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CATERPILLAR TRACTOR CO. v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (10/26/83)

decided: October 26, 1983.

CATERPILLAR TRACTOR CO., PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION, RESPONDENT



Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission in case of Henry G. Baynes v. Caterpillar Tractor Company, No. E-16424.

COUNSEL

Jason S. Shapiro, with him J. Thomas Menaker, McNees, Wallace & Nurick, for petitioner.

Michael Hardiman, for respondent.

Judges Rogers, Williams, Jr. and Craig, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 78 Pa. Commw. Page 87]

Caterpillar Tractor Company has filed a petition for review of an order of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission directing that the respondent, Henry Glenn Baynes, be reinstated to his former supervisory

[ 78 Pa. Commw. Page 88]

    position with the petitioner with back salary and benefits. The Commission found that the petitioner's act of demoting the respondent was based on race in violation of Section 5(a) of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (Act), Act of October 27, 1955, P.L. 744, as amended, 43 P.S. ยง 955(a).

The Commission's hearing of the respondent's complaint of discrimination produced little dispute as to the facts. On May 18, 1979, the respondent, who is black, was a salaried production foreman, a first level supervisory position, at the petitioner's York, Pennsylvania, plant. He had been with the company since 1973, having started as a bargaining unit employee at hourly wages. He was promoted to Work Standards Analyst in June, 1977 and to foreman in May, 1978. Before the incident which resulted in his demotion, the respondent had not been accused of any conduct which reflected badly upon his integrity or his dedication to his employer's interests.

The respondent's demotion from foreman to production line worker occurred as a result of his ordering two employees in his charge on the burner tube line to falsify their production reports on May 18, 1979. The falsification consisted of telling one hourly employee, after the machine he was operating had broken down, to wash pieces for another employee, a welder, and to allow the welder to take credit for the washing, although the latter was free to continue his welding activity. Washing pieces is considered direct labor activity, which earns base hour (or production hour) credit, a base hour being the time required to do a particular unit of work. The respondent, however, ordered the first employee to charge the time spent washing to an indirect labor account, for which no base hours are earned.

The charge of time spent on direct labor work to indirect labor accounts results in the reporting of fewer

[ 78 Pa. Commw. Page 89]

    pieces than are actually produced, such that the remainder may be saved and attributed to another day's work. This is called banking, and it was a violation of the employer's base hour integrity standards. In this case, the total amount of time involved in the falsification was nine-tenths of a base hour. The respondent knew that banking was a violation of company policy, but he testified that he did not consider this fact at the time of the incident which led to his demotion because at that time he was suffering from hemorrhoids. When questioned about it later, he fully admitted the dereliction to his superiors.

The Commission found that the respondent had violated the company's base hour integrity standards. It also found as an extenuating circumstance that the respondent was experiencing severe pain from a hemorrhoid condition which shortly after this event was required to be surgically corrected, causing him to be incapacitated for nine weeks. The respondent testified that at the time of the ...


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