Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
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.

Shipe v. Haverford Township

February 16, 2010

IRENE SHIPE
v.
HAVERFORD TOWNSHIP
ROBERT LAWSON
v.
HAVERFORD TOWNSHIP



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Surrick, J.

MEMORANDUM

Irene Shipe and Robert Lawson (collectively, "Plaintiffs") filed this action against Haverford Township ("Defendant") alleging age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq., and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA"), 43 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 951 et seq. Presently before the Court is the Township of Haverford's Motion for Summary Judgment. (Doc. No. 11.)*fn1 For the following reasons, the Motion will be granted.

I. BACKGROUND

A. Irene Shipe

Irene Shipe was born on September 28, 1941. (Shipe Dep. 9:13-15.) In or around 1990, Shipe began working for Defendant as a switchboard operator. (Id. at 29:16-19.) After briefly assuming responsibilities as the secretary to the township administrative secretary, Shipe obtained a position as the secretary to the safety director. (Id. at 29:20-30:7.) In 1996, Shipe took over as safety director for Haverford Township. (Doc. No. 11, Ex. Q at 11.)

Shipe's responsibilities as safety director included hiring and supervising crossing guards and meter officers, researching and writing ordinances for the signage in the township, approving handicapped spaces at homes, generating accident and injury reports for the police department and township employees, approving block party permits, and holding semiannual auctions of recovered but unclaimed stolen bikes. (Shipe Dep. 12:20-13:5.) Shipe also acted as a liaison to PENNDOT for road surveys, met with civic councils and parent-teacher organizations, and organized safety assemblies at Haverford schools. (Id. at 13:15-14:9.) Shipe's salary as of her date of termination was approximately $52,000 per year. (Id. at15:7-10.) Defendant paid 75% of Shipe's salary, with the remaining 25% paid by the school district. (Id. at 15:11-21.)

Shipe testified that she had heard several comments about her age from township employees. A meter officer named Frank McGrath told her that a commissioner had asked him when Shipe planned to retire. (Id. at 32:12-33:7.) Other unidentified persons asked whether Shipe was collecting social security or a pension. (Id. at 32:1-4.) After Shipe was involved in a car accident, another unidentified person suggested that Shipe should take a driving test due to her age. (Id. at 32:5-11.)

Defendant terminated Shipe's employment on December 31, 2007. (Id. at 12:8-11.)

B. Robert Lawson

Robert Lawson was born on October 4, 1942. (Doc. No. 11, Ex. Q at 7.) Defendant hired him as a laborer in its highway department in 1966. (Lawson Dep. 15:17-16:5.) Lawson was eventually promoted to assistant highway inspector. (Id. at 12:19-22.) He was promoted to highway inspector on November 10, 2005, upon the death of the previous highway inspector. (Id. at 13:8-14; Doc. No. 11, Ex. Q at 7.)

Lawson's duties as highway inspector included inspecting roads, sidewalks, and curbs for potholes and deterioration, monitoring occupancy on roads, ensuring that contractors had the appropriate licenses and permits, interfacing with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development regarding highway repaving, compiling lists of roads to be repaved, pricing road repairs with contractors, and submitting plans for road repairs to the township commissioners for approval. (Lawson Dep. 16:6-23.) He also supervised contractors, PECO employees, sewer contractors, and any others who were paving roads or sidewalks. (Id. at 21:3-19.) Lawson's salary was approximately $40,000 per year. (Doc. No. 11 Ex. Q at 7.)

In November 2007, Lawson began to hear rumors from several sources that his position would be terminated in the 2008 budget. (Lawson Dep. 33:12-19.) Defendant terminated Lawson's employment on December 31, 2007. (Id. at 12:7-10.) Approximately four weeks after terminating Lawson's employment, Defendant offered Lawson a position as a night watchman. (Id. at 69:18-71:3.) Lawson turned down the position because it required heavy lifting, which he was incapable of doing, and required him to obtain a commercial driver's license, which he believed he would be unable to obtain due to his diabetes. (Id. 71:4-72:15.) Lawson is currently unemployed. (Id. 11:10-15.)

C. Circumstances Surrounding Plaintiffs' Termination

In 2005, Defendant commissioned an operational efficiency audit by Econsult Corporation, an independent consultant. Econsult's audit report recommended the creation of a new director of public safety position that would oversee the police department, fire department, and paramedics. The director of public safety would also act as assistant township manager, and the police chief, fire marshal, and paramedic director would report to the new director. (Doc. No. 11, Ex. F at 8-9.) The report also recommended that the existing director of public safety position, which was occupied by Shipe, be eliminated because "that function [could] be handled by administrative staff." (Id. at 9.) The report made no mention of the highway inspector position occupied by Lawson. Defendant did not create the new director of public safety position recommended by Econsult, and ...


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.