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Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Enoch Pratt Free Library

United States District Court, D. Maryland

October 30, 2019

EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Plaintiff,
v.
ENOCH PRATT FREE LIBRARY, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION

          Stephanie A. Gallagher, United States District Judge.

         The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) brought this action against Defendants Enoch Pratt Free Library (“Enoch Pratt”) and the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore (collectively “Defendants”), alleging a violation of the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (“EPA”), 29 U.S.C. § 206(d)(1). ECF 1. Discovery is now complete, and the parties have filed cross-motions for summary judgment. ECF 56, 57. I have reviewed those filings, and the associated oppositions and replies. ECF 58, 59. No. hearing is necessary. See Loc. R. 105.6 (D. Md. 2018). For the reasons stated below, both motions will be denied.

         I. FACTUAL BACKGROUND

         The parties have stipulated to many of the relevant facts in this case, ECF 56-3, and the other relevant facts are largely uncontested. Willie Johnson first began working at Enoch Pratt on August 10, 1998, as a security officer. Id. ¶ 1; ECF 56-19 at 15:8-9. After some temporary service as a branch manager, Johnson received a formal promotion to Librarian Supervisor I (“LSI”) in October, 2006. ECF 56-3 ¶ 2. In FY 2013, Johnson's salary ($56, 500) was more than $2000 below the salaries paid to the female LSIs represented by the EEOC in this case. Id. ¶ 24-29 (reflecting salaries for the female employees for FY 2013 ranging from $59, 300 to $63, 900).

         Specifically, Ann Marie Harvey began working for Enoch Pratt on March 10, 1997. Id. ¶ 9. She was promoted to LSI on January 7, 2002. Id. ¶ 10. Her salary for FY 2015 was $62, 900 and, for FY 2016, $64, 200. Id. ¶¶ 36, 42. Carlotta Young began working for Enoch Pratt on August 26, 1989, and was promoted to LSI effective January 28, 2008. Id. ¶¶ 11-12. Her salary for FY 2015 was $64, 500, and, for FY 2016, $65, 800. Id. ¶¶ 37, 43. Nancy Yob, who began working for Enoch Pratt on November 3, 1997, was promoted to LSI in August, 2004. Id. ¶¶ 13-14. She received a salary for FY 2015 of $62, 900 and, for FY 2016, $64, 200. Id. ¶¶ 38, 44. Linda Schwartz began working for Enoch Pratt on July 23, 1979, and became an LSI in September, 1994. Id. ¶¶ 15-16. She received a salary of $65, 200 in FY 2014, and $67, 800 in FY 2015. Id. ¶¶ 33, 39. Julie Johnson was hired at Enoch Pratt on January 1, 1990, and became an LSI on January 2, 2002. Id. ¶¶ 17-18. She was paid $60, 500 in FY 2014, $62, 900 in FY 2015, and $64, 200 in FY 2016. Id. ¶¶ 34, 40, 45. All of the female LSIs listed above remained employees of Enoch Pratt throughout their tenure.

         The job postings for LSI positions have, over time, contained identical requirements in terms of education and work experience. ECF 56-6 - 56-11. The job postings also contain similar, though not identical, summaries of the duties of the positions. Id. Enoch Pratt includes twenty-one different neighborhood library locations, plus a mobile services unit. ECF 56-1 at 3. Nineteen of the neighborhood branches, and the mobile services unit, are staffed with LSIs who effectively serve as “branch managers.” Id. The nineteen different branches have varying numbers of branch staff, varying support from community volunteers, varying numbers of part-time or contractual summer workers, and varying size and building footage. ECF 57-16, Exh. 5 at 290-94. One branch, the Southeast Anchor branch, has both a LSI and a Library Supervisor II (LSII). Id. at 295 (“For right now, Nancy Yob is, essentially, the Assistant Branch Manager at the Southeast Anchor Branch Library.”).

         The five female LSIs represented by the EEOC submitted declarations, using parallel formats, to describe the core duties of their positions. See ECF 56-4 ¶ 8; ECF 56-5 ¶ 8; ECF 56-65 ¶ 7; ECF 56-66 ¶ 10; ECF 56-67 ¶ 10. Each stated that they have had opportunities to observe other LSIs' duties, including Johnson's, and that they shared the core duties. See ECF 56-4 ¶ 9-10; ECF 56-5 ¶ 9-10; ECF 56-65 ¶ 8-9; ECF 56-66 ¶ 11-12; ECF 56-67 ¶ 11-13.

         Vera Fattah, a LSII that supervises LSIs, testified that the core duties of the LSI position constituted “key components of our work and like minimum requirements of the job.” ECF 57-16 at 281:3-5. In addition to the core duties, Fattah testified about the varying duties and work conditions at the various branches she supervises, and the differences with the job performed by the LSI in the mobile outreach unit, which she also supervised. See, e.g., id. at 100.

         Similarly, Herbert Malveaux, who serves as Assistant Chief to NLS, testified with respect to the job postings that LSI is “a job that I think really has so many aspects to it on a regular basis. This is a summary. So, we are not expecting it to say everything. These things are things that we could announce to a potential candidate that they do on a regular basis. It just doesn't cover everything.” ECF 57-17 at 47:2-8. Further, he said, “I see the duties of the branch manager as being - there is a set of duties I am expecting them to do, and may expand or detract depending on the size of the community they are serving, the demands of the library patrons, and the public, the size of the building, the size of the staff.” Id. at 4-10. He clarified that, “the position of Librarian Supervisor I is, essentially, the same position, but you would encounter different responsibilities enlarged by their staff, their building, their response to the community . . . In reality, we are expecting more from certain staff and certain buildings to fulfill this role.” ECF 57-17 at 12-20.

         The uncontroverted evidence reflects that salaries for LSIs are not based upon their branch location. See ECF 22 ¶ 12(f)(6); Anderson Dep., ECF 56-20 at 49 (explaining LSI salaries do not change if transferred between branches); Malveaux Dep., ECF 56-18 at 110:9-20

         Johnson resigned his LSI position to accept a position in the Cecil County public library system, in February, 2014. ECF 56-3 ¶¶ 3, 4, 8. During his sixteen-month tenure in Cecil County, Johnson worked as the Branch Manager of the main branch in Cecil County, which had a much larger circulation staff than the Enoch Pratt Branches. ECF 56-19 at 69:9-17. In fact, in Cecil County, Johnson supervised approximately seventeen employees, whereas a typical LSI supervises far fewer. ECF 56-19 at 152:6-14. For about 5-6 months, Johnson served as acting Assistant Director for the entire Cecil County Public Library System. Id. at 88. He received a corresponding salary increase during that stint. ECF 57-1 at 4. Despite the experience Johnson gained in Cecil County, he grew to believe that co-workers and library patrons in that system were racist, and he sought to return to Enoch Pratt. ECF 56-19 at 88:4-93:11.

         Johnson called Eunice Anderson, the then-Chief of Neighborhood Library Services (“NLS”) at Enoch Pratt, to discuss the possibility of returning. ECF 57-11 at 79:1-80:11. During one of several phone calls, Johnson and Anderson discussed the possibility of him returning to fill a position that was not yet vacant and had not been posted. ECF 56-1 at 4. Johnson was not required to submit an application or undergo an interview process. Id.

         As of July 1, 2014, Defendants used the Managerial and Professional Society Salary Policy (“MAPS”) system to determine compensation for newly hired LSIs. ECF 22 at 12(f), ECF 57-13. That policy provides, for new hires:

Upon initial appointment, an employee shall be paid at least the minimum salary of the salary range to which the employee has been appointed. An Agency may negotiate a starting base pay up to the mid-point of the assigned salary range. An Agency shall not offer a candidate a ...

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