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But Belfi did not then receive an increase in her salary. The LIRR next points out that due to financial constraints in 19 no merit increases were awarded to employees under the Salary Plan.
On July 16, 1990 plaintiff received a permanent appointment to her current position of Office Engineer-Signal in the Signal Department. General Standards The Equal Pay Act, passed by Congress in 1963, prohibits employers from discriminating among employees on the basis of sex by paying higher wages to employees of the opposite sex for “equal work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions.” 29 U. In 1993 the employer awarded a uniform 4 percent merit increase, received by both Hughes and Belfi.
Plaintiff later also discovered a substantial disparity between her salary and that of Gary Barnett, the office engineer hired to replace Fishman. Ed.2d 668 (1973), to the employer to “articulate some legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason for the [negative decision affecting an employee].” Id. First, when the minimum salary for the temporary position plaintiff held-Office Engineer-Communications-was increased on January 1, 1990, Belfi was not paid this new minimum salary.
Throughout this period, she communicated with her union representative, who filed grievances on her behalf. The reason given by the railroad was its salary policy that requires an employee to have been in the position, whether temporary or permanent, for one year in order to be entitled to the minimum salary.
Although the position is union-represented, in 1986 the NTSA entered into an agreement with the LIRR that placed NTSA members under the Salary Administration Plan (Salary Plan) applicable to LIRR managerial employees. In June 1994 the LIRR hired Barnett to replace the retiring Fishman as Office Engineer-Electric Traction.
Thus, wage adjustments after 1986 were determined by the railroad under an annual evaluation plan rather than under the collective bargaining agreement with the NTSA. As noted, Barnett's starting salary as an office engineer was ,249, ,000 more than Belfi's salary at that time.
Her starting salary at the permanent position remained the minimum, ,691 per year while the salaries of her two male peers-Office Engineer-Communications and Office Engineer-Electric Traction-were ,794 and ,046 respectively. Salary Scheme The LIRR employs three individuals who hold the title of office engineer, one each for the Signal Department, the Communications Department, and the Electric Traction Department. Under the 1994 plan that allowed for maximum merit increases of 6 percent, Belfi received an increase of 4.5 percent and Hughes received one of 3 percent.
The position of office engineer is clerical in nature and is represented by the National Transportation Supervisors' Association (NTSA). The railroad contends that over time, if the Plan received adequate funding from New York State, plaintiff would have consistently received greater increases than Hughes, so that her salary would eventually have approached his.
Rinfret had been an office engineer for six years; Fishman had been one for four years and four months; and Hughes had held the title for one year and eight months. In granting summary judgment to defendant the district court obviously concluded plaintiff had not shown pretext.
Before selecting Barnett for the position of Office Engineer-Electric Traction, the railroad interviewed nine people. Second, between June 1994 and January 1995 plaintiff's salary was ,000 less than that of Gary Barnett, who was brought in as a new hire to the position Office Engineer-Electric Traction to replace Fishman, who had retired.
Defendant asserts that it was necessary to pay Barnett ,249 to induce him to accept the position. We have emphasized that the trial court must be especially cautious in deciding whether to grant this drastic provisional remedy in a discrimination case, because the employer's intent is often at issue and careful scrutiny may reveal circumstantial evidence supporting an inference of discrimination. We agree with the trial court's characterization of this pay disparity as “unfortunate,” but we think such disparity may also constitute proof of pretext when the basis for the employer's decision is analyzed.
Barnett was hired at a salary of ,249, ,000 more than Belfi's salary and ,931 more than the minimum for the position. The plaintiff shoulders the ultimate burden of proving that the employer's articulated reason was pretextual. Other evidence presented by plaintiff convinces us that there exist genuine issues of material fact regarding pretext sufficient to preclude a grant of summary judgment.
Barnett had been an acting office engineer since November 15, 1993, although he formally held the title of third railman, a position represented by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. Procedural History In October 1992 Belfi first became aware that the salaries of the two male office engineers at that time, Fishman and Hughes, were substantially higher than her salary. Although it appears there are a number of such disputed issues, we will focus on three.
In 1993 the LIRR Salary Plan provided a 4 percent merit increase for all employees covered by the plan, rather than individual assessments of merit. It placed weight on the fact that the transition to the Hay method preceded Belfi's promotion to office engineer by four years.