retaliatory effect of the first letter, as easily as it can be read to take the sting from it.
More importantly, the premise of the second letter, that Snyder was retaliating not against the filing of the EEOC complaint, but against the untruths told in carrying it out, carves out a distinction too fine to be meaningfully justiciable. Except in the most blatant instances, it is probably the case that most employers accused of improper treatment of and discrimination against their workers will perceive events differently than the worker. To treat as dispositive the distinction between the employer's view of the procedural act of filing a complaint, and his or her views of the allegations made within it, would elevate form over substance to an unwarranted degree.
Defendant's alternative explanation for why Powell was not rehired, the lack of available work, is simply not credible. Howard Snyder acknowledged that he had made the decision shortly after the layoff that he would rehire Powell when there was more work available. Testimony of Howard Snyder. However, following the layoff he hired several workers for positions that he acknowledged David Powell was more than qualified. While, defendant testified at trial that the workers hired for positions that Powell was qualified for were hired on a "temporary" basis, he also suggested that such workers had a make good opportunity. Both his words and my interpretation of his explication of this arrangement led me to believe that Snyder Doors treated the positions as "temporary" because of concerns regarding the quality of the new employees, not because there wasn't room for a permanent worker. Furthermore, Howard Snyder's testimony, and his answers on cross-examination regarding specifically designated new employees, did not convince me that all the new hires were in fact "temporary" hires. No other evidence contradicted this understanding.
In light of the convincing evidence of retaliation -- the letters to the EEOC -- and the defendants' failure to rebut the meaning of those letters, or to provide a credible alternative reason for the failure to rehire after evincing a desire to do so -- I find that plaintiff has proved that a causal link exists between his EEOC action and his failure to be rehired until August of 1991, and that he has made out all the elements of a retaliatory non-rehire action.
The parties stipulated to the date Howard Snyder was put on notice of the EEOC suit as being August 14, 1990. Accordingly, I will calculate damages to David Powell from the that point until his re-hire in August, 1991.
The plaintiff submitted evidence that David Powell's backpay damages should be $ 20,435.38 for the period from April 5, 1990, the day of layoff, to December 1, 1990, and $ 17,485.22 for the period from December 1, 1990 to August 1st, 1991. The defendants submitted no evidence on damages, nor have they made legal arguments in opposition to plaintiff's calculations.
Because I have found for the plaintiff only on the retaliatory non-rehire, the damages for 1990 should reflect only the period after which the defendants were aware of Powell's EEOC suit. The parties have stipulated that August 14, 1990 was the date on which Howard Snyder was put on notice. The period between August 14, 1990 and December 1, 1990 includes only sixteen of the thirty-five weeks included in plaintiff's calculations. Accordingly, I will adjust the calculation proportionally downward to $ 9341.89. Added to the 1991 damages, the correct backpay owed in compensation for the retaliatory non-rehire is $ 26,827.11.
AND NOW this 24th day of January, 1994, IT IS ORDERED that the defendants Snyder Doors, Inc. and Howard Snyder will pay David Powell compensatory damages in the sum of $ 26,827.11.
ANITA B. BRODY, J.
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