Aldrich v. Randolph Cent. School Dist., No. 335

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit)
Writing for the CourtOAKES; GEORGE C. PRATT
Citation963 F.2d 520
Parties58 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. (BNA) 1373, 30 Wage & Hour Cas. (BNA) 1457, 58 Empl. Prac. Dec. P 41,477, 60 USLW 2719, 121 Lab.Cas. P 35,642, 75 Ed. Law Rep. 139 Cora ALDRICH, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. RANDOLPH CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT and Cattaraugus County Civil Service Commission, Defendants-Appellees. ocket 91-7566.
Decision Date05 May 1992
Docket NumberD,No. 335

Page 520

963 F.2d 520
58 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. (BNA) 1373,
30 Wage & Hour Cas. (BNA) 1457,
58 Empl. Prac. Dec. P 41,477, 60 USLW 2719,
121 Lab.Cas. P 35,642, 75 Ed. Law Rep. 139
Cora ALDRICH, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
RANDOLPH CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT and Cattaraugus County
Civil Service Commission, Defendants-Appellees.
No. 335, Docket 91-7566.
United States Court of Appeals,
Second Circuit.
Argued Oct. 10, 1991.
Decided May 5, 1992.

Page 522

Cheryl Smith Fisher, Buffalo, N.Y. (Magavern & Magavern, of counsel), for plaintiff-appellant.

Anne S. Simet, Buffalo, N.Y. (Hodgson, Russ, Andrews, Woods & Goodyear, of counsel), for defendant-appellee Randolph Cent. School Dist.

Dennis V. Tobolski, Little Valley, N.Y., for defendant-appellee Cattaraugus County Civ. Service Com'n.

Before: OAKES, Chief Judge, NEWMAN and PRATT, Circuit Judges.

OAKES, Chief Judge:

Cora Aldrich appeals from a judgment entered in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York, Richard J. Arcara, Judge, granting summary judgment for defendants Randolph Central School District and Cattaraugus County Civil Service Commission on her claims of sex-based wage discrimination in violation of the Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d) (1988), and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1) (1988), and unlawful retaliation for filing a claim with the New York State Division of Human Rights in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a) (1988). The district court properly granted summary judgment on Aldrich's Title VII claims of sex-based wage discrimination and retaliation. We conclude, however, that the district court erred by holding that defendants' use of the civil service examination and classification system provides a defense to Aldrich's claim under the Equal Pay Act based on the existing record. Accordingly, we reverse in part and remand.

I.

The Randolph Central School District employs cleaners and custodians to maintain the two buildings used by the Randolph Central School System. In making employment decisions, Randolph must comply with local civil service laws administered by the Cattaraugus County Civil Service Commission. The commission establishes job classifications, administers civil service examinations, and prepares eligibility lists for civil service positions.

Cora Aldrich began working as a full-time cleaner in the Randolph Central School District's elementary school in September 1982. The cleaner position is a labor class position. As a result, Randolph may hire anyone it believes can learn to perform the duties of a cleaner in accordance with the job description developed by the commission. All of the cleaners who work in the Randolph Central schools are women.

Aldrich works alongside two male custodians. The custodian position is a competitive position under civil service rules. Applicants for the position must take a civil service examination. Their scores are ranked and placed on an eligibility list. Randolph may only hire custodians from among the top three applicants on the eligibility list. Men and women are equally eligible to apply for custodian and cleaner positions. Custodians are paid higher wages than cleaners.

Aldrich has taken the civil service examination for the custodian position and applied for custodian jobs several times. She has never scored in the top three on the examination, and has never been offered a position as a custodian.

Soon after she began working as a full-time cleaner, Aldrich complained to her supervisor that she was essentially performing

Page 523

the same work as the custodian on staff at the elementary school. When the elementary school principal refused to reclassify her as a custodian, she filed an unsuccessful grievance contesting her classification. Aldrich then filed a job classification questionnaire with the Cattaraugus County Civil Service Commission in order to have her job duties reviewed.

In February 1985, following her unsuccessful appeal of the commission's determination that she was properly classified as a cleaner, Aldrich filed a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights ("NYSDHR") against defendants alleging sex-based wage discrimination because she was performing the work of the male custodians but was classified and paid as a cleaner. After an investigation, the NYSDHR dismissed the complaint.

In September 1985, Aldrich filed another complaint with the NYSDHR and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") alleging that Randolph retaliated against her for filing the February complaint when it did not ask her whether she wanted to work overtime on a weekend prior to the opening of school to clean up after a summer asbestos removal project. In July 1987, the NYSDHR dismissed the complaint. In July 1988, the EEOC issued a letter denying her charge and advising Aldrich of her right to sue.

In October 1988, Aldrich filed this action seeking relief against the Randolph Central School District and the Cattaraugus County Civil Service Commission under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for defendants' alleged sex-based wage discrimination. Aldrich also alleged that Randolph retaliated against her in violation of Title VII for filing a complaint with the NYSDHR.

Upon completion of discovery, defendants moved for summary judgment. On May 8, 1991, the district court granted summary judgment for the defendants, finding as a matter of law that: (1) use of the civil service examination and classification system as a qualification for being hired and paid as a custodian is a complete defense to Aldrich's Title VII claim; (2) the pay differential between custodians and cleaners was based on a "factor other than sex" under the Equal Pay Act--the civil service examination and classification system; (3) plaintiff's failure to submit any additional proof beyond the allegations in her complaint mandated summary judgment on her retaliation claim. Aldrich appeals from this order and the judgment of the district court.

II.

Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56(c) provides that the court shall grant summary judgment when the pleadings, evidence obtained through discovery, and affidavits show that there is no genuine issue of material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. A dispute regarding a material fact is genuine "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 2510, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). The court must resolve all ambiguities and draw all inferences in favor of the nonmoving party in order to determine how a reasonable jury would decide. See Ramseur v. Chase Manhattan Bank, 865 F.2d 460, 465 (2d Cir.1989). "Only when reasonable minds could not differ as to the import of the evidence is summary judgment proper." Bryant v. Maffucci, 923 F.2d 979, 982 (2d Cir.), cert. denied, --- U.S. ----, 112 S.Ct. 152, 116 L.Ed.2d 117 (1991). In resolving the issues raised on appeal from a grant of summary judgment, "we review the record de novo to determine whether there are genuine issues of material fact requiring a trial." Id.

III.

"What we seek is to insure, where men and women are doing the same job under the same working conditions that they will receive the same pay." 109 Cong.Rec. 9196 (1963) (statement of Rep. Frelinghuysen). In 1963, Congress enacted the Equal Pay Act ("EPA") to carry out this broad mandate. The Act prohibits employers from discriminating between employees

Page 524

on the basis of sex by paying higher wages to members of the opposite sex for "equal work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions." 29 U.S.C. § 206(d)(1) (1988).

In order to prove a violation of the EPA, a plaintiff must first establish a prima facie case of wage discrimination by demonstrating that: (1) the employer pays different wages to employees of the opposite sex; (2) the employees perform equal work on jobs requiring equal skill, effort, and responsibility; (3) the jobs are performed under similar working conditions. Corning Glass Works v. Brennan, 417 U.S. 188, 195, 94 S.Ct. 2223, 2228, 41 L.Ed.2d 1 (1974). Once the plaintiff makes out a prima facie case, the burden shifts to the employer to justify the wage differential by proving that the disparity results from: "(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." 29 U.S.C. § 206(d)(1); see also Corning, 417 U.S. at 196, 94 S.Ct. at 2229.

The school district argues that the "burden under the Equal Pay Act was simply to show that a factor other than sex accounted for the pay differential. [Appellees] did that when they showed that a qualification for being appointed to the higher paying position was ranking third or higher on the examination."

In granting summary judgment for the defendants on Aldrich's EPA claim, the district court agreed with the school district and the commission, concluding that "[e]ven if the plaintiff could prove that she is being forced to perform the same duties as the male custodians, a proposition for which there is no support in the record, the simple fact is that the pay differential between custodians and cleaners is based on a factor other than sex, i.e., the civil service examination."

Aldrich argues that the district court erred by holding that the civil service classification system is a factor-other-than-sex for purposes of the EPA and, therefore, a complete defense to the wage differential between Aldrich and her male counterparts.

We have not yet faced the question under what circumstances a civil service classification system qualifies as a factor-other-than-sex.

A.

We turn first to the district court's conclusion that the...

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    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
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    ...; Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 158–59, 90 S.Ct. 1598, 26 L.Ed.2d 142 (1970) ; see also Aldrich v. Randolph Cent. Sch. Dist., 963 F.2d 520, 523 (2d Cir.1992) (court is required to “resolve all ambiguities and draw all inferences in favor of the nonmoving party”). When a motion ......
  • Carey v. Maloney, Civil No. 3:04-CV-606(CFD).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • March 30, 2007
    ...in favor of the nonmoving party in order to determine how a reasonable jury would decide." Aldrich v. Randolph Cent. Sch. Dist., 963 F.2d 520, 523 (2d Cir.1992). Thus, "[o]nly when reasonable minds could not differ as to the import of the evidence is summary judgment proper." Maffucci, 923 ......
  • Downing v. West Haven Board of Ed., No. Civ. A. 3:00CV525 (SRU).
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    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • August 24, 2001
    ...Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 158-59, 90 S.Ct. 1598, 26 L.Ed.2d 142 (1970); see also Aldrich v. Randolph Cent. Sch. Dist., 963 F.2d 520, 523 (2d Cir.) (court is required to "resolve all ambiguities and draw all inferences in favor of the nonmoving party"), cert. denied, 506 U.S......
  • Zandhri v. Dortenzio, No. CIV.A.3:99 CV 1776 (CFD).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • October 31, 2002
    ..."`if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.'" Aldrich v. Randolph Cent. Sch. Dist., 963 F.2d 520, 523 (2d Cir.1992) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505), cert. denied, 506 U.S. 965, 113 S.Ct. 440, 121 L.Ed.2d 359 (1992). Af......
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569 cases
  • Harleysville Worcester Ins. Co. v. Paramount Concrete, Inc., No. 3:11cv578SRU.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • March 31, 2014
    ...; Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 158–59, 90 S.Ct. 1598, 26 L.Ed.2d 142 (1970) ; see also Aldrich v. Randolph Cent. Sch. Dist., 963 F.2d 520, 523 (2d Cir.1992) (court is required to “resolve all ambiguities and draw all inferences in favor of the nonmoving party”). When a motion ......
  • Carey v. Maloney, Civil No. 3:04-CV-606(CFD).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • March 30, 2007
    ...in favor of the nonmoving party in order to determine how a reasonable jury would decide." Aldrich v. Randolph Cent. Sch. Dist., 963 F.2d 520, 523 (2d Cir.1992). Thus, "[o]nly when reasonable minds could not differ as to the import of the evidence is summary judgment proper." Maffucci, 923 ......
  • Downing v. West Haven Board of Ed., No. Civ. A. 3:00CV525 (SRU).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • August 24, 2001
    ...Adickes v. S.H. Kress & Co., 398 U.S. 144, 158-59, 90 S.Ct. 1598, 26 L.Ed.2d 142 (1970); see also Aldrich v. Randolph Cent. Sch. Dist., 963 F.2d 520, 523 (2d Cir.) (court is required to "resolve all ambiguities and draw all inferences in favor of the nonmoving party"), cert. denied, 506 U.S......
  • Zandhri v. Dortenzio, No. CIV.A.3:99 CV 1776 (CFD).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Connecticut)
    • October 31, 2002
    ..."`if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.'" Aldrich v. Randolph Cent. Sch. Dist., 963 F.2d 520, 523 (2d Cir.1992) (quoting Anderson, 477 U.S. at 248, 106 S.Ct. 2505), cert. denied, 506 U.S. 965, 113 S.Ct. 440, 121 L.Ed.2d 359 (1992). Af......
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3 firm's commentaries
1 books & journal articles
  • Three Decades of Experience with the Equal Pay Act
    • United States
    • Review of Public Personnel Administration Nbr. 13-4, October 1993
    • October 1, 1993
    ...policies among the circuits is untenable over an extended period oftime. ReferencesAldrich v. Randolph Central School District 9 (1992). 963 F.2d 520.Alexander v. University of Michigan-Flint (1980). 509 F. Supp. 627American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees v. Nassau Cou......

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