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SCHOOL DISTRICT TOWNSHIP MILLCREEK v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (01/20/77)

decided: January 20, 1977.

THE SCHOOL DISTRICT OF THE TOWNSHIP OF MILLCREEK, APPELLANT
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission in case of Linda Jean Richards v. Millcreek School District and John Sandel, Superintendent, Docket No. E-5611-P.

COUNSEL

John W. Beatty, with him Knox, Graham, McLaughlin, Gornall and Sennett, Inc., for appellant.

Katherine H. Fein, Assistant General Counsel, for appellee.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt. Opinion by Judge Crumlish, Jr. Dissenting Opinion by Judge Blatt.

Author: Crumlish, Jr.

[ 28 Pa. Commw. Page 257]

On March 5, 1973, Linda Jean Richards (Complainant) filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (Commission) alleging that Millcreek School District and John Sandel, its Superintendent (Appellants), refused to compensate her with equal supplemental wages as coach of the girls' varsity tennis team while granting the male coach of the boys' varsity tennis team a supplemental wage $300.00/$310.00 higher than Complainant for performing a substantially same or similar job. Complainant further alleged that Appellants discriminate against women as a class in the payment of supplemental wages to female coaches and the number of varsity sports offered female students because of their gender. On September 5, 1973, the complaint was amended to allege a continuing violation. Complainant alleged that these actions violate Section 5(a) of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, Act of October 27, 1955, P.L. 744, as amended, 43 P.S. ยง 951 (Act).

[ 28 Pa. Commw. Page 258]

An investigation into the allegations contained in the complaint was made by representatives of the Commission and a determination was made that probable cause existed to credit the allegations of the complaint. The Commission endeavored to eliminate the unlawful practice complained of by conference, conciliation and persuasion. These endeavors were unsuccessful and, pursuant to Section 9 of the Act, a hearing on the merits of the complaint was convened.

The hearing panel, upon consideration of all of the testimony presented before it by both parties, recommended that the Commission find in favor of Complainant.

The findings of fact entered in this matter are detailed and lengthy and will aid our review. For this reason, we list them as follows:

"Findings of Fact

"1. The Complainant herein is Linda Jean Richards, a female teacher, who resides at 2659 West Sixth Street, Erie.

"2. The Respondent herein is Millcreek School District, Complainant's employer. A second Respondent is John Sandel, Superintendent. No testimony was presented concerning Mr. Sandel. All references to the Respondent are to Millcreek School District.

"3. Complainant has been employed as a teacher by the Respondent at McDowell High School since 1968. For three years, from the fall of 1968 through the spring of 1971, Complainant served as the Coach of the Girls' Tennis Team at McDowell High School when it was an extramural team.

"4. The Girls' Tennis Team became a varsity team as opposed to an extramural team in the 1971-72 school year.

[ 28 Pa. Commw. Page 259]

"5. The Boys' Varsity Tennis Team has been in existence for ten to fifteen years.

"6. Kay Dennis was the first (Head) Coach of the Girls' Varsity Tennis Team in 1971-72. She scheduled eleven matches during the fall and spring of that school year.

"7. Complainant applied for and received the position of Girls' Varsity Tennis (Head) Coach for the 1972-73 and 1973-74 school years.

"8. Complainant did not receive credit for her three years of coaching the extramural team.

"9. Complainant's salary as Girls' Varsity Tennis (Head) Coach was significantly less than the salary of the male head coach of the Boys' Varsity Tennis Team. Complainant received $250 for her first year as opposed to $550 for a first year male coach, a difference of $300. Complainant received $320 for her second year as opposed to $630 for a second year male coach, a difference of $310.

"10. Complainant objected to the salary difference to the School Board and was denied an equalization of salary.

"11. Complainant indicated in writing her continued protest over the unequal salary when she signed her contract for the 1972-73 school year.

"12. All of Complainant's coaching duties were listed in the Coaches' Handbook.

"13. The duties of all of the Head Coaches, both male and female, were the same. All duties were listed on page two of the Coaches' Handbook. Ronald L. Manchester, Supervisor of Physical Education and Athletics, responding for Respondent, told the Commission's Investigator, Kathleen Guinn, that the Head Coach had no duties other than those set forth on page two of the Coaches' Handbook.

"14. Coaches had many other duties in addition to the actual playing of competitive matches.

[ 28 Pa. Commw. Page 260]

"15. Complainant arranged the tennis matches for the 1972-73 school year.

"16. In 1972-73 when Complainant scheduled the tennis matches, the Girls' Varsity Tennis Team played twenty-two matches. Six matches were played in the fall and sixteen matches were played in the spring.

"17. Of the eight teams with whom matches were scheduled in 1972-73, three were played twice, four were played three times and one was played four times.

"18. Only three matches, those against Behrend College, would have been sanctioned under P.I.A.A. rules.

"19. Ronald L. Manchester, Supervisor of Physical Education and Athletics, scheduled the tennis matches ...


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