The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge McClure
On December 7, 2007, plaintiff, Patricia Glodek, instituted this civil action against defendant, Jersey Shore State Bank ("JSSB" or the "Bank"), setting forth a claim pursuant to the Equal Pay Act of 1963 ("EPA"), 29 U.S.C. § 206(d), and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. ("Title VII"). (Rec. Doc. No. 1). In her two-part complaint, plaintiff contends that JSSB intentionally discriminated against her on the basis of gender by paying her less than a male employee who performed substantially equal work. (Id.)
Defendant asserts, inter alia, that plaintiff fails to establish a prima facie case for an EPA violation or Title VII unequal pay discrimination, and that, even if she did, defendant has refuted the prima facie cases by proving that any pay discrepancy was based on factors other than sex. See (Rec. Doc. No. 21).
On April 14, 2009, defendant filed its motion for summary judgment, (Rec. Doc. No. 19), accompanied by a statement of material facts ("SMF"), (Rec. Doc. No. 20) and a supporting brief, (Rec. Doc. No. 21). On May 15, 2009, Plaintiff timely filed her opposition brief, (Rec. Doc. No. 26), with her SMF, (Rec. Doc. No. 27). Defendant filed its reply brief on June 4, 2009. (Rec. Doc. No. 29).
In response to plaintiff's SMF, defendant filed a motion to admit defendant's SMF or strike portions of plaintiff's SMF.*fn1 (Rec. Doc. No. 30). The appropriate briefs were timely filed. See (Rec. Doc. No. 31; Rec. Doc. No. 32; Rec. Doc. No. 33).
The parties have completed discovery and defendant's motion for summary judgment is ripe for disposition. For the following reasons, we will deny defendant's motion.
It is appropriate for a court to grant a motion for summary judgment "if the pleadings, the discovery and disclosure materials on file, and any affidavits show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). An issue is genuine "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). "Material facts" are those which might affect the outcome of the suit. Id.; Justofin v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 372 F.3d 517, 521 (3d Cir. 2004).
"If the nonmoving party has the burden of persuasion at trial, 'the party moving for summary judgment may meet its burden by showing that the evidentiary materials of record, if reduced to admissible evidence, would be insufficient to carry the non-movant's burden of proof at trial.'" Jalil v. Avdel Corp., 873 F.2d 701, 706 (3d Cir. 1989) (quoting Chippolini v. Spencer Gifts, Inc., 814 F.2d 893, 896 (3d. Cir. 1987)); see also Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986).
In evaluating a motion for summary judgment the court will draw all reasonable inferences from the evidence in the record in favor of the nonmoving party. Am. Flint Glass Workers Union v. Beaumont Glass Co., 62 F.3d 574, 578 (3d Cir. 1995). The nonmoving party, however, cannot defeat a motion for summary judgment by merely offering general denials, vague allegations, or conclusory statements; rather the party must point to specific evidence in the record that demonstrates that there is a genuine issue as to a material fact. See Celotex, 477 U.S. at 321; Ridgewood Bd. of Educ. v. N.E. ex rel. M.E., 172 F.3d 238, 252 (3d Cir. 1999).
The relevant facts viewed in the light most favorable to the plaintiff are as follows:
Defendant is a publicly traded company with offices in three (3) Pennsylvania counties and a corporate headquarters in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. (Rec. Doc. No. 20, p. 2, ¶ 2).
Plaintiff is a woman who began working for defendant as a Mortgage Originator ("MO")*fn2 in August 1999 at the Montgomery Branch office ("MBO"). (Rec. Doc. No. 20, pp. 1-2, ¶ 1; Id. at p. 6, ¶ 34). Prior to Glodek's employment with JSSB, she worked in loan and mortgage origination for approximately ten (10) years with various banks and financial services companies. See (Rec. Doc. No. 28-2, pp. 4-19; Rec. Doc. No. 28-9, p. 6). In addition to the formal experience acquired throughout her career, plaintiff achieved a 4.0 GPA while studying accounting for one (1) year at Harford Community College and augmented her education further via consumer lending and residential mortgage loan origination courses offered by the Institute of Financial Education. (Rec. Doc. No. 28-9, pp. 4, 6).
At all times relevant to these proceedings, JSSB's Mortgage Department maintained MOs in five (5) offices, located in Williamsport, Jersey Shore, Montgomery, Lock Haven and State College, Pennsylvania. (Rec. Doc. No. 20, p. 2, ¶ 6). Although permitted to conduct business outside of their assigned territories, JSSB instructed its MOs to focus on their assigned markets to avoid overlapping with MOs stationed in other offices. (Rec. Doc. No. 20, p. 2, ¶ 7). Despite the individual offices, all MOs reported to the head of JSSB's Mortgage Department, Vice President Gerald Seman, who worked in the Bank's corporate offices in Williamsport. (Id. at p.2, ¶ 4).
Salary is JSSB's exclusive compensation method. (Rec. Doc. No. 20, p. 3, ¶ 15). Generally, in determining an employee's salary, JSSB considers, inter alia, the employee's initial salary demand, the salary the employee earned with his or her prior employer, comparable salaries in the market in which the employee will work, wage surveys, the education/training background of the employee, the markets in which the employee has previously worked, the employee's reputation in the mortgage community, the employee's book of business, the length of time the employee has worked at JSSB and the employee's performance with JSSB. (Id. at pp. 3-4, 9, ¶¶ 16, 19, 65). When examining employee performance, JSSB considers, inter alia, the number of loans issued, the number of exceptions for each loan, the employee's historical production and the employee's production in relation to the annual goals established for the individual MO at the beginning of each fiscal year (Id. at pp. 5-6, ¶¶ 23, 30). Production goals were established based upon the geographic market, support staff available, strength of existing market conditions, prior year's performance, JSSB's presence within the market and existing real estate relationships of each specific MO. See, e.g., (Rec. Doc. No. 22-2, p. 49).
When Glodek applied for her position at JSSB, she expressed an interest in earning, (Rec. Doc. No. 28-9, p. 2), and received a salary of $25,000 per year. (Rec. Doc. No. 28-8, p. 2). Plaintiff's salary increased to $30,638, (Id.),*fn3 prior to her voluntary resignation in March 2005. (Rec. Doc. No. 20, p. 1-2, ¶ 1). During this time period, Glodek's production ranked sixth (6th) out of seven (7) MOs in 2001, fourth (4th) out of seven (7) in 2002, sixth (6th) out of eight (8) in 2003, seventh (7th) out of eight (8) in 2004 and sixth (6th) out of eight (8) in 2005, prior to her departure from JSSB. (Rec. Doc. No. 27, p. 8, ¶ 43).
In October 2003, Cory Knight, the comparator in the case at bar, was hired as an MO for the State College office ("SCO"), (Rec. Doc. No. 20, p. 8, ¶ 50), signaling JSSB's intent to grow the SCO's mortgage business. (Id. at p. 8, ¶ 56). In comparison to the SCO, the MBO, located in a rural area, was small in stature, (Rec. Doc. No. 22-2, pp. 14-15), and competed with fewer banks and mortgage services companies. (Rec. Doc. No. 22-6, p. 23).*fn4 As the lone MO working out of the MBO, however, Glodek was responsible for a significant geographic territory, including portions of Lycoming County and Snyder, Union, Montour and Northumberland Counties in their entirety. See (Rec. Doc. No. 28-3, pp. 7-8).
Prior to his employment with defendant, Knight studied marketing and small business management at Bob Jones University for four (4) years and amassed approximately eight (8) years of mortgage services industry experience. See (Rec. Doc. No. 28-12, pp. 3-4, 6-7). This included twenty-seven (27) months of mortgage origination experience, see (id. at 3), twenty-two (22) of which were spent working for two (2) national mortgage lenders, Washington Mutual and Wells Fargo, where Knight received the regional top producer awards in 2001 and 2002. (Id. at p. 6),*fn5 in State College. (Rec. Doc. No. 20, p. 8, ¶ 52); see (Rec. Doc. No. 28-12, pp. 3, 6-7). In these positions, he focused mainly on subprime lending products. (Rec. Doc. No. 28-3, p. 18). Although JSSB did not market these commodities, instead focusing on Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency ("PHFA") loans with which Knight had no experience, (Rec. Doc. No. 28-6, p. 5), "anyone in [the mortgage] industry would realize that subprime lending is a lot harder than conventional lending." (Rec. Doc. No. 28-3, p. 18). Furthermore, the contacts necessary to generate business from either product are the same. (Rec. Doc. No. 28-6, p. 5).
In granting Knight's $48,000 yearly salary demand, (Rec. Doc. No. 20, p. 9, ¶ 63),*fn6 the Bank also considered that he earned a commission-based salary of between $60,000 and $72,000 during his final year of employment at Washington Mutual. (Rec. Doc. No. 20, p. 9, ¶¶ 60-61; Rec. Doc. No. 27, p. 11, ¶ 60). The Bank believed that Knight's success based in the State College market and his contacts therein would be valuable assets to its SCO. (Rec. Doc. No. 20, p. 9, ¶ 62). Moreover, JSSB thought that "wage pressures" within the marketplace indicated that it needed to increase salaries to recruit "producers" successfully. See (Rec. Doc. No. 22-3, p. 31).
During his first and only full fiscal year at JSSB, the Bank set Knight's production goal at $9 million. (Rec. Doc. No. 28-14, p. 3). Glodek's goal was set at $6.1 million for the same time period. (Id. at p. 2). Neither individual reached his or her target, producing $7,067,546 and $4,122,250, respectively. (Rec. Doc. No. 28-10, p. 5). For the 2004-05 fiscal year, the Bank's goal for Knight was $12.5 million, (Rec. Doc. No. 28-14, p. 5), and $7.345 million for Glodek. (Id. at p. 4). The loan report issued following Glodek's resignation indicated that Knight had outperformed Glodek through April 2005, $1,574,385 to $1,415,700. (Rec. Doc. No. 28-10, p. 6).
Regarding the MO staff as a whole, Brenda Thompson Bryerton, consistently the most productive MO, (Rec. Doc. No. 28-10, pp. 2-6), commanded the highest salary in the department until Knight was hired in October 2003. See (Rec. Doc. No. 28-8, p. 2). In January 2004, Bryerton reemerged as the highest paid MO, remaining so throughout the times relevant to this case. See (id.). However, no other female MO was paid more than a male counterpart, see (id.), production notwithstanding, see (Rec. Doc. No. 28-10, pp. 2-6), until 2007. See (Rec. Doc. No. 28-8, p. 2). Some of these MOs, including Kim Walker, Gail Rice and Stacy Anderson, advanced into their positions from other departments or positions within the bank. (Rec. Doc. No. 20, p. 4, ¶¶ 20-21). As a result, their lack of sales experience, product knowledge and/or book of business was taken into account in establishing their initial salaries. (Id. at 21). However, following 2004, in which Knight closed $7,067,546 worth of loans and Walker closed $13,179,795, having closed $12,986,146 in loans the previous year, Knight's 2005 salary exceeded Walker's by $11,274 and Glodek's by $16,412. See (Rec. Doc. No. 28-8, p. 2).
III. Plaintiff's EPA Claim
Claims brought under the EPA involve a two-step burden shifting standard.Plaintiff bears the initial burden of demonstrating a prima facie case that "employees of the opposite sex were paid differently for performing equal work . . . of substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility, under similar working conditions." See Stanziale v. Jargowsky, 200 F.3d 101, 107 (3d Cir. 2000); see also 29 C.F.R. § 1620.14(a).*fn7 In addition to similar working conditions, we have previously noted that "[t]hese three terms-skill, effort, responsibility-'constitute separate tests, each of which must be met in ...