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KYRIAZI v. WESTERN ELEC. CO.

September 13, 1979

KYRIAKI CLEO KYRIAZI, Plaintiff,
v.
WESTERN ELECTRIC CO., et al., Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: STERN

This Court has held, in Kyriazi v. Western Electric, 461 F. Supp. 894 (D.N.J.1978), that the defendant Western Electric discriminated against the named plaintiff in this class action, Kyriaki Cleo Kyriazi, and against women as a class, *fn1" in violation of Title VII. In addition, it found that the individual defendants, several of Kyriazi's co-workers, were liable to her under federal and state law. *fn2" The Court must now determine Kyriazi's remedy.

The facts of Kyriazi "s individual case, as found by this Court, together with the facts found in the class case, are set forth in Kyriazi v. Western Electric, supra. Briefly, as they pertain to the individual claim, they may be summarized as follows.

 Kyriazi, a native of Greece, received a B.S. in Economics from the School of Economics in Athens, Greece in 1952. She emigrated to the United States in 1958. In 1961 she received a Master of Business Administration from Columbia University and in 1965 she received a Master of Industrial Engineering Degree, also from Columbia. She was hired by Western in 1965 as an engineer in the Information Systems field at Western's headquarters in New York, and was transferred to the Industrial Engineering organization of Western's Kearny plant in February, 1966. In May, 1967, she was promoted to the position of Industrial Engineer and in February, 1969, she was transferred to the Information Systems organization at Kearny, where she held the position of Information Systems Staff member. She remained in that capacity until she was fired on November 19, 1971.

 As this Court observed of Western's treatment of Kyriazi in connection with the liability stage of Kyriazi "s individual case:

 
From the very first, Kyriazi's experience with Western was fraught with difficulties. . . . (T)he Court finds that upon her transfer to the Kearny plant, Kyriazi encountered the top-to-bottom discriminatory sex policies of Western; that she refused to function within the sex segregated role expected of an employee at Western; that she actively protested and rebelled against what she perceived to be the unfair treatment of women at Western; and that in return she was denied promotion, discriminated against by her superiors, unfairly denied salary increases, subjected to odious personal harassment by fellow workers and, finally, fired when, instead of complying with her employer's ultimatum that she seek psychiatric help, she formally complained of sex discrimination.

 461 F. Supp. at 924-26. Accordingly, after resolving much of the conflicting evidence in Kyriazi's favor, the Court found that Kyriazi was underpaid, that she was harassed by her co-workers, that she was denied promotions all on account of her sex and that she was ultimately terminated by Western both on account of her sex and in retaliation for having lodged a formal complaint of sex discrimination. In addition, the Court found that the individual defendants, Kyriazi's supervisors and co-workers during the period in question, were liable to her under state law for tortious interference with her contract of employment based upon the odious personal harassment they inflicted on her during her tenure at the Information Systems organization at Kearny. *fn3"

 The Court has determined on the basis of evidence adduced at both stages of Kyriazi's individual case that the male most comparable to Kyriazi is her former co-worker in Information Systems, Shen T. Liu. *fn4" Both individuals emigrated to the United States as adults, and English is a native language to neither. Both received their bachelor's degrees from foreign universities, and their Master's degrees in this country (Kyriazi from Columbia; Liu from Rutgers). Both entered Information Systems organization at approximately the same time: Liu in 1968, Kyriazi in 1969; by May 1969, both were Staff members. Finally, both worked on the same project in Information Systems. Adjustments must be made to reflect that Kyriazi is approximately ten years older than Liu, and that she had been at Western for an additional three years. A comparison of the salaries of Liu and Kyriazi when both were employed at Kearny makes clear that Kyriazi's age and experience were not given proper consideration. *fn5" Although Kyriazi was rated lower than Liu, this Court has already held that such ratings must be disregarded where they are tainted with unlawful considerations:

 TABLE

 
Where the evidence indicates that supervisors are conscientiously and fairly attempting such evaluations, their conclusions are entitled to great weight. Subjective perceptions will vary. A perfect evaluation is not required, even if it were attainable.
 
But when, as here, an employee has demonstrated that her supervisors were unlawfully discriminating against her, then their ratings and rankings are no longer presumptively valid. It falls upon them, in such circumstances, and upon their employer, to demonstrate the Bona fides of low rankings awarded by supervisors . . . No satisfactory evidence in support of the . . . evaluations of Kyriazi was offered to the Court by Western.

 461 F. Supp. at 943.

 Kyriazi's damages, therefore, will be determined as follows. During the period prior to Kyriazi's termination, she will be ranked the same as Liu except, of course, in those periods in which she received a higher rating. *fn6" The salary which Kyriazi should have received is that which Liu received, adjusted to reflect that Kyriazi was 9 1/2 years older than Liu and three years senior in service, and at times had a higher rating. Her award for the period prior to her termination is the difference between the aggregate wages she would have received using this computation and her actual wages.

 The Court notes, however, that while Liu is the most similar to Kyriazi within the small universe of males with whom Kyriazi worked while she was at Western, a continued comparison of the two after she left Western would be most unfair to Kyriazi. After Kyriazi's departure from Western in November of 1971, Liu's ratings dropped to "C". Apparently because of this decline in ratings, Liu was not promoted to Senior. For the period following her termination, Kyriazi should not be shackled with Liu's descending career. Kyriazi's ratings and ranking from 1971 on will be fixed at what we have determined they should have been upon her termination in ...


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