The opinion of the court was delivered by: JAMES MUNLEY, District Judge
Presently before the Court for disposition is the defendants'
Joint Motion for Summary Judgment on Plaintiff Patricia
Williamson's employment discrimination claims. This matter has
been fully briefed and is ripe for disposition. For the following
reasons, we will grant the Motion and dismiss this case.
On August 9, 1993, when Williamson was 46 years old, Defendant
Penn Millers Insurance Company hired her to be the Executive
Secretary to the President and Chief Executive Officer, Defendant
Jack L. Burke. She held this position until she was terminated on
February 25, 2003. Williamson was the only Executive Secretary at
On May 15, 2000, Williamson asked Burke how she could move into
a position to earn more money. (Pl. Dep. 35). Burke advised her
to meet with Pat Staples, then the Human Resources Director. (Pl.
Dep. 36). Williamson met with Staples, and Staples explained that
other Executive Secretaries in the region made less, and
Williamson felt insulted. (Pl. Dep. 36, 105-06). Staples informed Williamson that
they would meet again the next Monday, and Williamson should keep
track of her time and activities. (Pl. Dep. 36). Williamson
complied, but after the next meeting Staples did not pursue the
matter further. (Pl. Dep. 36-37). Williamson felt that she should
not have to pursue the matter with Staples, and Burke should have
handled the situation. (Pl. Dep. 35-36).
Each position at Penn Miller corresponds to a salary grade.
(Pl. Dep. 33; Pl. Dep. Ex. 5). As an Executive Secretary,
Williamson was pay grade seven, with a minimum salary of $19,252
and a maximum of $32,779. (Staples Aff. Ex. A). By 2001,
Williamson earned twenty six percent over the maximum for her
grade. (Pl. Dep. 67-69). Williamson, however, wanted a title that
would change her classification to place her in a higher grade.
(Pl. Dep. 68-69). Specifically, she wanted to be an officer. (Pl.
Dep. 70) Williamson, however, did not ask for a title, (Pl. Dep.
69) nor did she apply for another position in the company (Pl.
Dep. 76.). Williamson felt as though she was unqualified to
perform any existing officer position, but thought she was
qualified to become Assistant Secretary of the Corporation. (Pl.
Dep. 74) Prior to Williamson's arrival, however, the company
discontinued this position, and she did not want them to
reimplement the position. (Pl. Dep. 75) Penn Millers offered
training courses and tuition reimbursement for courses that could
lead to opportunities within the company, but she did not avail
herself of these opportunities. (Pl. Aff. ¶¶ 39-46).
After Williamson approached Burke about opportunities for
advancement in May of 2000, she felt as though her relationship
with him changed significantly. (Pl. Aff. ¶ 57). She lists a number of subsequent incidents that she characterized as
"harassment." (Pl. Aff. ¶¶ 61-62). She explained that the
"harassment" consisted of a few occasions where Burke would call
her into his office to "drop a bomb" on her. (Pl. Dep. 119).
Specifically, she testified, "I did not believe he was harassing
me. What I meant by harassment is just to call me in.
Periodically, he'd drop a bomb on me." (Pl. Dep. 119). She
explained that this "harassment" related to a number of incidents
she deemed insignificant. (Pl. Aff. ¶ 61). First, Burke
misinterpreted a comment Williamson made about liners used in
remodeling the company kitchen. (Pl. Aff. ¶ 63a). Burke's wife
supplied the liners, and when Burke asked Williamson how the
liners worked out, she told him they did not and stated
"somebody's head is going to roll." (Id.) Williamson did not
mean Burke's wife's head was going to roll, but Burke called her
into his office and said he took the comment personally, and
Williamson apologized. (Id.) In the next incident, Burke
overheard Williamson correct Scott Veech' grammar, and he advised
her that he did not find it appropriate because Veech was a
senior officer. (Pl. Aff. ¶ 63b). During one meeting, Williamson
expressed that she felt something was amiss, and Burke told her
"you will never advance in this company in your position. All you
are is an Executive Secretary, you will never become an officer
of the company." (Pl. Aff. ¶ 63e).
In another meeting, on April 17, 2001, Burke advised Williamson
that she should reduce her visiting within the company. (Pl. Aff.
¶ 63b). Williamson explained to Burke that she felt she was
following his previous order to make herself seen within the
company, and added that she rarely left her desk. (Pl. Aff. ¶ 63d). Williamson
responded that she wanted to bring the matter to the attention of
Harvey Sproul and Harvey Rose, two directors of the company, to
explain her side of the story. (Pl. Dep. 176-77). Burke explained
that the directors do not become involved in personnel matters.
(Pl. Dep. 178). A couple of hours later, Burke told her that she
could be cited for insubordination. (Pl. Dep. 83-84). A few days
later he again told her she could be cited for insubordination.
(Pl. Dep. 84). On April 19, 2001, Williamson signed a memorandum
that explained that personnel issues should not go to the
Executive Committee and she would suffer serious consequences if
she did. (Pl. Dep. 179-80). On April 20, 2001, Williamson spoke
with Mark DeCesaris, the Senior Vice President, about what
transpired with Burke. (Pl. Aff. ¶ 63o). DeCesaris sought her
assurance that she would not take her concerns to any member of
the executive committee and specifically that she would not talk
to Sproul or Rose. (Id.). DeCesaris also warned her that if she
did, she could be cited for insubordination. (Id.). On April
24, 2001, Williamson apologized to Burke, and assured him that at
no time would she go over his head and call a meeting with Rose
and Sproul. (Pl. Dep. 185).
Williamson and Burke continued to have personal issues with
minor office incidents. For example, in June of 2002, Burke
confronted her about her phone use. (Pl. Aff. ¶ 63s). Burke also
suspected that Williamson had obtained confidential information
and written anonymous letters to Rose and Sproul. (Burke Aff. ¶¶
On Friday, February 21, 2003, their issues culminated in a
meeting where Burke called Williamson into his office and told her she would no
longer attend directors meetings, board advisory meetings,
manager meetings, or officer meetings. (Pl. Aff. ¶ 63y). He also
told her that she would no longer open his mail and he wanted her
key back. (Pl. Aff. ¶ 63y).
Williamson immediately called Sproul without discussing it with
Burke. (Pl. Dep. 93). Sproul stated he was glad she called and
was saddened to hear about her situation. (Pl. Aff. ¶ 68). She
informed him that he needed to "step up to the plate" on behalf
of the employees of the company, and if he did not do so she
would write a letter to every director and would sue the company.
(Pl. Dep. 96-98). Sproul also explained that he would have to
inform Burke of the conversation. (Pl. Aff. ¶ 68).
The next day, Williamson called a former employee, Karen
Martinelli, and said she felt that she soon would be terminated.
(Pl. Aff. ¶ 72-75). Williamson took a personal day the Monday
after her conversation with Sproul, but she received a phone call
from Staples directing her not to report to work until Penn
Millers decided how to respond to her conversation with Sproul.
(Pl. Dep. 95-96). The following day, Staples called back to tell
Williamson that she was terminated. (Pl. Dep. 95-96). Burke made
the decision to fire Williamson in consultation with Staples.
(Burke Aff. ¶ 28).
Williamson was 56 at the time of her termination and was
earning $43,290 per year, approximately thirty-two percent above
the maximum for her pay grade. (Staples Aff. ¶ 3). Following
Williamson's termination, Kathy Lettieri assumed the newly
created position of Assistant to the President. (Staples Aff. ¶
5). Previously, Lettieri had been the Administrator in the Public Relations Department. (Staples Aff. ¶ 4). In her
new position, Lettieri continued to perform her public relations
duties, but also assumed Williamson's former duties assisting
Burke with the daily operations of the Executive Department.
(Staples Aff. ¶ 5). Assistant to the President is not an officer
position, (Staples Aff. ¶ 7) and it is salary grade four, with a
minimum salary of $27,600 and a maximum salary of $44,200. (Pl.
In recognition of her added responsibilities, Lettieri received
a ten percent raise effective March 17, 2003, less than a month
after Williamson was terminated. (Staples Aff. ¶ 6). Following
her raise, Lettieri earned $37,358.10. (Id.) In November 2003,
Lettieri earned an eight percent raise and her salary increased
to $40,352. (Pl. Ex. G). Penn Millers granted this raise because
she successfully performed new duties. (Id.). ...