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BYRNES v. HERION

May 24, 1991

KATHLEEN BYRNES, PLAINTIFF,
v.
HERION, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lee, District Judge.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

On February 20, 1990, plaintiff filed her Complaint against defendant, Herion, Inc., alleging defendant discriminated against her by violating her rights under Title VII and the Equal Pay Act. 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1) and 29 U.S.C. § 206(d)(1).

On September 18, 1990, following the close of discovery, defendant filed its Motion for Summary Judgment pursuant to Rule 56(b) of the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure. The Court granted defendant's Motion, in part, determining that plaintiff's Title VII claim was time-barred. Plaintiff's remaining claim under the Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d)(1), proceeded to a non-jury trial on October 15, 1990.

FINDINGS OF FACT

1. Plaintiff, Kathleen Byrnes, age 28, is a 1985 graduate of Edinboro University from which she holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in accounting and a minor in computer science.

2. Immediately following her graduation, Plaintiff began her accounting career by assuming the position of auditor of student accounts with the University of Pittsburgh at an annual salary of $12,000.00 per year. Plaintiff also worked for the public accounting firm of Chamberlin Shaffer for a two month period prior to becoming employed by defendant.

3. Defendant's former Chief Accountant/Controller, David Grayson, (Grayson) was the holder of a Bachelor of Science degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a concentration in the field of Accounting. Grayson also attended Point Park College from which he attained a Master of Science degree in Computer Science. Parenthetically, we note defendant's titles of Controller and Chief Accountant are used interchangeably and they apply only to Grayson during his tenure with defendant.

4. Grayson had been Chief Accountant/Controller for defendant from February, 1982, through October, 1987, at which time he resigned his position. Grayson's duties for defendant during this period was to provide professional accounting services as Chief Accountant/Controller for defendant Herion and its related company, Benton. Benton is not a part of this litigation.

5. Plaintiff interviewed with defendant for the position of staff accountant in early March of 1987. At the time, defendant's accounting staff consisted of two positions, one held by Susan Best and the vacant position for which plaintiff was interviewing. A third accounting position was held by Dennis Collins who performed accounting functions for Benton. Collins' work was independent from that of defendant.

6. Grayson took part in the interview process and recommended that plaintiff be hired for the accounting position at a starting salary between $15,600 and $16,000. On March 23, 1987, defendant's president, Anton Bouvier, hired plaintiff to serve as defendant's staff accountant at an annual salary of $16,000.00.

7. Grayson left the employ of defendant on or about October of 1987 leaving a vacancy in the position of Chief Accountant/Controller.

8. Plaintiff did not formally apply for the Chief Accountant/Controller position because she believed she was not with defendant long enough to apply for the position.

9. During the approximate one month period between Grayson's departure and the hiring of his successor, plaintiff performed a portion of Grayson's duties including a month end closing, preparation of the month end closing, and the posting of all journal entries. During this period, plaintiff reported to Bouvier.

10. On November 4, 1987, David Kosar (Kosar) was hired by defendant to serve as Chief Accountant at an annual salary of $28,000.00, some $2,000.00 less than the salary requested by Kosar when he interviewed for the position. Defendant's decision to hire Kosar at a salary of $28,000.00 per year was based upon the relative value defendant placed upon Kosar's educational background, professional experiences, and the existing market conditions.

11. At the time Kosar was hired, defendant's accounting staff consisted of plaintiff, Susan Best and Sandy Snare. Best performed accounting and purchasing functions while Snare was promoted from the mail room to do accounting and sales-related work.

12. Kosar assumed many, but not all of the duties held by his predecessor, Grayson. He was, however, involved in special projects under the direction of Bouvier designed to draw upon Kosar's background in computers.

13. Kosar is a 1973 graduate of Westminster College from which he holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting.

14. From 1974 through 1980, Kosar was employed by the Aetna Standard Engineering Company where he served as a general accountant and a cost accountant and billing supervisor. His duties in this capacity included the preparation of hourly payroll, domestic invoicing, posting sales registers and subsidiary ledgers, and the preparation of manufacturing, engineering, sales and administration statements. Kosar was required by Aetna Standard to perform various computer-related duties including placing into computer records such items as payroll, inventory usage reports, accounts payable and engineering reports.

15. From 1980 to 1986, Kosar served as controller for the Pittsburgh Computer Service Corporation where his duties encompassed a variety of accounting responsibilities as well as certain computer-related tasks including but not limited to the development of custom software for customers to process on mainframe, the demonstration of company accounting software packages to potential customers, and the development of software to ...


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