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AQUINO v. SOMMER MAID CREAMERY

July 26, 1988

HELEN AQUINO and RAY AQUINO
v.
SOMMER MAID CREAMERY, INC.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SHAPIRO

 NORMA L. SHAPIRO, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 Following a non-jury trial held July 5-8, 1988, the court makes the following findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 52(a).

 Findings of Fact

 1. Helen Aquino was hired by Sommer Maid Creamery, Inc. ("Sommer Maid") in July, 1981, as a butter packer.

 2. Frank Sexton is, and at all relevant times was, President of Sommer Maid.

 4. Ed Diehl is, and at all relevant times was, day shift Supervisor at Sommer Maid. Part of his job was to inspect the butter produced by machine operators.

 5. At all relevant times the night shift Supervisor at Sommer Maid was Gary Cooper.

 6. Helen Aquino was considered an excellent employee by Sommer Maid until the spring and summer of 1984.

 7. In January, 1984, Helen Aquino was promoted to day shift machine operator.

 8. At this time, Helen Aquino was one of two female machine operators at Sommer Maid. The other operator, Marjorie Cooper, was the wife of Gary Cooper, the night Supervisor.

 9. In July, 1984, Helen Aquino asked to be assigned to night shift. This request was motivated, in part, by Mrs. Aquino's desire to avoid sexual harassment by day shift Supervisor, Ed Diehl.

 10. Helen Aquino had already complained to Harry Mattern about Ed Diehl's sexually suggestive remarks and actions, but Harry Mattern had done nothing to remedy the situation.

 11. Helen Aquino was transferred to night shift in early July, 1984 and worked one full week as a night shift machine operator prior to being hospitalized for surgery. As a night shift machine operator she was entitled to receive a $.25 per hour differential in pay.

 12. On July 17, 1984, Helen Aquino underwent surgery for removal of an ovarian cyst.

 13. Sommer Maid was aware that Helen Aquino had been hospitalized for surgery and had been ordered by her doctor not to work during the recuperation period.

 14. Upon her return to work on August 14, 1984, Helen Aquino received a written reprimand, dated August 9, 1984 and signed by Harry Mattern, concerning her absence and attitude. Jerry Peffer, a Sommer Maid employee who had previously undergone abdominal surgery, did not receive such a reprimand.

 15. Helen Aquino signed the reprimand letter to acknowledge receiving it.

 16. When Helen Aquino returned to work at Sommer Maid on August 14, 1984, her position was changed from night shift machine operator to a lower paying day shift job as a packer at $ 6.25 an hour. No explanation was provided for this demotion.

 17. As a day shift packer, Helen Aquino was again supervised by Ed Diehl.

 18. After Helen Aquino returned to work on August 14, 1984, the sexual harassment by Ed Diehl continued.

 19. On at least one occasion during 1984, Ed Diehl picked up Helen Aquino and placed her on a skid of boxes. This incident was observed by other Sommer Maid employees, Chris Huber and Steve Siefert.

 20. On another occasion, Earl Fiebig, an independent truck driver, saw Ed Diehl touch Helen Aquino's buttocks.

 21. On August 28, 1984, Helen Aquino filed complaint #E-30420 with the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission ("PHRC"), in which she alleged sexual harassment.

 22. Helen Aquino, accompanied by her husband, Ray Aquino, but without an attorney, attended a conciliation meeting at the PHRC on September 24, 1984, along with representatives of Sommer Maid including Frank Sexton, Harry Mattern, Ed Diehl and House General Counsel Charles Halpin, Jr.

 23. Helen Aquino and Sommer Maid President Frank Sexton signed a Respondent-Claimant Agreement on September 24, 1984 at the PHRC.

 24. In the Respondent-Claimant Agreement, Sommer Maid agreed to return Helen Aquino to her former position of machine operator at the current rate of pay, effective September 25, 1984.

 25. Sommer Maid also agreed to train Helen Aquino to operate the quarter-pound machine, to reassign her to night shift on or about November 1, 1984, and to pay her $ 120.00.

 27. Sommer Maid paid Helen Aquino the $ 120.00 required by the Respondent-Claimant Agreement.

 28. From September 25, 1984 until October 29, 1984, Helen Aquino worked as a machine operator on day shift.

 29. During this time, Ed Diehl checked Helen Aquino's work production more frequently than that of any other employee.

 30. On October 30, 1984, Helen Aquino was reassigned to night shift in accordance with the Respondent-Claimant Agreement.

 31. Even after Helen Aquino was transferred to night shift, Ed Diehl would arrive at the plant early and check her butter production.

 32. On many occasions, Frank Sexton was present and observed the employees in the print room where butter was packaged. Although there is no corroborating evidence that he stared at any particular employee, Helen ...


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