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Mansfield v. Billington

September 3, 2008

JUDITH A. MANSFIELD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
JAMES H. BILLINGTON, LIBRARIAN OF CONGRESS, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Ricardo M. Urbina United States District Judge

Document Nos.: 23, 25

MEMORANDUM OPINION

GRANTING IN PART AND DENYING IN PART THE DEFENDANT'S MOTION FOR SUMMARY JUDGMENT AND DENYING THE PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PARTIAL SUMMARY JUDGMENT

I. INTRODUCTION

This employment discrimination case comes before the court on the plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment and the defendant's cross motion for summary judgment. The plaintiff, Judith Mansfield, initiated this action against the defendant, the Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, alleging gender discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16(a)*fn1 , and for retaliation in violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a). Specifically, the plaintiff alleges that the defendant has paid her a salary less than that paid to male employees who performed the same duties and that the defendant retaliated against her after she requested commensurate pay. Because the plaintiff has not met her burden of demonstrating that the defendant's non-discriminatory justifications are pretextual, the court grants in part the defendant's motion for summary judgment as to her discrimination claim. Although the plaintiff has made a showing sufficient to survive the defendant's motion as to her retaliation claim, she fails to demonstrate that the defendant was motivated by retaliation. Therefore, the court denies both the plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment and the defendant's motion as to this count.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Factual History*fn2

1. Chief of Arts and Sciences Cataloging Division (1998-present)

The plaintiff began working for the Library of Congress ("the Library"), on July 1, 1969. Pl.'s Opp'n to Def.'s Mot. for Summ. J. & Reply in Support of Pl.'s Mot. for Partial Summ. J. ("Pl.'s Opp'n"), Ex. 4. ("Mansfield Dep.") 12:8-9. In 1998, the plaintiff's supervisor, Beacher Wiggins selected the plaintiff to become the Chief of the Arts and Sciences Cataloging Division ("Chief"), for which she was compensated at a pay grade of GS-15. Mansfield Dep. 71:14-21. Wiggins remained the plaintiff's supervisor during the relevant periods. Def.'s Opp'n and CrossMot. for Summ. J. ("Def.'s Mot."), Ex. 4. ("Wiggins Dep.") 7:20-8:1-2. As Chief, the plaintiff supervised seventy-five employees, oversaw the cataloging division and managed a budget of $4,400,000. Pl.'s Opp'n at 34. While the plaintiff served as Chief, women filled three of the eight other chief cataloging positions. Mansfield Dep. 98:18-99:1-6. Two of these women received compensation at the Senior Level ("SL") beginning in 1992 and 1994, respectively, id. at109:17-110:1, and the remaining six received GS-15 level compensation, Def.'s Mot. at 5 n.3.

Sometime before 2003, Wiggins requested that all GS-15 cataloging chiefs receive a pay upgrade. Def.'s Mot. at 5. Because of Wiggins' request, Human Resource Services ("HRS") hired a private contractor classifier ("the classifier") to review the classification of all of the cataloging chiefs. Id. The classifier recommended that three of the positions, including the plaintiff's, receive an SL designation. Id.

During the time of the contractor's review in August of 2003, the Library appointed Deanna Marcum as the new Associate Librarian for Library Services. Id. But, Marcum refused to follow the classifier's recommendations and expressed a desire to examine the organizational structure of the Library instead of addressing job classifications on an individual basis. Pl.'s Opp'n, Ex. 5. ("Marcum Dep.") 89:9-18. Marcum also concluded that the Library's budget could not support the additional SL positions. Def.'s Mot., Ex. 1 ("Marcum Decl.") ¶ 8. Marcum instructed Wiggins to have things "straightened out" if he believed that employees were performing duties that were "not reasonable given their position description;" this was "[his] job as a manager." Marcum Dep. 89:9-18. Marcum proceeded to spearhead a reorganization that focused on improving user services. Id. 34:10-17.

2. Acting Director for Cataloging (2002-2004)

In September of 2002, Wiggins appointed the plaintiff to serve as Acting Director of Cataloging ("Acting Director"). Wiggins Dep. 53:2-6. In accordance with the Library's regulations, the plaintiff received a temporary promotion to SL for a period of 120 days. Wiggins Dep. 55:1-7; Def.'s Mot., Ex. 8 ("Library of Congress Regulations"). While Acting Director, the plaintiff was responsible for managing a budget of $40 million, a staff of five hundred employees and eight chiefs. Mansfield Dep. 137:3-8. Wiggins was satisfied with the plaintiff's job performance as Acting Director and kept her in this position beyond 120 days, but in accordance with the Library's regulations, the plaintiff's salary reverted to the GS-15 level after the 120-day period. Wiggins Dep. 62:21-63:12; 69:6-7. The plaintiff continued in this capacity at the GS-15 level for approximately a year until February of 2004 when she received a second temporary promotion to the SL for a period of 120 days. Id. 69:7-17. The job responsibilities never changed for the period she was compensated at the GS-15 level. Id. 65:5-6.

In June of 2004, the plaintiff's second temporary promotion ended and the plaintiff's pay again returned to the GS-15 level. Pl.'s Opp'n at 3. As Acting Director, the plaintiff served as the immediate supervisor to John Byrum, Chief of the Regional and Cooperative Cataloging Division who held the position at the GS-16 pay grade since 1985. Def.'s Mot. at 17-19. In May of 1991, Byrum's pay grade was converted to the SL by the Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act of 1990. Id. at 19 n.10. The 2003 classification report conducted by HRS compared Byrum's position description with the plaintiff's and recommended that the plaintiff receive a pay upgrade to the SL. Def.'s Mot., Ex. 9.

In 1997, Wiggins applied for and later became Director of Cataloging. Wiggins Dep. 45:7-11. As a result, Wiggins received a pay upgrade to the SL. Id. at 48:16-18. Wiggins' job responsibilities did not change when he received this appointment. Id. at 49:16-20. In 2002, Wiggins assumed the acting duties of the Associate Librarian for Library Services. Id. 50:18-21.

3. Assistant Director of Bibliographic Access (2004-2005)

In September of 2004, as part of her reorganization plan, Marcum created five new directorates to oversee the operations of Library Services.*fn3 Def.'s Mot. at 6. Marcum assigned Wiggins the position of Director of Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access and gave him permission to temporarily create and assign collateral duties to employees. Id. Wiggins appointed the plaintiff to serve as Assistant Director of Bibliographic Access ("Assistant Director") on August 6, 2004. Def.'s Mot. at 6. The other Assistant Directors appointed alongside the plaintiff were Steve Herman as Assistant Director of Collections Management and Mark Dimunation as the Assistant Director for Special Collections and Services. Id. at 7. In a subsequent email sent by Wiggins to the newly appointed Assistant Directors, he mentioned that Marcum "could not agree to any assistant director positions being full-time" and that Marcum stated, "after experimenting with assistant directors in collateral roles for a while, we can later re-evaluate its effectiveness." Reply, Ex. 27. Despite these email communications, the plaintiff believed that her appointment as Assistant Director was not "acting" or "interim" based on a posting of the positions in the Annual Report of Congress. Pl.'s Opp'n at 41. The plaintiff contends that the Assistant Directors were never told that their positions were temporary. Id. at 42.

While Assistant Director, the plaintiff supervised a staff of over five hundred employees, supervised nine divisions, managed a budget of approximately $40 million and participated in Directors' Meetings. Pl.'s Opp'n at 19, 34. The plaintiff argues and the defendant disputes that her job responsibilities as Assistant Director were essentially the same as when she was Acting Director. Id. at 14.

Sometime after her appointment as Assistant Director, the plaintiff expressed dissatisfaction regarding her continued compensation at the GS-15 level. Wiggins Dep. 94:9-15. Believing that the plaintiff's job required the same level of skill, ability and responsibility as other SL managers within the Library, Wiggins spoke to Marcum and requested an upgrade of the plaintiff's salary to the SL. Id. at 90:6-12, 95:10-11. In response, Marcum referenced a strained Library Services budget and stated that adding more SL positions might have a further adverse impact on the budget. Id. at 95:12-19. Marcum in a newsletter dated March 5, 2004 wrote: "I think nearly everyone knows by now that the 2004 budget of LS [Library Services] must be trimmed if we are to get through the year without a deficit, and the picture in 2005 is less than cheerful." Reply, Ex. 24 at 052. Again, on March 12, 2004, Marcum sent a newsletter to staff stating:

Unfortunately, Library Services is already in a deficit situation in 2004, and the directors have worked hard to help me make decisions about ways to reduce this year's spending to balance our budget. I concluded that the non-[personnel] budget lines should be reduced in order to preserve staff lines.

Id., Ex. 24 at 054. The Library had an annual budget of half a billion dollars and estimates the cost of elevating the plaintiff to the SL to be between $8,000 to $13,000 per year. Pl.'s Opp'n at 8 & 41. Despite these budget constraints, Marcum received a signing bonus of $20,000 and two retention bonuses, one for $30,000 and another for $32,000 since her 2003 hiring. Pl.'s Opp'n at 40.

The plaintiff worked alongside both Dimunation and Herman while she was Assistant Director. Def.'s Mot. at 7. Dimunation became Chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division within Library Services, an SL position in 1998, Def.'s Mot. at 28, and he remained in this position at the time of the events giving rise to this action. Pl.'s Statement ¶ 75.

4. Abolishment of the Assistant Director Positions

On March 16, 2005, the plaintiff submitted a letter to the defendant complaining that while she served as Chief, Acting Director, and Assistant Director she performed senior level duties but was compensated at the GS-15 level, despite her performance being consistently rated as outstanding. Pl.'s Opp'n at 2 & Ex. 25 ("Letter to Librarian"). Further, the plaintiff mentioned that she directly supervised an SL male employee. Letter to Librarian. The plaintiff stated that her pay was lower than that of ...


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