The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES F. MCCLURE, JR.
On December 21, 1990, plaintiffs Joanne Frey and Stephanie Cardennis filed this civil rights action against Pennsylvania Airlines ("Penn Air") and David Hartley, their former employer and manager, respectively, alleging discrimination on the basis of sex. Specifically, counts I and V of the complaint allege that Penn Air discriminated against each of the plaintiffs on the basis of sex and subjected them to a hostile work environment in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000(e), et seq., ("Title VII"). Counts II and VI allege that Penn Air discriminated against each of the plaintiffs on the basis of sex and subjected them to a hostile work environment in violation of the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 42 Pa.Cons.Stat.Ann. §§ 950-963, ("PHRA"). Finally, counts III and IV allege sexual discrimination, hostile work environment and harassment in violation of both Title VII and the PHRA against Hartley. Counts IV and VII, alleging wrongful discharge, were dismissed by an earlier order of the court.
Currently before the court are the defendants' motions for summary judgment and to strike the plaintiffs' jury trial demand. In their response, plaintiffs have agreed that this action should not proceed against Hartley, who is no longer employed by Penn Air. Accordingly, the action will be dismissed, with prejudice, as to Hartley.
The facts, read in a light most favorable to the plaintiffs, are as follows:
Joanne Frey was hired by Penn Air as a Customer Service Agent ("CSA") on November 17, 1986. Stephanie Cardennis was hired by Penn Air as a part-time CSA on November 23, 1987. Both Frey and Cardennis were assigned to work at the Williamsport Lycoming County Airport. David Hartley was employed by Penn Air as a Customer Service Manager, and was transferred from Hartford, Connecticut to the Williamsport Lycoming County Airport in July of 1988.
During Hartley's tenure the employees of Penn Air regularly used language which was sexually derogatory towards women. Hartley did not discourage the disparaging remarks, and on several occasions made such remarks himself. Specifically, Hartley regularly made comments about women's breasts and joked about impregnating his female subordinates. On one occasion he told Frey that if she wanted a raise, she should go to his home to mop his floors and fool around. He stated further that he would teach Frey all she needed to know about the other stuff, and if she was good, she would get a bigger raise than Penn Air could ever give her. Several employees have indicated that language which was degrading, insulting or offensive to women was common-place at Penn Air. For example, Leslie Bloom, a male CSA, testified that Hartley "talked sexual all the time, it was dirty, just a dirty language all the time" and that Assistant Manager Brian Lavely "was about as bad". (Deposition of Leslie Bloom at p.18 and 50). CSA John Bierley testified that the employees were "pretty free about sexual innuendos in the workplace" and at times "it got sufficiently intense that it was embarrassing or upsetting or degrading, at least to some women." (Deposition of John Bierley at p.44 and 53). He also acknowledged that Hartley participated in "talk putting down the female gender". (Id. at 20). The record is replete with similar statements from other employees.
When assigned to the Williamsport facility, Hartley claims that he adopted a policy of not reporting all workplace infractions. He attempted to be a "nice guy", and his decisions to discipline employees depended on the level of the infraction. Contrary to this policy, Hartley continually reported Frey and Cardennis for minor workplace infractions.
Upon the recommendation of Hartley, on August 19, 1989, Rick Schwartz, Director of Stations for Penn Air, terminated Frey's employment. Significantly, in May of 1989, Hartley wrote a letter to Schwartz recommending that Frey be let go as soon as possible. At his deposition, he stated that this recommendation was made to improve the attitude and the work environment. However, he did not have any specifics as to Frey's attitude as of May 1989, and several other employees have indicated that Frey's attitude was the same, if not better, than the other employees. In July of 1989, CSA Supervisor Canouse prepared an evaluation of Frey at Hartley's request. Canouse rated Frey as average in the areas of overall attitude, ability to work with fellow employees, customer contact ability, technical ability, initiative and overall job performance. He rated her as above average in dependability.
Although Penn Air's formal stated reason for Frey's discharge was her disciplinary record, many similar and more serious infractions, noted below, went unpunished when committed by male employees. In addition, many of the charged infractions occurred under questionable circumstances. Specifically, Penn Air contends that Frey was discharged for the following series of infractions: 1) a cash drawer shortage in September 1988, 2) a customer complaint in January 1989, 3) failure to follow procedure for calling in sick in February 1989, 4) giving Hartley's home telephone number to a customer in May 1989, 5) failure to screen passengers for a competitor's flight in June 1989, 6) failure to close and lock the safe door in August 1989, and 7) failing to secure the combination of the safe in August 1989.
Aside from the two initial infractions, dubious circumstances surrounded each of these incidents. Frey was disciplined not for failing to call in sick, but for calling in sick to CSA Supervisor Mark Canouse, instead of Hartley. She was disciplined for giving a business card with Hartley's home telephone number to a customer, when it was Hartley himself who had written his home telephone number on the back of the business card. She was disciplined for failing to screen passengers on a competitor's flight, even though, at the time, she was servicing Penn Air passengers, who, according to her supervisors, were supposed to come first. Although she was suspended for failing to close and lock the safe, the safe was often left open overnight by other employees with no repercussions. Finally, while she was punished for failing to secure the safe combination, the combination was never treated as an item which should be secured. Hartley issued new combinations to the employees by leaving it on a slip of paper in their open mail slots.
Upon the recommendation of Hartley, on November 19, 1989, Schwartz terminated Cardennis's employment. Notably, a few months earlier, in August of 1989, CSA Supervisor Canouse prepared an evaluation of Cardennis at Hartley's request. Canouse rated Cardennis as average in the areas of overall attitude, ability to work with fellow employees, customer contact ability, technical ability, initiative, dependability and overall job performance.
Although the stated reason for Cardennis's discharge was her history of tardiness and abuse of sick leave, like Frey, questionable circumstances accompanied many of Cardennis's charged infractions. Although Cardennis had experienced some attendance problems from March 1989 to October 16, 1989, Schwartz discussed the problem with her, which apparently had arisen from her dissatisfaction at not being placed on full-time status, and told her that they were to start fresh as of that day, October 19, 1989.
On October 23, 1989, Cardennis was seen working at the Alley Kat Kafe after she had called in sick at Penn Air. She was cited for abuse of sick leave and suspended for seven days, even though she claimed that she was in fact sick and worked at the Alley Kat Kafe only until they found her replacement for the night. She was then cited for continued absences on November 6 through 12 and November 15 and 16, and was subsequently fired. However, Penn Air's records indicate that she was not scheduled to work from October 27, 1989 to November 8, 1989, and November 10 and 11, 1989, and the information as to whether she was scheduled to work on ...