The opinion of the court was delivered by: McCLURE, District Judge.
Plaintiff Carol Gallo filed this Title VII action*fn1
against her former employer, John Powell Chevrolet ("John
Powell" or "the dealership"). She alleges that she was harassed
by co-employees*fn2 and ultimately terminated due to her sex
and to her pregnancy. She alleges violations of Title VII and
the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA")*fn3 and seeks
back pay, attorney's fees and costs. (Plaintiff's complaint,
filed May 18, 1990).
Based upon the evidence submitted at the bench trial held
April 29 and 30, 1991, the court finds that John Powell acted
with discriminatory intent in discharging Gallo from her
position as an automobile salesperson on June 23, 1988 in
violation of Title VII and the PHRA and that its decision to
terminate her was motivated in substantial part by bias against
her due to her gender and her pregnancy.
The trial was bifurcated. Only liability issues were tried
during the first stage. We, therefore, make no findings on the
issue of damages at this time.
The court adopts the parties' undisputed facts as part of its
findings of fact.
The court makes the following findings of fact based upon the
testimony and exhibits*fn4 presented at trial. Incorporated in
the court's findings are facts the parties have stipulated to
be correct. (See the parties' statement of undisputed facts,
filed April, 1991.)*fn5
1. Both parties reside, or have a place of business, in the
Middle District of Pennsylvania.
2. John Powell is an automobile dealership engaged in the
sale of new and used automobiles and trucks.
3. John Powell hired Gallo as an automobile salesperson on
May 4, 1987.
4. Gallo was hired by William Struncis, the General Sales
Manager at John Powell.
5. Struncis was Gallo's immediate supervisor throughout her
tenure at the dealership.
6. Struncis based his decision to hire Gallo on her previous
sales experience and on his impression that she would perform
7. When Gallo was hired, and throughout her term of
employment at John Powell, she was the only female salesperson.
8. When Gallo was hired, John Powell employed twelve male
9. As of the date Gallo was terminated, John Powell employed
nine male salespersons, eight of whom had been so employed when
she was hired.
10. During her term of employment, the number of salespersons
at John Powell fluctuated between thirteen and nine.
11. Gallo was terminated by John Powell on June 23, 1988.
12. Gallo was compensated on a commission basis and received
a percentage of the profit for each vehicle which she sold.
13. During her job interview, Struncis told Gallo that the
other salespersons, all men, were competitive and that some of
them might object to her employment because she was a woman.
14. Salespersons compete with one another for customers who
telephone the dealership and who walk on the lot and are not
pre-existing customers of other salespersons.
15. From June to December, 1987, Gallo's performance as a
salesperson was very good and her sales figures exceeded the
16. Gallo was a very competent and aggressive salesperson.
17. Struncis encouraged Gallo and "loved" her aggressive
18. Some John Powell salesmen regarded Gallo as too
aggressive and complained about her aggressiveness to Struncis.
19. Struncis told male salespersons that they should be more
20. Salespersons at the dealership routinely worked twelve to
thirteen hours per day, generally from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m.,
five days a week. Wednesdays the workday ended at 5:00 p.m.
when the dealership closed.
21. Dealership employees sometimes played pranks on their
co-workers. Standard pranks included tampering with an
employee's telephone or leaving a phony message. Pranks of this
nature were played on Gallo, and on other employees, male and
B. Harassment of Gallo by male employees
22. Throughout her employment at John Powell, some of the
salesmen with whom Gallo worked made rude, cynical and sexist
remarks about her ability to perform the job effectively.
Sometimes these remarks were made in the presence of customers
and/or other dealership employees.
23. On one occasion, when Gallo sold a truck, she was asked
by a male salesperson, in a suggestive manner, what she "had to
do" to make the sale.
24. On another occasion, a salesman remarked to Gallo that
she must have an appointment with a male customer that day,
because she was wearing an "extra tight sweater."
25. On yet another occasion, a salesman told Gallo that she
did not belong at the dealership and should be home cooking for
26. One salesman, Dave Johnson called Gallo a "fat bitch" in
front of customers because he mistakenly thought she was
improperly talking to a former customer of his.
28. Isaacs' interference with Gallo's potential sale was a
very serious matter known in the automobile sales business as
"cutting another salesperson's throat."
29. Initially, when such incidents occurred, Gallo would
report them to Struncis. Struncis' standard response was that
he would look into the matter, or talk to the individual
30. In approximately December, 1987, Gallo learned that she
was pregnant. Shortly thereafter, she informed Struncis.
31. Gallo informed Struncis that she intended to continue
working and planned to return to work six weeks after the birth
of the baby.
32. Gallo never deviated from her intention to return to work
at John Powell after the birth of her baby.
33. Gallo also informed Struncis that she may, at times,
require time off from work due to her age (41) and possible
complications with the pregnancy.
34. Struncis stated, in response, that he would not require
a doctor's excuse from Gallo for each such absence, but that
she should tell him in advance when she would be out.
35. Gallo was absent from work from time to time during the
winter/spring of 1988 because of her pregnancy.
36. On each such occasion, she told Struncis in advance, and
he approved the absence.
37. On or about June 9, 1988, Gallo received a disability
certificate (Plaintiff's exhibit 13) from her physician
indicating that, due to her pregnancy and related
complications, she should not work more than forty hours per
week until after the birth of the baby.
38. Gallo gave the disability certificate to Struncis.
39. Struncis placed Gallo on a forty-hour per week schedule.
40. During at least the first six months of her employment at
John Powell, Gallo had a good relationship with Struncis and
she considered him a friend and an ally who gave her tips on
becoming a better salesperson. After Gallo informed Struncis of
her pregnancy, the tenor of their relationship changed. He
became less open and congenial with her.
41. Harassment, in the form of offensive and sexually
discriminatory remarks continued into the spring of 1988.
42. In December, 1987, after Struncis knew of Gallo's
pregnancy, Struncis instructed her to go the attic to retrieve
a Christmas tree and boxes of decorations. Gallo told him that
she would not do this because the access way to the attic was
difficult to maneuver, the boxes were heavy and her physician
had told her not to lift heavy objects.
43. Gallo stated, however, that she would decorate the tree
if someone else would retrieve the tree and the boxes. When
Gallo told Struncis this, he ...