The opinion of the court was delivered by: Anita B. Brody, District Judge.
Plaintiff Louis Danas ("Danas") filed this action against his
employer, Chapman Ford Sales, Inc. ("Chapman"), alleging that
Chapman unlawfully discriminated against him based upon age.*fn1
Danas claims that Chapman's refusal to transfer him to a more
profitable team of automobile service technicians and a number of
other incidents constitute discrimination under the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et
seq., and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA"), 43 Pa.
Cons.Stat. § 951 et seq. The complaint also seeks damages for
Danas and his wife, Linda Danas, for negligent infliction of
emotional distress and loss of consortium.
Before me is Chapman's motion for summary judgment. The motion
will be granted in part and denied in part.
Danas was born on November 4, 1943. He is employed as a master
service technician in Chapman's Northeast Philadelphia automotive
service department. Danas began working as a master technician
for Chapman in 1989. Chapman classifies its auto technicians by
level of expertise — C, B, A, and master — with master
technicians being the most experienced employees, presumed
capable of handling any job that comes into the service
department. At the time of the alleged events, Chapman further
divided the technicians into teams identified by color. Each team
had a service writer to receive work and distribute assignments
to members of his team.*fn3
When Chapman sold a car or when a car first came in to be
serviced, that car was assigned to one of the service writers by
serial number. Once assigned to a team, any future work on that
car would be automatically reassigned to that same team. The
longer a service writer had been with Chapman, the more cars he
had in circulation as potential service jobs for his team.
Mechanics at Chapman are not paid by the actual number of hours
they work, but rather by the value of the jobs they complete.
Chapman pays its technicians an hourly rate based on the hours
they "turn" by "clock rate." The clock rate for a given job is
the number of hours allowed by the industry standard guide.
Regardless of how many hours the technician actually spends on a
job, he is paid for the hours he turns by the clock rate
system.*fn4 An experienced master technician like Danas can
often turn a big job in half the number of hours allowed by the
clock rate. Therefore, a technician's income depends on the
number of lucrative jobs assigned to his team.
Danas has worked on several teams since joining Chapman in
1989. He was initially assigned to the Silver team, where he
remained for approximately a year and a half. When the Silver
team was disbanded, he was placed on the Red team, where he
worked for approximately six weeks. Danas was then assigned to
the Green team, where he remained for at least four years, until
it was disbanded in April of 1996.
When Chapman disbanded the Green team in 1996, the three
remaining Green team members were assigned to other service
teams. Danas was assigned to the Red team, becoming one of two
master technicians on that team. Danas understood that he would
be reassigned to the Green team should it be reconstituted.
Should that occur, Danas was told, the three former members would
be reassigned to the Green team and Chapman would make every
effort to recover the Green team's former customer base from the
Immediately upon reassignment to the Green team, Danas
requested a transfer back to the Red team.*fn5 The Red team
consistently offered the highest earning opportunity for a master
technician at Chapman. Given his seniority, Danas believed he was
entitled to that job.*fn6 Chapman's service director at the
time, Richard Gambone, denied Danas' request to rejoin the Red
team. Gambone reasoned that moving Danas would deprive the Green
team of a master technician, and the Red team already had a
master technician who had been part of its team for many years.
The Red team's master technician, Jim Eyer, was 36 years old when
Danas' transfer request was refused.
When Danas was reassigned to the Green team, his earnings
dropped significantly. During his stint on the Red team in 1996,
and for many years before that, Danas consistently earned a
weekly performance bonus. As his hours dropped, Danas lost not
only compensation for those hours but also the substantial weekly
Three main factors account for Danas' inability to maintain his
income after the reassignment. First, Chapman did not restore the
Green team's customer base. The Green team handled a
disproportionate amount of service work covered by warranty. As
the hourly allowance on the clock rate system is generally lower
for warranty jobs than for customer-paid jobs, Danas had poorer
earning opportunities. Second, the Green team's service writer,
Anthony Dodson, denied Danas access to available customer-paid
service jobs even though Danas, as master technician, should have
had first priority on all jobs. Third, Danas had problems with
the other teams' service writers, who ignored the priority order
system to keep lucrative jobs for their own team members.*fn8 In
December 1997 and February 1998, Danas was passed over for
high-paying repair jobs in favor of younger, less experienced
employees. Danas repeatedly complained to Chapman management
about his problems with Dodson and the other service writers, but
nothing was done to resolve the problem.
In addition to describing the effects of Chapman's failure to
restore him to the Red team and insure that work in the shop was
properly assigned, Danas also alleges the following two
incidents. In February 1998, Chapman gave Danas a disciplinary
report for causing damage to a diagnostic computer. According to
Danas, a younger technician was not reprimanded for a similar
accident.*fn9 In December 1997, Danas fell and hit his head
while on the job. Against his will, Chapman management ordered
him to seek treatment at its injury center, denying his request
to deal with his own doctor after work hours. Danas lost income
waiting for the injury center to find him fit to work. Danas
suggests that other, younger technicians would not have been
ordered to the injury center under similar circumstances.
Danas also describes a personnel meeting convened in July of
1998 by Chapman's general manager, Cecil Lam. At that meeting,
Lam made statements regarding the financial burden placed on the
business by a certain class of employees, namely, those who had
been at Chapman for a long time. Lam said that the Company was
looking for ways to lower the cost of its benefit package for
Having worked at Chapman since 1989, Danas enjoys the most
generous benefit package available to technicians at Chapman.
Like all technicians who have worked at Chapman for over seven
years, his annual compensation package includes three weeks of
paid vacation, two paid personal days, paid holidays, and six
sick days. As a master technician, Danas is eligible for the
$3.00 per hour incentive bonus for particularly profitable work
weeks. Moreover, since Danas joined Chapman before December 15,
1992, he is "grandfathered" for insurance purposes. While more
recently hired technicians receive only individual health
insurance coverage, grandfathered employees such as Danas also
receive family coverage at Chapman's expense.
According to Chapman, nine of its eleven master and A — level
technicians were hired before December of 1992, and therefore
they, like Danas, are grandfathered for insurance purposes and
qualify for the maximum amount of vacation. The $3.00 per hour
incentive bonus for work weeks over 60.1 hours is available to
all master technicians, regardless of seniority.
Summary judgment may be granted "if the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with
the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to
any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to a
judgment as a matter of law." Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c). The role of the
trial court is to determine whether there are material factual
issues that merit a trial. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 247-48, 106 S.Ct. 2505, 91 L.Ed.2d 202 (1986). In
making that determination, the court must give the nonmoving
party the benefit of all reasonable inferences that might be
drawn from the underlying facts. See Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co.
v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 587, 106 S.Ct. 1348, 89
L.Ed.2d 538 (1986); Sempier v. Johnson and Higgins,
45 F.3d 724, 727 (3d Cir. 1995) (en banc). Summary judgment ...