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Donald C. Griffith v. Laborers International Union of North America

July 13, 2012

DONALD C. GRIFFITH
v.
LABORERS INTERNATIONAL UNION OF NORTH AMERICA, LOCAL NO. 1174



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

MEMORANDUM

July ___, 2012

Presently before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment (Doc. 17), Plaintiff's Response (Docs. 20, 21), and Defendant's Reply (Docs. 24, 25, 26). Upon consideration of the parties' motions with exhibits and declarations, the Court will grant Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.

I. BACKGROUND

This case arises out of alleged age discrimination. Plaintiff, Donald C. Griffith ("Griffith"), brings this action against Defendant Laborers International Union of North America, Local No. 1174 ("Local 1174", or the "Union"), alleging that Defendant violated both the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (the "ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act, 43 P.S. § 951 et seq. (the "PHRA") (Compl. ¶¶ 24, 33, 35.)*fn1

A. Plaintiff Griffith's Membership History with Local 1174

Plaintiff, a Pennsylvania resident, was born in 1953. At the time of the incidents complained of, Plaintiff was approximately fifty-three years of age.

Plaintiff initially became a member of Local 1174 more than ten (10) years ago. (Compl. ¶ 3.) Plaintiff regularly paid his monthly dues and was qualified for membership with Defendant. (Compl. ¶¶ 4-5.) Over time, Plaintiff noticed that Defendant's available work dramatically decreased. Therefore, Plaintiff returned to his former position as a full-time laborer at another company. (Compl. ¶¶ 6-7.) Plaintiff maintained his membership with Defendant while working for another employer. (Compl. ¶ 8.)

In or around May 2007, Plaintiff put his name on the referral list ("the List") for the Defendant. (Compl. ¶ 9.) Plaintiff avers that ordinarily, Defendant issued job assignments based on the order that the names appear on the List. (Compl. ¶ 10.) It is Plaintiff's belief that the placement of names on the Defendant's List was determined by availability to do the job and when an individual placed his name on the List. (Compl. ¶11.) Sometime in spring of 2007 Defendant added Plaintiff's name to the referral List for job assignments. (Compl. ¶12.)

Plaintiff requested a copy of the List from Defendant's Business Manager, James Hartman. (Compl. ¶12.) On the List, Plaintiff's name appeared above other, younger workers. (Compl. ¶13.) Plaintiff avers that several workers with less availability and who were substantially younger than Plaintiff received more job assignments despite having lower placement on the List. (Compl. ¶14.) As a result, the majority of younger employees were given the possibility of job assignments before Plaintiff was given the same opportunities. (Compl. ¶15.)

Allegedly, Plaintiff's position on the List was bypassed and job assignments were given to younger workers, in violation of Defendant's own work rules for the List. (Compl. ¶16.) Plaintiff believes that Defendant showed a preference toward referring younger workers over himself in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.*fn2

B. Defendant Local 1174's Referral Procedures

Although as a general rule, referrals to job assignments were based on the order in which names appeared on Defendant's out-of-work lists, Defendant maintains that job assignments were issued in accordance with its full Referral Procedure, which allowed for certain exceptions. (Ans. ¶10.) Defendant's written Referral Procedure, made available to all members, set forth the procedures for referral of applicants seeking job referrals. Defendant avers that the Referral Procedure was followed with respect to all referrals for all applicants, including Plaintiff Griffith, during all periods relevant to this action. Id.

Defendant's Referral Procedure states, in relevant part:

c. Discretion of Employers: Applicants for referral must recognize that the employer shall be the sole judge of the number of employees required and shall have the right to reject on a lawful, non-discriminatory basis any person who has been referred by Local 1174. . . . .

4. Referral Procedure: . . . .

b. Local 1174 shall maintain an out-of-work list(s) within a Zone, for job referral registration on the basis of the Groups listed below. Each applicant shall be placed on the list(s) in the ...


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