Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Kling v. Montgomery County

United States District Court, D. Maryland, Southern Division

June 22, 2018

BLANCA KLING, Plaintiff,
v.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MARYLAND, Defendant.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          Paul W. Grimm United States District Judge.

         The Equal Pay Act (“EPA”), 29 U.S.C. § 206(d), prohibits employers from paying an employee less than an employee of the other sex “for performing work substantially equal in skill, effort, and responsibility.” Strag v. Bd. of Trs., Craven Cmty. Coll., 55 F.3d 943, 948 (4th Cir. 1995) (quoting Houck v. Va. Polytechnic Inst., 10 F.3d 204, 206 (4th Cir. 1993)). “The touchstone of the equal work analysis is whether the work is ‘substantially equal.'” Hassman v. Valley Motors, Inc., 790 F.Supp. 564, 567 (D. Md. 1992). Blanca Kling filed suit against her employer, Montgomery County (the “County”), claiming that it violated the EPA by paying her less than a male employee, Luis Martinez, earned for performing substantially equal work. Compl., ECF No. 1; Am. Compl., ECF No. 13. The County has moved for summary judgment, arguing that Mr. Martinez's work is not substantially equal. Def.'s Mot. & Mem. 2, ECF No. 44.[1]

         In her Opposition, Ms. Kling insists that she is comparing her current work to Mr. Martinez's work years earlier, when he was hired at a higher pay grade and already earned more than she does now but before his job evolved to the position he holds today. Pl.'s Opp'n 1, 10- 11, ECF No. 47. An employee should be able to serve as the comparator based on his work and salary during an earlier time period, even when that employee was not the plaintiff's predecessor, provided that his work was substantially equal. On the record before me, however, a reasonable factfinder could not find that the work Mr. Martinez actually performed previously, while earning a higher salary than Ms. Kling later earned, was substantially equal to the work Ms. Kling now performs. Moreover, the County has identified undisputed evidence from which the only conclusion a rational jury could reach is that the County's reasoning for paying Mr. Martinez more for his work during the time period in question-not because of his sex, but because of his educational background, professional experience as a teacher and professor, and the nature of the tasks he was required to perform-indeed does explain why Ms. Kling was paid less. Accordingly, I will grant the County's Motion, enter judgment in the County's favor, and close this case.

         Background

         Blanca Kling, a Montgomery County employee since 1980, began serving as the “Hispanic Liaison” for the Montgomery County Police Department (“Police Department”) in August 2005. Kling Answers to Interrogs., JE 136-37. At the time, she had been working for the County as a Client Assistant Specialist (Grade 20); her official title remained the same, and she was not given a new job description for her new role. May 7, 2013 Reclassification Mem., JE 449; Pluchinski Dep. 33, JE 721; Kling Dep. 86-87, JE 45. She describes the work she performs as Hispanic Liaison as follows:

Blanca Kling's Responsibilities
Conducts effective outreach by employing a variety of means to achieve goal of getting message across to the Hispanic community. This includes:
• disseminating information about police programs to the Hispanic community;
• serving as the Police Department spokesperson to the Hispanic media outlets;
• promoting Police Department enforcement campaigns to the media;
• coordinating and planning press conferences;
• arranging interviews between the Police Department and the media;
• producing radio and television programs to bring information to the community about different Police Department services and other community issues;
• representing the Police Department on committees and before the public;
• attending meetings hosted by the school system, faith based organizations, and other groups to speak about issues like internet safety, using 9-1-1, and bullying; and
• building trusting partnerships with the Hispanic community so information on crimes may be given anonymously or confidentially.
Ensures that the outreach strategies contribute to the Department's goals, and adapts these strategies to meet the new and changing needs of the Police Department. Coaches Police Officers to be interview in TV, print and radio stations Promotes Police Department enforcement campaigns to the Hispanic media, and works with various County agencies to promote their different events and activities. Advertises and encourages participation in these events via radio, television, and print media.
Works with and assist officers in the Police Department, including the Chief, to arrange interviews with the Hispanic media, including to understand police roles and current information.
Ensures Police Department representation and active participation on well-established network and coalition groups to promote information sharing between the Police Department and the Hispanic community. This includes:
• disseminating information about police programs that benefits the relationship between the Hispanic community and Police Department, such as the recruitment of police officers, the Police Ride-Along Program, and the Police Explorer Program;
• working with department and agency representatives to plan programs, services, and events for the Hispanic community on behalf of the Department;
• working with the Hispanic Liaison for the County Executive and the Office of the County Public Information Office to disseminate information about a new Violent Crime Law;
• attending meetings hosted by the school system, faith based organizations, and the Literacy Council of Montgomery County, and many other groups to speak about issues like bullying, domestic violence, and gangs;
• creating the monthly agenda for the Chief of Police for his Latino Liaison Committee; and
constantly communicating with leaders who attend the Latino Liaison Creates, plans, and produces Hispanic educational radio and television program and public service announcements. Creates informational materials for print and broadcast media, departments, and agencies. Trains and coaches officers attending radio and TV interview.
Utilizes bilingual and bicultural skills to assist in all aspects of linguistic and cultural competency initiatives undertaken by the Police Department. This includes:
• assisting officers and detectives in their investigations because of the language barrier and difficulty obtaining cooperation from Hispanic victims;
• assisting detectives with an investigation of an Immigration scam targeting undocumented, Hispanic victims, and a loan and mortgage scam involving 20 Hispanic victims;
• responding to requests for information from all media sources;
• coordinating publicity for Hispanic press conferences and special events; and
• disseminating information to viewers via radio and television programs. Performs other assignments and duties as requested by the supervisor to meet the strategic goals and ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.