The opinion of the court was delivered by: DUFF
BRIAN BARNETT DUFF, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
On December 29, 1988, following a bench trial, this court ruled that defendant Jones Construction Company had discriminated against plaintiff Cheryl Jones on the basis of her sex, and that accordingly the defendant had violated the plaintiff's rights under Title VII. The court memorialized its ruling in eight pages of factual and legal findings (referred to herein as "Findings"), and entered judgment in the amount of $ 27,152.52. On appeal, the Seventh Circuit held that these findings did not adequately support the ruling, and remanded the case to this court for additional findings. 879 F.2d 295. This court here abides that order.
In the original ruling, this court determined that the plaintiff was "performing her job [as an escort] satisfactorily" (Findings at 5) when the defendant's supervisor, Mr. John Oxford, decided to fire her. Although Mr. Oxford contended that he did so because the plaintiff repeatedly came to work late, left early, and disobeyed orders to stay on the construction site, this court found those claims to be "exaggerated" (Findings at 5), and found instead that the real reason for his decision was that he had decided to reduce the number of escorts from four to three, and that personality conflicts between the three other escorts (all women) and the plaintiff -- arising from the fact that the other escorts resented the plaintiff's close relationship with her superintendent Jerry Rush -- caused Mr. Oxford to choose the plaintiff as the one to remove. Findings at 5.
This court recognized that, at first blush, this decision did not appear discriminatory: Title VII does not prohibit discrimination on the basis of personality. Findings at 5. Yet, while this proffered reason for discharging the plaintiff sufficed to justify her removal from a position as full-time escort, it did not justify her discharge. For although the defendant's need for full-time escorts had dropped from four to three, Findings at 4, its need for non-escort laborers, skilled and unskilled, had remained the same and even increased slightly around the time Mr. Oxford fired the plaintiff, Findings at 7. When Mr. Oxford began working for the defendant, the plaintiff had been performing a combination of laborer and escort tasks. Findings at 6. The refusal of Mr. Oxford or his boss, Mr. Walter Nealey, even to consider returning the plaintiff to a position as laborer -- a position her immediate supervisors found her fully capable of performing -- combined with their failure to hire a single female laborer during their entire tenure with the defendant, suggested that the plaintiff's sex had influenced the defendant's decision to discharge her. Findings at 4, 6. This court's additional finding that Mr. Oxford had used derogatory terms in referring to the female escorts on the job site (Findings at 4) confirmed to this court that the plaintiff's sex had played a critical role in her discharge. Findings at 7.
THE SEVENTH CIRCUIT'S CRITICISM
The Seventh Circuit leveled three general criticisms at this court's ruling: first, that the factual findings were insufficient; second, that the factual findings were inconsistent; and third, that the court's conclusions of law were not structured along the lines of an appropriate legal framework. The court will address, and hopefully alleviate, each criticism seriatim.
Insufficient Factual Findings
The Court of Appeals stated that this court had left a number of factual issues unresolved. Frankly, this court believed, and still believes, that each of these factual disputes was either impliedly resolved in, or immaterial to, the court's ruling. In deference to the higher court's order, however, this court will provide its findings on each issue (along with a brief explanation as to why the court did not set them forth explicitly in the original ruling).
1. Did Nealey and Oxford hold a meeting and announce new rules regarding the escorts' responsibilities, and did the plaintiff attended this meeting?
This court finds that Mr. Nealey and Mr. Oxford did hold such a meeting, that the plaintiff attended the meeting, and that at the meeting Mr. Nealey and Mr. Oxford instructed the laborer/escorts that their primary responsibility thereafter was to work as escorts. The court, however, finds that the two supervisors did not specifically instruct the escorts that they could take orders only from them. Further, Mr. Oxford's willingness to allow Mr. Rush and Mr. Kelly to give the plaintiff her daily assignments indicates that no such policy was in force.
(The court found no need to specify this factual finding because the court explicitly found that the plaintiff's failure to obey rules did not form the basis for the ...