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ROBERTSHAW CONTROLS COMPANY v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (07/22/82)

decided: July 22, 1982.

ROBERTSHAW CONTROLS COMPANY, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION ET AL., RESPONDENTS



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission in case of Barbara Jean Cadile v. Robertshaw Controls Company, Indiana Division, No. E-12008-P.

COUNSEL

Martha Hartle Munsch, with her Tracey G. Benson, Reed, Smith, Shaw & McClay, for petitioner.

Ellen M. Doyle, Assistant General Counsel, with her Robert S. Mirin, General Counsel, for respondents.

President Judge Crumlish and Judges Rogers, Blatt, Craig and MacPhail. Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 67 Pa. Commw. Page 614]

In April, 1977, Barbara Jean Cadile filed a complaint with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission (PHRC) alleging a violation of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act*fn1 by Robertshaw Controls Company. Specifically, Ms. Cadile, a welder employed by Robertshaw at its Indiana, Pennsylvania plant, averred that Robertshaw had refused to authorize payment to her and others similarly situated for leave due to disability related to pregnancy and childbirth while granting to other employees payment for periods of disability related to causes other than pregnancy; and that this conduct violated Section 5(a) of the Act, 43 P.S. § 955(a) declaring it to be an unlawful discriminatory practice

For any employer because of the . . . sex . . . of any individual to . . . discriminate against such

[ 67 Pa. Commw. Page 615]

    individual with respect to compensation, hire, tenure, terms, conditions or privileges of employment.

See Anderson v. Upper Bucks County Area Vocational Technical School, 30 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 103, 110, 373 A.2d 126, 130 (1977) allocatur refused May 2, 1978.

On September 15, 1980, a subpoena duces tecum was issued by the PHRC requiring Robertshaw to assemble and produce certain documents including a description of the applicable employee benefit plan and certain employee personnel records assertedly relevant to the Cadile complaint. Robertshaw's objections to the subpoena were dismissed by the PHRC in two orders dated January 26, 1981 and April 6, 1981 and review of these orders is here sought by Robertshaw and addressed to the appellate jurisdiction of this court. At the same time, Robertshaw, invoking our original jurisdiction, filed a "Petition to Quash Subpoena Duces Tecum And To Enjoin Prosecution of PHRC Proceedings" which it asserts is in the nature of an application for the issuance of a writ of prohibition. The PHRC has filed an Answer, New Matter and a Counterclaim asking for enforcement of its subpoena. Robertshaw filed an Answer to the PHRC's New Matter and Counterclaim. Before us are the parties' cross-motions for summary judgment.

Robertshaw's principal contention is that the PHRC is without jurisdiction to act in the matter of the Cadile complaint; its jurisdiction having been preempted by the terms of Section 514 of the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), 29 U.S.C. § 1144. See International Ladies Garment Workers Union v. Human Relations Commission, 53 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 229, 417 A.2d 1279 (1980) (ILGWU). But see Lukus v. ...


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