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Mary B. Parker v. Madison County Regional Office of Education

August 30, 2011

MARY B. PARKER,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
MADISON COUNTY REGIONAL OFFICE OF EDUCATION,
DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Herndon, Chief Judge

ORDER

Plaintiff, Mary B. Parker, a former youth advocate for defendant Madison County Regional Office of Education filed a complaint against defendant alleging violations of the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (the "EPA"), 29 U.S.C. § 206(d), and of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. ("Title VII"), based on sex discrimination and retaliation. In essence, plaintiff claimed that defendant discriminated against her on the basis of sex by paying her less than a male, Brian McGivern, who held the same position as her and for retaliating against plaintiff for complaining of the sex-based wage disparity. Defendant filed a motion for summary judgment (Doc. 32). For the reasons that follow, the motion for summary judgment is denied.

I. Background

Without getting too much into the facts, because many of them are indispute, plaintiff was hired by defendant as a secretary in August 1997. At the time of her hire, plaintiff possessed an associate's degree. In 2001, plaintiff was offered the position of youth advocate for the truant's alternative program, a grant funded program, with a starting salary of approximately $12.67 per hour.

In 2004, defendant hired Brian McGivern as a youth advocate for the truant's alternative program at rate of approximately $21.26 per hour. At the time McGivern was hired he possessed a bachelor's degree in history, had completed fifty-nine hours of graduate work in education, and was certified to teach secondary education classes in the Illinois public school system. McGivern was originally hired by defendant on September 1, 1993, for the youth advocate position. Questions of fact exist, however, as to how long McGivern held that position but during the1997 school year he became employed by defendant as a certified secondary school teacher. While employed as a teacher, his salary was determined by the salary schedule contained in the collective bargaining agreement then in effect.

Sometime in 2007, plaintiff approached Dr. Robert A. Daiber, defendant's regional superintendent, regarding her salary after discovering a pay discrepancy between her pay and McGivern's. Discussions ensued between Dr. Daiber and plaintiff over plaintiff's salary until eventually Dr. Daiber told plaintiff that if she did not like the situation, she could go find another job. On December 1, 2008, plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination based on sex with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), and on May 4, 2009, plaintiff filed an additional charge of discrimination with the EEOC based on retaliation and wage discrimination. On June 8, 2009, Dr. Daiber wrote a letter to plaintiff and McGivern advising them that it was uncertain whether the grant used to fund their positions would be renewed, and if it is, at what level. Accordingly, plaintiff and McGivern were given notice that they would be laid off as of July 1, 2009. On September 25, 2009, Dr. Daiber wrote a letter to plaintiff, informing her that the grant used to fund her position had been approved, but the level of funding was insufficient to permit him to extend her an offer of employment for the 2009-2010 fiscal year. According to Dr. Daiber's affidavit, "[a]t approximately the same time, a letter was sent to [McGivern] informing him that [Truant Alternative Program (TAP)] grant had finally been approved by the State of Illinois and offering [McGivern] a position as a TAP officer for the school year 2009-2010." (Doc. 31-2). At the time plaintiff was last employed as a youth advocate for defendant, she was earning $16.32 per hour, a rate which she accrued over the course of several raises since 2004. Plaintiff also received education benefits during her employment with defendant, specifically defendant made payments to McKendree college for classes plaintiff was taking there.

On February 18, 2010, plaintiff filed a complaint (Doc. 2) against defendant, alleging four counts: 1) sex based discrimination in violation of Title VII; 2) retaliation in violation of Title VII; 3) sex based discrimination in violation of the EPA; and 4) retaliation in violation of the EPA. On April 29, 2010, defendant filed an answer (Doc. 6) to plaintiff's complaint, and on May 17, 2010, defendant filed an amended answer (Doc. 13).

On May 20, 2011, defendant filed a motion for summary judgment (Doc.31) along with a memorandum in support thereof (Doc. 32). Attached to the motion were two affidavits and fourteen exhibits. Exhibit one is the affidavit of Brian McGivern. Exhibit number two is the affidavit of Dr. Daiber. Exhibit three is comprised of the teacher certification records for McGivern; exhibits five through seven contained various of McGivern's files held by defendant; exhibit eight is composed of various communications between superintendent Daiber and plaintiff regarding her termination; exhibit nine contained documents related to education benefits paid to McKendree College for plaintiff ; exhibit ten consisted of documents related to Harry A. Briggs position as regional superintendent of defendant; exhibits eleven through twelve contained various of plaintiff's files held by defendant; the exhibit at document thirty-three is plaintiff's response to defendant's first request to admit; the exhibit at document thirty-four is defendant's first request to admit; the exhibit at document thirty-five is plaintiff's deposition; and the exhibit at document thirty-seven is plaintiff's first response to defendant's first set of interrogatories.

On March 8, 2011, plaintiff filed a response (Doc. 44) to defendant's motion for summary judgment. Attached to plaintiff's response were three exhibits:

1) Exhibit A is Dr. Daiber's deposition; 2) Exhibit B is McGivern's new hire sheet indicating that McGivern was to start September 6, 2004, at a rate of $21.2615 per hour; and 3) Exhibit C is the deposition of Christine Sillery, the manager of personnel services for Madison County. No reply brief was filed.

II. Standard of Review

Summary judgment is appropriate only when "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a judgment as a matter of law." FED. R. CIV. PROC. 56(c). A genuine issue of material fact exists when the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could find for the non-movant. Buscaglia v. United States, 25 F.3d 530, 534 (7th Cir. 1994). The movant in a motion for summary judgment bears the burden of demonstrating the absence of a genuine issue of material fact by specific citation to the record; if the party succeeds in doing so, the burden shifts to the non-movant to set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue of fact for trial. FED. R. CIV. P. 56(c); Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 325 (1986). In considering motions for summary judgment, a court construes all facts and draws all inferences from the record in favor of the nonmoving party. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986).

III. Analysis

Defendant alleges in its motion for summary judgment and memorandum in support thereof that summary judgment should be entered in its favor on all counts brought against it. In making this contention, defendant organized its brief in support of its motion for summary judgment (Doc. 32) by combining its argument for counts I and III together and counts II and IV together. As stated above, plaintiff's count I alleged sex based discrimination in violation of Title VII and count III alleged sex based discrimination in violation of the EPA. Plaintiff's counts II and IV alleged retaliation claims ...


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