Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Santo v. Luzerne County Community College

September 15, 2008


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Vanaskie


This is a gender discrimination case arising out of Plaintiff June Santo's, Ed.D., employment as a vice president of Defendant Luzerne County Community College ("LCCC").*fn1

Plaintiff alleges violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a), et seq., and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA"), 43 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 955(a) and (d), for gender discrimination and retaliation.

Presently before the Court is LCCC's Motion for Summary Judgment. (Dkt. Entry 27.) For the reasons that follow, LCCC's motion will be granted in part. Specifically, summary judgment will be granted on Dr. Santo's claims of disparate treatment in terms of pay, but will be denied in all other respects.


Dr. Santo started working for LCCC in January of 2001 as the Vice President of Finance and Administration. (Def.'s Statement of Material Facts ("SMF"), Dkt. Entry 27-4, ¶ 1.) LCCC employed a classification for administrative positions based on numbered classes, in which Dr. Santo qualified as a twelve. (Id. at ¶ 2 & 3; Ex. 19, Dkt. Entry 29-2, at 57.) Her classification was calculated in aggregating points from the following categories: Education, Experience, Judgment, Supervisory Controls, Responsibility and Confidential Data. (Classification Guide, Dkt. Entry 29-2, at 72-80.) Twelve is the highest possible classification an employee is eligible to achieve. (Id. at 80.)

A. LCCC's Reorganization

In December of 2002, LCCC hired Dr. Patricia Donohue as its new President. (Def.'s SMF, at ¶ 4.) At the time of her hiring, three vice presidents were in place: Dr. June Santo, Vice President of Finance and Administration; Dr. Nancy Kosteleba, Vice President of Academic Affairs; and Thomas Leary, Vice President of Student Development. (Pl.'s Counter Statement of Facts ("CSMF"), Dkt. Entry 32, ¶ 4.) As one of her first acts as President, Dr. Donohue formed a leadership team that chose ten vision statements to be implemented into a strategic plan for LCCC.*fn2 (Def.'s SMF, at ¶¶ 8 - 10.) Dr. Santo was part of this leadership team, which also included the two other vice presidents; Sandra Nicholas, Director of Resource Development; Lisa Nelson, Director of Community Relations; Don Nelson, Director of Technology; and Richard Amico, Associate Dean of Human Resources. (Supp. Santo Aff., Dkt. Entry 40-2, at 1; Def.'s Reply Br., Dkt. Entry 36, at 3.)

According to Dr. Donohue, the leadership team then formed a strategic plan design team, which consisted of the leadership team and others. (Donohue Dep., Dkt. Entry 29, at 35.) Dr. Santo alleges that she was never invited to be a member of the strategic plan design team, but that the male vice president was, as well as Mr. Amico and the Director of Food Services, Peter Moses. (Santo Aff., at ¶¶ 10-13.) In addition to forming the planning committee, Dr. Donohue set goals for each administrator, which included Dr. Santo. (Id. at ¶ 11.)

The following summer, Dr. Donohue evaluated Dr. Santo's performance as Vice President of Finance and Administration. (Review of Performance, Dkt. Entry 32-4.) Overall, Dr. Santo received an eight out of ten in her performance evaluation, which indicated she "exceeds standards." (Id. at 8.) In the evaluation, Dr. Donohue commented that Dr. Santo was committed to quality and control in fiscal operations. She had adjusted to the new president and was supportive of announced directions. (Id.) Dr. Santo, in the category of "Job Knowledge and Quality of Work," was "timely and effective." (Id. at 2.) She was meticulous about finance and legal compliance, and with regard to problem solving and decision making, systematic in analysis of conditions and alignment of priorities. (Id.)

In other categories, Dr. Donohue gave suggestions for improvement. In the "Equity, Diversity and Ethics in the Workplace" category, Dr. Donohue noted, "[i]mproving in respectful treatment of others -- needs to continue improving in regard to all others, not just those she knows well and supervisors." (Id. at 6.) Under "Communication and Interpersonal Skills," there was "[s]ignificant Improvement in working with colleagues," but work was needed "in maximizing potential outcomes of routine relationships."*fn3 (Id. at 2.)

In anticipation of the fall 2003 semester, Dr. Donohue presented a major reorganization plan, (Def.'s SMF, at ¶ 13), with an objective of linking LCCC's planning to its financial resources. (Donohue Dep., at 75.) The reorganization also envisioned several changes in positions and responsibilities.

Dr. Donohue reassigned Dr. Kosteleba, formerly the Vice President of Academic Affairs in charge of strategic planning, to be executive director responsible for planning and grants development. (Id. at 25-26, 58.) This change in position lowered Dr. Kosteleba's grade on the salary scale, but according to Dr. Donohue, LCCC had a policy precluding salary reduction for its employees, so Dr. Kosteleba would have purportedly maintained the same salary. (Id. at 65-66.) Dr. Kosteleba ultimately refused the position and left LCCC. The circumstances surrounding the departure of Dr. Kosteleba are disputed. Dr. Donohue asserts that Dr. Kosteleba rejected her new assignment and retired. (Donohue Dep., at 65.) Mr. Amico also contends that Dr. Kosteleba retired. (Amico Dep., Dkt. Entry 29-2, at 12.) Dr. Santo disagrees, asserting that Dr. Kosteleba was asked to leave. (Santo Dep., at 43.)

In any event, Dr. Dustin Swanger was hired to replace Dr. Kosteleba as Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. (Id. at 43-44; Pl.'s CSMF, Dkt. Entry 32, at ¶ 7; Def.'s Response to Pl.'s CSMF, Dkt. Entry 37, at ¶ 7.) Dr. Donohue also promoted the Director of Resource Development, Sandra Nicholas, to Executive Director of Resource Development. (Donohue Dep., at 65.) Mr. Leary maintained his position and responsibilities as Vice President of Student Development.

Dr. Donohue further "redesigned the vice president of finance and administration to be finance and planning, . . . responsible for the department of institutional research and planning in addition to finance and to be responsible for master planning . . . ." (Donohue Dep., at 76.) Accordingly, in February 2004, Dr. Donohue changed Dr. Santo's job title from Vice President of Finance and Administration to Vice President of Finance and Planning. (Def.'s SMF, at ¶ 17.) The administrative functions of Dr. Santo were assigned to Richard Amico, who was promoted from Associate Dean of Human Resources to Dean of Administration and Human Resources. (Id. at ¶¶ 20 & 27.) Mr. Amico previously had reported to Dr. Santo, and in his new position reported directly to Dr. Donohue. (Santo Dep., Dkt. Entry 29-1, at 18.)

Dr. Santo did not agree with some of the changes, and told Dr. Donohue that Mr. Amico should still report to her because he was at a lower level of classification. (Id. at 18.) Dr. Santo also complained that Mr. Leary was paid more than her. (Donohue Dep., at 114.) Dr. Donohue explained that Mr. Leary's salary was higher because he had been with the school for a much longer period of time than Dr. Santo. (Id. at 115.)

The reorganization also affected Mr. Moses, Director of Food Services. (Def.'s SMF, at ¶ 28.) Dr. Santo had recommended a pilot project, in which Mr. Moses would be promoted to an associate dean for a year. (Donohue Dep., at 81-82; Def.'s SMF, at ¶ 30.) Dr. Donohue agreed with the recommendation, and promoted Mr. Moses to the position of Associate Dean of Administration and Auxiliary Services, a vacant position. (Id.) Mr. Moses was responsible for running the food service, bookstore, buildings and maintenance, and the conference center. (Donohue Dep., at 91-92.)

During this period, Dr. Donohue requested maintenance and status reports on the condition of a building from Mr. Moses, but apparently did not receive them. (Id. at 98-99.) She brought her concerns to Dr. Santo, who supervised Mr. Moses. (Id.) Dr. Santo allegedly continually gave Dr. Donohue the same ineffective answers as to why she could not produce the reports.*fn4 (Id.) When Dr. Donohue spoke directly to Mr. Moses, Mr. Moses told Dr. Donohue that he was not at fault. (Id. at 99.) After the year passed, upon recommendation from Mr. Amico, Mr. Moses' position as associate dean became permanent. (Pl.'s CSMF, at ¶ 17.)

Dr. Santo claims she was not properly treated during the reorganization. She asserts that she was dismissed from financial committee meetings, while Mr. Amico was asked to remain, and that Dr. Donohue sidestepped her and worked directly with Mr. Amico. (Santo Aff., Dkt. Entry 32-3, at ¶¶ 14-25.) Dr. Santo further claims she never knew the subject of the financial meetings or the results of the meetings. (Id.) Dr. Santo says that, sometime prior to June of 2004, she complained to Dr. Donohue that she was being discriminated against on account of her gender, and told members of the finance committee that she was being compensated lower than the male vice president, as well as Amico and Moses. (Id. at ¶ 82.)

Mr. Moses stated he never heard Dr. Santo complain about gender discrimination, just that she was under-compensated. (Moses Dep., at 27.) Mr. Amico testified that he only heard Dr. Santo complain of receiving a lower salary than the Mr. Leary. (Amico Dep., at 66.) Dr. Donohue testified likewise, i.e., that Dr. Santo only complained about her salary. (Donohue Dep., at 114.)

B. LCCC's Pay Raise Policy

Pay raises are generally given to the administrators in July of each year, contingent on the budget. (Def.'s SMF, at ¶ 24, 25.) LCCC Wage and Salary Administration Policy states that "salary adjustment for a position reclassification will not exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000) in one year." (Policy and Procedures, Dkt. Entry 29-2, at 69-70.) The following policy exists for classifying positions:

Positions are evaluated using standard applicable factors which are assigned point values; the total points accredited to a position determines its grade level. Grade levels consist of a minimum, midpoint and maximum salary range. Position grade levels are assigned by the Associate Dean/Human Resources and approved by the College President. (Policy and Procedures, Dkt. Entry 29-2, at 70.)

With Mr. Moses' promotion to Associate Dean of Administration and Auxiliary Services, his classification changed from eight to ten. (Def.'s SMF, at ¶ 35.) On May 5, 2003, he received a promotion with a salary increase of $8,378.01. (Id. at ¶ 36.) On July 1, 2003, he received an annual increment raise of 5.07%, the same percentage as other administrators, which was $3,108.62. (Id. at ¶ 37; Ex. 19, Dkt. Entry 29-3, at ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.