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GOODWIN v. CITY OF PITTSBURGH

November 5, 1979

WILLIAM LEWIS GOODWIN, III, Plaintiff
v.
CITY OF PITTSBURGH, Defendant



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SNYDER

This matter, originally assigned to the Honorable John L. Miller of this Court, now deceased, came on for determination in a bench trial. After consideration of the briefs and testimony, we will enter judgment for the Plaintiff in this racial discrimination suit for lost wages.

FINDINGS OF FACT

 1. Plaintiff, William Lewis Goodwin, III, is a black citizen of the United States and a resident of the Western District of Pennsylvania.

 2. Defendant, City of Pittsburgh, employs in excess of 15 employees and is an employer within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 2000e(b).

 3. The City of Pittsburgh is a person within the meaning of 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

 5. The Justice Department issued two right-to-sue letters to Goodwin in response to general requests from Goodwin's then counsel for authorization to initiate litigation. *fn1" Suit was timely filed on September 9, 1976, and amended to include the charge of retaliation and harassment.

 6. Goodwin was hired by the City on March 17, 1975 under the Comprehensive Employment Training Act Program (CETA), 29 U.S.C. § 801 Et seq., and was assigned to the Traffic Control Division Shop, Department of Public Works, located at 27th Street and Liberty Avenue. He was interviewed by James Kristiansen, Assistant Director for Operations of the Department of Public Works and, having prior experience, was hired as a PEP Supervisor (Electrician I). *fn2" He was promised a pay rate of $ 5.19 per hour, effective immediately.

 7. Goodwin was mistakenly classified as a PEP Enrollee (Laborer) at the pay rate of $ 3.45 per hour.

 8. Immediately after he received his first pay, Goodwin made objection concerning his wages. He first asked various Public Works' personnel, including his Foreman, Richard Smith, about it, then, his Shop Supervisor, Raymond Kennedy, and, finally, James Kristiansen. He also spoke with City CETA officials, including Raymond Flaugher.

 9. In March 1975, the City hired a second black electrician, Jerry Lawson. Like Goodwin, Lawson was hired under the CETA Program, assigned to the Traffic Control Shop, and began his employment at Laborer wages.

 10. After waiting several weeks to receive his retroactive pay, Goodwin again contacted Raymond Flaugher for some explanation, and was informed he had been hired subject to a probationary period. Believing this to be false, Goodwin contacted Kristiansen for further explanation but was informed by Kristiansen that he had received his full and final explanation from Flaugher.

 11. In April 1975, the City hired three white electricians under the CETA Program and assigned them to the Traffic Control Shop. Unlike Goodwin and Lawson, these men began their employment at Electrician I wages.

 12. In April 1975, after considerable difficulty, Goodwin's wages were increased to the Electrician I rate. However, he did not receive a retroactive payment.

 13. Still without his retroactive pay, and realizing the three white Electricians had been hired without a probationary period, Goodwin filed his first charge with the EEOC on May 19, 1975, including Lawson therein.

 14. On July 8, 1975, Goodwin finally received a retroactive pay check, which he believed compensated him for all but one week of the wages due him. Overtime work complicated Goodwin's understanding of his wages.

 15. Shortly after Charge 1 was filed, Goodwin received a call from Flaugher asking him to withdraw the EEOC charge. Several days later, Kristiansen made a similar request. On both occasions, Goodwin stated he would not consider withdrawing the charge.

 16. From the time of these conversations with City officials about his first charge with the EEOC until late in January 1976, Goodwin had no contact with any City official about his, or anyone else's wage rates. Throughout this period, Goodwin discharged his duties in a competent manner, twice receiving satisfactory job performance evaluations.

 17. On or about September 22, 1975, Goodwin changed from day shift to the 4 P.M. to 12 A.M. shift, at his own request, so he could pursue a course of study during the day.

 18. On February 24, 1976, Goodwin signed a conciliation agreement at the Office of the EEOC on Charge 1 in which he mistakenly admitted that he had been compensated for all of the back pay to which he was entitled, although overtime pay was still in dispute.

 19. At approximately 9 P.M. on February 24, 1976, Goodwin received a series of phone calls from a white Traffic Control Dispatcher, Frank McDonough, who worked in the City-County Building. During the last call, McDonough, who had a known history of antagonism toward CETA employees, particularly minority workers, berated Goodwin by calling him a "scab, a nigger and PEP prick". In response to this unprovoked personal attack, Goodwin left his job site to get some kind of explanation from McDonough or his supervisor. A heated verbal exchange followed which resulted in City Police and Fire Officers being summoned ...


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