc., No. 20-3511 (6th Cir. 2021)Annotate this Case
Pelcha began working as a bank teller in 2005. A new supervisor, Sonderman, began overseeing Pelcha in 2016 and required her direct reports to submit written requests for any time out of the office by the middle of the month before the month of the requested time off. In July 2016, Pelcha planned to take time off from work but did not use the written request form. She told Sonderman that she was “not filling [the request out] because [she didn’t] have to.” Pelcha nonetheless completed the form, placing it in Sonderman’s office on the day before her time off. The next day, Sonderman spoke with CEO Niesen, at a regularly scheduled management meeting, about Pelcha’s failure to submit the form, Pelcha's negative attitude, and failure to timely complete tasks. Niesen stated that he had no tolerance for insubordination and told everyone he intended to fire Pelcha. He asked Sonderman to memorialize the chain of events in a memo. Days later, Niesen terminated Pelcha’s employment and informed her that it was because of her insubordination.
Pelcha, then 47 years old, sued under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. 623(a)(1). The Sixth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of her claims. Nielsen’s comments about another employee were irrelevant to Pelcha’s termination. Pelcha’s insubordination was a legitimate reason for the termination and was not pretextual. Pelcha failed to establish disparate treatment.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on February 19, 2021.