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ROBINSON v. DAVIS MEM. GOODWILL INDUS.

February 24, 1994

PEGGY ROBINSON, Plaintiff,
v.
DAVIS MEMORIAL GOODWILL INDUSTRIES, INC., et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: STANLEY SPORKIN

 Plaintiff Peggy Robinson, a former employee of defendant Davis Memorial Goodwill Industries, Inc. ("Goodwill"), filed this lawsuit in 1991 alleging that the defendants discriminated against her based on her sex and race in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and of the Equal Pay Act ("the Act"). In her complaint, the plaintiff also brought pendent claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress, tortious interference with contractual relations, wrongful discharge, and violation of the District of Columbia Human Rights Act.

 This Court dismissed the plaintiff's pendent claims without prejudice in 1992. The Court granted leave to the plaintiff to amend her complaint to add the 1991 jury trial provisions of Title VII and the defendants appealed the ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Accordingly, the Title VII portion of the plaintiff's complaint has been held in abeyance pending the outcome of the defendants' interlocutory appeal. As a result, only the alleged violations of the Act are presently before this Court.

 On October 1, 1992, the defendants moved for entry of summary judgment on the plaintiff's claims under the Act. The Court held a hearing on the motion, reviewed the record, and is now prepared to rule. For the reasons provided below, the defendants' motion is granted.

 Standard for Summary Judgment

 Summary judgment is appropriate when no material facts are in dispute and based on the undisputed facts, the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 106 S. Ct. 2505 (1986). A court faced with a summary judgment motion must determine "whether the evidence presents a sufficient disagreement to require submission to a jury or whether it is so one-sided that one party must prevail as a matter of law." Id. at 2512.

 The party moving for summary judgment bears the burden of identifying those parts of the record that demonstrate the absence of a genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 106 S. Ct. 2548 (1986). The burden then shifts to the opposing party to go beyond the pleadings to offer evidence of specific facts which create a genuine issue for trial. Id. The evidence produced must entitle the opposing party, assuming his version of events to be true, to judgment as a matter of law. General Communications Eng'g, Inc. v. Motorola Communications and Elecs., Inc., 421 F. Supp. 274, 279 (N. D. Cal. 1976)(quoting McGuire v. Columbia Broadcasting Sys., 399 F.2d 902, 905 (9th Cir. 1968). If the opposing party fails to make such a showing, the moving party is entitled to summary judgment.

 Thus, the defendants bear the burden of demonstrating, based on the "pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any," that no genuine issue of material fact exists. A fact is not material for the purposes of deciding a summary judgment motion if it is not necessary to the decision. See Johns Hopkins Univ. v. Hutton, 297 F. Supp. 1165, 1198 (D.C. Md. 1968), rev'd in part on other grounds, 422 F.2d 1124 (4th Cir. 1970). Defendants claim that they are entitled to summary judgment on the issue of whether plaintiff was paid less than similarly situated male employees in violation of the Equal Pay Act.

 Equal Pay Act

 A plaintiff alleging unequal pay in violation of the Act must show that she was paid less than male employees "for equal work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility and which are performed under similar working conditions." 29 U.S.C. 206(d)(i); Laffey v. Northwest Airlines, Inc., 185 U.S. App. D.C. 322, 567 F.2d 429 (D.C. Cir. 1976). The legal standard to be applied in judging equality of jobs under the Act is the "substantially equal" test. Shultz v. Wheaton Glass Co., 421 F.2d 259 (3rd Cir. 1970), cert. denied, 398 U.S. 905, 26 L. Ed. 2d 64, 90 S. Ct. 1696 (1970). The substantially equal test adopted by the courts makes clear that the "equal work" language of the Act strikes a balance between the requirement that the jobs be "comparable" and the more stringent requirement that they be identical. Thompson v. Sawyer, 219 U.S. App. D.C. 393, 678 F.2d 257 (D.C. Cir. 1982). Disproportionate pay for substantially equal jobs violates the Act unless the inequity in pay is due to a seniority system, a merit system, a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production, or any other factor other than sex. 29 U.S.C. ยง 206(d)(1) (1970).

 Analysis

 During her tenure at Goodwill, plaintiff held the position of Soft Goods Manager. Her duties and responsibilities included sorting incoming soft goods, e.g. clothing, that arrived at the main Goodwill plant in the District of Columbia and storing at the plant those soft goods not sent immediately to storage. She also supervised approximately 20 part-time workers in her department. Plaintiff alleges that Goodwill violated the Equal Pay Act by paying her former co-workers and defendants, Essie Watts, *fn1" Larry Garr, David Becker and Lester Wofford more than she for jobs requiring equal skill, equal effort and equal responsibility, and those differences in pay were based on sex. On the other hand, defendants maintain that the positions, duties and responsibilities of the individual defendants were not substantially equal to that of the plaintiff, therefore, she cannot prevail on her Equal Pay Act claims.

 At the hearing on this motion, Plaintiff withdrew from the Court's consideration any comparison of her job with individual defendants other than Larry Garr. She stipulated that for the purposes of deciding the motion the Court could limit its focus to whether defendant Larry Garr ("Garr") was paid more than she for equal work. Accordingly, the Court will compare only Garr's job as Used Car Manager with that of the plaintiff.

 There is little dispute on the record as to Garr's essential duties and responsibilities at Goodwill. During the plaintiff's tenure at Goodwill, Garr was the Used Car Manager and was later promoted to Operations Manager. As the Used Car Manager from May 1988 to September 1988, Garr was responsible for accepting used cars donated to Goodwill, monitoring the title of those vehicles, pricing them and preparing them for resale. *fn2" As such, he was required to have knowledge of Blue Book pricing, title registration and associated paper work. Mr. Garr's duties as Operations Manager, as spelled out in his job description, are to manage the day to day requirements of Goodwill's ...


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