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NORWOOD v. DALE MAINTENANCE SYSTEM

June 6, 1984

VERA NORWOOD, PLAINTIFF,
v.
DALE MAINTENANCE SYSTEM, INC. AND STANDARD OIL REALTY CORP., INC., DEFENDANTS.



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

ORDER

This matter comes before the court for decision following a bench trial of plaintiff's claim of sex discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. Jurisdiction is based upon 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(f) and 28 U.S.C. § 1343(4). For the reasons set forth herein, judgment is entered in favor of defendants.

I. FINDINGS OF FACT

Plaintiff Vera Norwood ("Norwood") is a female who has been employed by defendant Dale Maintenance System, Inc. ("Dale") continuously since June 25, 1973. Dale is a corporation engaged in providing janitorial and maintenance services to clients on an independent contractor basis. Defendant Standard Oil Realty Corporation ("Standard Oil") is a corporation doing business in the State of Illinois. Standard Oil maintains offices at and owns and rents commercial office space in the Standard Oil Building in Chicago, Illinois. Dale has a contract with Standard Oil to provide janitorial and maintenance services in the Standard Oil Building. Norwood has never been employed directly by Standard Oil.

The Standard Oil Building is a multi-storied commercial building comprised of 82 floors with a daytime population of between 8,000 and 12,000 persons. Banks of elevators service the floors and provide access to specific ranges of floors in the building. In order to gain access to a specific floor, therefore, a person might have to transfer from one elevator bank to another at some point during their ascent or descent.

Each floor of the Standard Oil Building has one men's washroom and one women's washroom. On 24 of the floors of the building the washrooms are in restricted areas not accessible to the general public. Moreover, on many of the floors the doors to the washrooms are locked. Keys to the men's and women's washrooms on a specific floor are only issued to tenants on that floor.

Two males are assigned by Dale to the day shift to clean all male washrooms in the Standard Oil Building. One male day shift employee is assigned to clean twice daily the 33 male washrooms between the 34th and Lower Level 5 floors, plus to police the canteen on the 6th floor. One male day shift employee is assigned to clean twice daily the 42 male washrooms between the 35th and 82nd floors, plus to police the canteen on the 54th floor. One female day shift employee is assigned to clean twice daily the 32 female washrooms between the 34th and Lower Level 3 floors, plus to police the canteens on the 5th, 54th and 68th floors. One female day shift employee is assigned to clean twice daily the 43 female washrooms between the 35th and 82nd floors. Dale's day shift employees travel in teams of one male employee and one female employee, and each team travels simultaneously while inspecting and supplying the washrooms. All supplies are kept in a closet in the men's washrooms and the key to the supply closet is given only to the male employee of each team.

Day shift washroom attendants perform their duties according to predetermined schedules prepared by Dale. The schedules provide for the attendants to service the washrooms twice per shift. The schedules allot a total of five minutes for cleaning of and travel between each of the various washrooms. Dale's employees sometimes complete their washroom job duties in more or less than five minutes and then proceed to the next floor. Dale is generally able to identify the vicinity where its day shift employees are working at any given time. Dale is not always able, however, to identify the exact floor where the employees are working.

No major cleaning duties, such as sweeping, mopping or sanitizing of the washrooms, are performed during the 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. day shift. All of the major cleaning duties are performed during the 5:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. night shift. Dale does not assign its night shift employees to washroom cleaning duties on the basis of sex, and female night shift employees are issued keys for both men's and women's washrooms and for the supply cabinet in the men's washrooms. When it is necessary for a night shift employee to enter an opposite sex washroom he or she first knocks on the door. If a male washroom is in use during the night shift, a female employee may be able to begin cleaning duties in the female washroom on the same floor and in the offices until the male washroom is empty. At least three years ago, Standard Oil received a complaint from a female tenant concerning a male employee entering a female washroom in the Standard Oil Building during the night shift without first knocking. Standard Oil responded to this report by requesting Dale to remind the employee to knock before entering any female washrooms. Nine floors in the Standard Oil Building regularly schedule employees to work after 5:00 p.m. Standard Oil estimates that only 80 individuals are so scheduled. Overtime work on certain floors, however, is not uncommon.

In 1979 Norwood was working for Dale in the Standard Oil Building on the night shift. On June 27, 1979, Dale posted a job vacancy announcement for a day shift washroom cleaning attendant position at the Standard Oil Building. The announcement stated that "[s]eniority shall be the governing factor in filling the vacancy provided the employee has the ability to be trained to perform this job." Dale's employees are represented by Local 25, Services Employees International Union, AFL-CIO. The phrasing of the day shift announcement was in accordance with Article XV, Section 3 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement in effect between the union and Dale. This section of the Agreement provided:

  When a vacancy occurs in any job covered by this
  Agreement, said job shall be posted for bidding
  in a conspicuous place and all employees may
  apply for the job. The posting shall contain a
  full description of the job duties, starting time
  and rate of pay. Seniority shall be the governing
  factor in filling the vacancy provided the
  employee has the ability to be trained to perform
  the job.

The written job description for the day shift position included the following duties:

a. Inspect floor

(1) wipe up spills

(2) pick up paper

b. Inspect hand towel dispenser

(1) check contents of towel dispenser

(2) refill if needed

(3) press down on used towels in container

c. Inspect toilet tissue

(1) check tissue in all stalls

(2) obtain new rolls

    (3) remove empty core and replace with full
    roll

(4) flush toilet when necessary

d. Inspect urinals and flush when necessary

e. Inspect sinks

(1) wipe top of all sinks

(2) wipe all faucets and handles

f. Inspect mirror and wipe ...


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