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SCOTT v. OCÉ INDUSTRIES

March 2, 1982

PATRICIA MARSHALL SCOTT, PLAINTIFF,
v.
OCE INDUSTRIES, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Shadur, District Judge.

FINDINGS OF FACT AND CONCLUSIONS OF LAW

This action has been tried upon the facts without a jury. After considering all the evidence and the briefs and arguments of counsel, in accordance with Fed.R.Civ.P. 52(a) the Court finds the facts and states its conclusions of law as follows:

Findings of Fact ("Findings")

I. Introduction

A. Nature of the Case and Prior Proceedings

1. Patricia Marshall Scott ("Scott") filed this action April 30, 1980 charging that Océ Industries, Inc. ("Océ") had violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e to 2000e-17, and the Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d). Before trial Scott withdrew her Equal Pay Act claims and proceeded solely on her Title VII charges. Scott alleged that Océ had discriminated against her on the basis of sex, in that her compensation and terms and conditions of employment were determined by unlawful considerations and she was subjected to harassment that forced her resignation.

2. Scott's Complaint was timely, having been filed within 90 days of her receipt of a right-to-sue letter from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). Scott's initial and amended charges before the EEOC were also timely filed:

    (a) Her initial charge was filed March 18,
  1977, within 180 days of the events complained
  of.
    (b) Her amended charge, filed in September
  1978, was based on her claimed constructive
  discharge. It therefore alleged additional
  unlawful employment practices related to or
  growing out of the original charge.

3. Trial commenced October 23, 1981 and concluded October 29, 1981 with final arguments taking place November 2, 1981.

B. Parties

4. At the time of her Océ employment Scott was a widowed white female using the name Patricia Marshall (she has since married and changed her last name to Scott). Scott began working at Océ in January 1974 as the credit secretary. From December 1, 1974 through the termination of her employment April 25, 1977 she was employed as Assistant Credit Manager of the Repro division ("ACM-Repro").

5. Océ, headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, is an employer within the meaning of Title VII. During the entire time period relevant to this action Océ had two divisions, the Repro and ICP divisions.

II. Scott's Employment Record

6. Scott's predecessor as ACM-Repro was a man named Ronald Norton ("Norton"). Norton had been hired in October 1973 at a starting salary of $12,000, subject to a review and an increase if his performance were found satisfactory four to six months after hiring. Instead Norton was fired in May 1974. From the pattern of Océ's increases (both on merit and to meet inflation) reflected in the record, it is reasonable to conclude that had Norton performed satisfactorily as ACM-Repro he would have been earning not less than 10% more (or $13,200) by December 1, 1974 (more than a year after hiring).

7. Scott was qualified to perform the duties of ACM-Repro effective December 1, 1974. Indeed she had handled the assignment on a trial basis since July 1, 1974 and had voluntarily asked to wait to assume the ACM title until she was adequately trained. Scott's initial salary as an ACM was $9,460 (all salaries in these Findings are stated on an annual basis). That was increased July 14, 1975 to $10,465. At that time Océ's personnel action form for Scott (P. Ex. 3) stated, "Since Patricia is doing all of the credit work for the Repro Division, the above requested increase still brings in the cost of this position at substantially less than her predecessor, Ron Norton." Océ's personnel action forms for Scott dated January 19, 1976 (P. Ex. 4) and January 19, 1977 (P. Ex. 5) reflect that her performance was "excellent" and "outstanding."

8. Norton had substantially more experience in handling credit than did Scott. However the job of ACM, although it requires intelligence and application, is not an extraordinarily complex or highly skilled activity for which substantial experience is either necessary or relevant. Indeed the fact is that Scott performed the ACM job in an "excellent" and "outstanding" way while Norton had not. Scott has established that in comparison with Norton she performed equal work for unequal compensation. Océ's offered reasons for the difference, in the light of this and subsequent Findings, are pretextual. This Finding is not vitiated by the fact that Scott, as a conscientious employee wanting to continue to increase her skills, continued to seek and obtain further on-the-job training from her superior (Credit Manager Paul Calhoun) on dealing with credit problems.

9. In February 1976 the relevant credit department personnel and their respective salaries were as follows:

                         Terry Harrigan
                         Credit Manager
          ...

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