Before: STAPLETON, McKEE and GIBSON *fn*, Circuit Judges
(Filed February 16, 1995)
APPEAL FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE WESTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
We are asked to determine whether the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution bars a federal court from considering an age discrimination claim against the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Labor and Industry ("Commonwealth"), that was acting in its capacity as an "employment agency" under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. Section(s) 621, et seq., when the alleged discrimination occurred. We must also determine whether the Eleventh Amendment bars an equitable award of "front pay" against the Commonwealth and its officials under 42 U.S.C. Section(s) 1983. Because we conclude that Congress has not abrogated the Eleventh Amendment's grant of constitutional immunity to states while acting as employment agencies under the ADEA, we will affirm the district court's finding that plaintiffs' ADEA claims are barred by the Eleventh Amendment. Furthermore, because we conclude that plaintiffs' equitable "front pay" claims under Section(s) 1983 seek monetary compensation to remedy a past wrong, we will affirm the district court's finding that the Eleventh Amendment bars those claims. Finally, we conclude that plaintiffs' remaining declaratory and injunctive claims under Section(s) 1983 have been rendered moot.
The facts relevant to this appeal are easily summarized. In January 1988, the United States Steel Corporation ("USX") placed its Vandergrift, Pennsylvania plant in an idled status and stopped manufacturing or shipping products from the facility. Allegheny Ludlum Corporation ("Allegheny Ludlum") negotiated with USX and purchased the plant in June, 1988. In order to initially staff the facility, Allegheny Ludlum decided to hire fifty-five hourly employees from amongst the 125 who had previously worked at the plant. Accordingly, Allegheny Ludlum entered into an agreement with the United Steelworkers of America ("USWA") pursuant to which Allegheny Ludlum established a preferential hiring list for former Vandergrift employees who were USWA members (the "Agreement"). The Agreement gave Allegheny Ludlum the absolute right to select and assign thirty of the initial fifty-five hires. The remaining twenty-five were to be selected on the basis of continuous service, provided that they demonstrated the requisite skills for anticipated tasks.
The Job Services offices of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania function as a no-fee employment service to bring employers and job seekers together. The offices administer a General Aptitude Test Battery ("GATB") for use in referring applicants to cooperating companies that are looking for workers. The GATB consists of twelve separately timed tests which purportedly measure a broad range of occupationally relevant cognitive, perceptual and psychomotor skills. In June 1988, Allegheny Ludlum requested the New Kensington and Kittanning Job Services offices to accept applications and administer GATB tests to those individuals on its preferential hiring list.
The instant litigation arose when a group of former USX employees over the age of forty filed a civil action for damages, declaratory and injunctive relief against Allegheny Ludlum, the USWA and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, Department of Labor and Industry, its Secretary and various employees ("the Commonwealth"). The Complaint alleged that the staffing of the Vandergrift facility violated the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. Section(s) 621, et seq.; the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. Section(s) 216 et seq.; the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, 29 U.S.C. Section(s) 1000 et seq.; the Labor Management Relations Act of 1947, 29 U.S.C. Section(s) 1985; the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act ("PHRA"), 43 P.S. Section(s) 951, et seq.; and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, actionable under 42 U.S.C. 1983. Plaintiffs brought suit as a class action under 29 U.S.C. 216(b). *fn1 The complaint alleged that the defendants' had discriminated against the employees in the class on the basis of age by administering the GATB.
Following discovery, plaintiffs entered a sealed settlement agreement and stipulated to the dismissal of all claims against Allegheny Ludlum and the USWA. The remaining Commonwealth defendants then moved for summary judgment based upon the sovereign immunity enjoyed by the Job Services offices of the Commonwealth under the Eleventh Amendment. *fn2 The district court granted the Commonwealth's motion based upon sovereign immunity, and ruled that plaintiffs' remaining injunctive and declaratory claims against the Commonwealth had been rendered moot by the settlement agreement with Allegheny Ludlum and the USWA. This appeal followed.
We have jurisdiction over this appeal pursuant to 28 U.S.C. Section(s) 1291. Dismissal of an action based upon sovereign immunity is subject to plenary review by this Court. Fitchik v. New Jersey Transit Rail Operations, 873 F.2d 655, 658 (3d Cir. 1989), cert denied, 493 U.S. 850, 110 S.Ct. 148, 107 L.Ed.2d 107 (1989). The district court's decision that this case is moot is also subject to plenary review. Northeast Women's Center, Inc. v. McMonagle, 939 F.2d 57, 61 (3d Cir. 1991).
The Eleventh Amendment of the United States ...