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O'Donnell v. Caine & Weiner Company, LLC

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

June 15, 2017


          Kevin M. O'Hagan, Jamie L. Filipovic, Ryan T. Benson O'Hagan Meyer, LLC Attorney for Caine & Weiner Company, LLC

          Ernest T. Rosellio ERNEST T. ROSSIELLO & ASSOCIATES, P.C.

          ALONSO JUDGE


         NOW COMES the Defendant, CAINE & WEINER COMPANY, LLC (“Caine Weiner”), by and through its attorneys O'HAGAN MEYER, LLC, and moves this Honorable Court for a Judgment as a Matter of Law under Rule 50(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on Plaintiff's claims for retaliation under Title VII of 1964, 42 USCS § 2000e-3 and the Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. 206(d). In support thereof, Defendant states as follows:


         Patricia O'Donnell (“Plaintiff”) has not shown through any testimony or documents that she had a substantially equal job as John Czapor or Karl Anderson. Besides not showing that her job required equal skill, effort and responsibility as John Czapor and Karl Anderson, she has not shown that she had substantially the same job duties as them. Plaintiff has not shown any evidence that she had sales duties like Karl Anderson or management duties like John Czapor (which are both just one piece of the differences in duties from the evidence at trial). Furthermore, the evidence does not show that Plaintiff has the same skills as these individuals, let alone that her job took the same effort or had the same responsibility level. Finally, the evidence presented lacks any showing of “intent” by Caine Weiner to discriminate against Plaintiff based on her gender regarding the pay she received, which she is required to prove to prevail under a Title VII claim for gender discrimination based on pay.


         A. Rule 50(a) Standard

         Under Rule 50(a), a court should render judgment as a matter of law when “a party has been fully heard on an issue and there is no legally sufficient evidentiary basis for a reasonable jury to find for that party on that issue.” Fed R. Civ. P. 50(a); see also Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Products, Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 120 S.Ct. 2097, 2109, 147 L.Ed.2d 105 (2000).

         “A motion for judgment as a matter of law should be granted only when there can be but one conclusion from the evidence.” Id. at 636 (citation omitted). The Court should apply this standard in reviewing Defendant's arguments for judgment on each count. Roberts v. County of Cook, 01 C 9373, 2004 WL 1088230, at *1 (N.D. Ill. May 12, 2004).

         B. Equal Pay Act Standard

         The Equal Pay Act of 1963, 29 U.S.C. 206(d), prohibits discrimination in wages based on sex. To establish a prima facie case of wage discrimination under the Equal Pay Act, O'Donnell must show that Caine Weiner pays different wages to employees of opposite sexes for equal work on jobs the performance of which require equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions. Stopka v. Alliance of Am. Insurers, 141 F.3d 681, 685 (7th Cir. 1998). “While the work performed by the two employees, or groups of employees, need not be identical, it must be "substantially equal." If the Plaintiff succeeds in proving a prima facie case, the burden shifts to the Defendant to show that any pay differential is justified under one of the Equal Pay Act's four exemptions.” 29 U.S.C.S. § 206(d)(1); Epstein v. Secretary, United States Dep't of Treasury, 739 F.2d 274, 275 (7th Cir. 1984). “These exemptions are (i) a seniority system; (ii) a merit system; (iii) a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or (iv) a differential based on any other factor other than sex. The Equal Pay Act specifies three separate elements that are to be considered in comparing job duties: (1) skill; (2) effort; and (3) responsibility. 29 U.S.C.S. § 206(d)(1). Each of these elements must be met individually to establish a prima facie case.” 29 C.F.R. § 1620.14. Moreover, the jobs must be performed under similar working conditions.” 29 U.S.C.S. § 206(d)(1). Id.

         “Under the Equal Pay Act, skill includes consideration of such factors as experience, training, education, and ability. In the context of the Equal Pay Act, education is a relevant consideration in determining whether disparate salaries exist for reasons other than sex.” Cullen, Cullen v. Ind. Univ. Bd. of Trs., 338 F.3d 693, 695 (7th Cir. 2003).

         “The proper domain of the Equal Pay Act consists of standardized jobs in which a man is paid significantly more than a woman (or anything more, if the jobs are truly identical) and there are no skill differences.” Sims-Fin ...

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