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NOVOTNY v. GREAT AMERICAN FED. S&L ASSN.

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT, WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA


May 17, 1982

John R. NOVOTNY, Plaintiff,
v.
GREAT AMERICAN FEDERAL SAVINGS & LOAN ASSOCIATION, Defendant; Betty BATIS and Shirley Flockhart, Plaintiffs, v. GREAT AMERICAN FEDERAL SAVINGS & LOAN ASSOCIATION, Defendant

The opinion of the court was delivered by: COHILL

I.

Introduction

 These two cases were combined for trial, since they arose out of the same factual background and occurrences. Plaintiffs Betty Batis ("Batis") and Shirley Flockhart ("Flockhart") filed various employment-related sex discrimination charges against their employer, Great American Federal Savings & Loan Association (the "Association") under section 703 of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2. In the other case, plaintiff John R. Novotny ("Novotny") filed charges against the Association under section 704 of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a) *fn1" , alleging that the Association discriminated against him because he had sided with Batis and Flockhart in their dispute with the Association. *fn2"

  We conducted a non-jury trial lasting eleven days and heard the testimony of twenty-three witnesses. We will enter judgment for the defendant and against all of the plaintiffs. In accordance with Rule 52 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, we now make findings of fact and conclusions of law.

 II.

 Findings of Fact

 1. Background

 At the time of the events leading to these charges, Novotny was secretary of the Association and also a member of its board of directors; Batis was assistant treasurer and had just been transferred (she asserts "demoted") from the position of head teller to that of savings counselor; Flockhart was a clerk/typist/secretary.

 The transfer of Batis from head teller to savings counselor, which she shall subsequently describe in detail, was the event which we believe led to the filing of the various charges by the plaintiffs in these cases, although other factors were also involved.

 The Association was founded in 1914 as a club, with a fund of $ 250, put up by several people of Slovak background. They used to meet weekly in the Slovak Literary Club in Homestead, a suburb of Pittsburgh, and operated as a self-help group, soliciting other Slovaks to give money in pledges to lend to other Slovaks. During those early years it was called the "1st Slovak Building & Loan Association."

 The members elected someone each year to supervise the affairs of the Association, but it had no paid employees and did not really become a business until March, 1937, when it received a federal charter and was renamed "1st Federal Savings & Loan Association of Homestead." In 1975 it became "Great American Federal Savings & Loan Association."

 Until about 1976 it remained basically a small, neighborhood savings and loan association with its home office in Homestead. It also had started branch offices in neighboring McKeesport (in 1955), Braddock and Clairton (both established in 1957). The Braddock office later was moved to Forest Hills. Steelworkers, their families and local businessmen kept their savings and obtained their mortgages there; it continued to cater particularly to customers of Eastern European extraction. In the mid "70's a decision was made to attempt to shed the local image, and increase the number of offices; hence the change of name in 1975. In 1976 the Association opened another branch in New Stanton, and in 1978 one in Elizabeth, both nearby towns.

 Management was rather informal. There was a board of directors which elected someone each year to manage the affairs of the Association. The board consisted of the fifteen men who originated the 1st Slovak Building & Loan Association. Mary V. Lane was the first full-time employee of the Association. She started work around 1937 and stayed on until her retirement on December 31, 1977. Stephen Straka, secretary of the Association, represented management at the time of Mrs. Lane's hiring. Despite his volunteer status, Straka came to the Homestead office every day. Daniel T. Kubasak, its present president, was the second full-time employee, hired in December, 1940. Mrs. Lane taught him about the business, and the two of them operated it under Straka's supervision until Kubasak entered the Army in 1943. Upon his release in July, 1946, he returned to the Association. By then there were ten or twelve employees. Kubasak's tenure was again interrupted when he was recalled into the Army during the Korean conflict. He served in the Army this time from November, 1950 to July, 1952.

 Beginning in 1946, the board started holding an annual election at which they chose a president, secretary and treasurer; not until 1976 did the board create the office of vice president. There was little job-related movement by the officers; they served until they retired or died. A chart of those who held the top offices looks like this: 1946-1952 President: Michael Schram (died 1952) Secretary: Frank Mosley (died 1952) Treasurer: James E. Orris 1952-1960 President: Wendel Platak (died 1960) Secretary & Treasurer: James E. Orris 1960-1973 President: James E. Orris (retired 1973) Secretary: Daniel T. Kubasak Treasurer: John Novotny (plaintiff) 1973-1975 President: Daniel T. Kubasak Secretary: John Novotny (not reelected 1975) Treasurer: John Micenko 1975-1976 President: Daniel T. Kubasak Secretary: John Micenko Treasurer: Andrew Getsy

19820517

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