GOODMAN v. NATIONAL SECURITY AGENCY (September 3, 2010)

Claudette Goodman was hired in August 2004 as a private security guard by the National Security Agency (National). Her initial pay was $8.25 an hour. National assigned her to an overnight shift at a housing complex. For family reasons, Goodman desired a daytime shift. She soon transferred to a different location on the more desirable dayshift. Although she was promoted to supervisor with a raise to $8.75, her employment was not without problems. National had difficulty with its payroll -- paying late, paying less than owed, bouncing checks, etc. In mid-2005, she began suspecting that National paid its male employees more than she. The owner denied it. In any event, in October 2005, she found another job at $10.00 an hour and quit her job at National. She brought suit against National under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Judge Norgle (N.D. Ill.) granted summary judgment to the defendants. Goodman appeals.

In their opinion, Judges Rovner, Sykes, and Tinder affirmed. The Court first addressed her retaliation claims under both statutes. Goodman relied on three acts in support of her claims -- that her hours were reduced, that she was demoted, and that she was reassigned. Unfortunately, the evidence did not fully support the accuracy of her claims. For example, her own testimony was that her hours did not change and that she was never actually reassigned (only threatened). To the extent it did, she failed to establish any harm. Her testimony suffered from inconsistencies and a lack of clarity and was insufficient to support a retaliation claim. Goodman's equal pay claims suffered from the same lack of clarity in the record. She offered the testimony of Michael Moore, a male supervisor, in support of the claim. Upon close examination, and adjusting for confusion about certain dates, the Court concluded that the evidence established that Goodman was in fact paid more than Moore. Obviously, that was fatal to her Equal Pay Act claim.