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Lois Sieklik, Avinash Delroy v. State of New Jersey

April 19, 2012

LOIS SIEKLIK, AVINASH DELROY, SUNDAY OMOLOYIN AND THOMAS ADEOGUN, PLAINTIFFS-APPELLANTS, AND CAROLE AYRES, LILA STOUT, WILLIAM SCHWARTZ, THERESA MARKEL, ALEXANDRIA GILLELAND, ETHEL WHITE, DIANA TALBERT, ANNE GREY AND DONITA ANDERSON, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
STATE OF NEW JERSEY, DEFENDANT-RESPONDENT.



On appeal from the Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Mercer County, Docket No. L-212-08.

Per curiam.

NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued: February 29, 2012

Before Judges Cuff, Waugh and St. John.

Plaintiffs Lois Sieklik, Avinash Delroy, Sunday Omoloyin, and Thomas Adeogun, all Assistant Directors of Nursing employed by defendant State of New Jersey at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital (Greystone) and all between the ages of sixty-two and sixty-five, allege they are paid less and treated differently than others who share the same title due to their age. Plaintiffs filed a complaint alleging age discrimination in pay pursuant to N.J.S.A. 10:5-4.*fn1 They appeal from an order granting summary judgment to defendant. We affirm.

On appeal, this court reviews an order granting summary judgment pursuant to the same standard as the motion judge. Prudential Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co. v. Boylan, 307 N.J. Super. 162, 167 (App. Div.), certif. denied, 154 N.J. 608 (1998). Therefore, we must determine whether "the competent evidential materials presented, when viewed in the light most favorable to the non-moving party, are sufficient to permit a rational factfinder to resolve the alleged disputed issue in favor of the non-moving party." Brill v. Guardian Life Ins. Co. of Am., 142 N.J. 520, 540 (1995). Here, the facts are not disputed. The only issue before this court is whether the motion judge properly applied the governing law to the facts. We review questions of law de novo. Manalapan Realty, L.P. v. Twp. Comm. of Manalapan, 140 N.J. 366, 378 (1995).

Each plaintiff holds the title of Assistant Director of Nursing (ADON). Plaintiff Adeogun was promoted to ADON in 1989; Delroy in 1995; Sieklik in 1998; and Omoloyin in 2002. Plaintiffs Adeogun and Delroy are sixty-four years of age; Sieklik is sixty-five, and Omoloyin is sixty-two.

Until 2007, the ADON title was considered a management position, as a result of which they were not represented by a union and their salaries were not subject to negotiation between the State and a union. They did not receive annual salary increments and did not always receive cost-of-living increases. In 2007, the ADON title ceased to be considered a management position and plaintiffs began to be represented by Local 1040 of the Communications Workers of America (CWA). The position below ADON is Supervisor of Nursing Services (SNS). The employees in this position have been and continue to be represented by the CWA. Persons occupying the SNS title received periodic salary increments and cost-of-living salary increases. Accordingly, the pay differential between the ADON and SNS titles narrowed over the years.

The first contract negotiated on behalf of the ADONs provided for automatic salary increases for those with salaries that fell between established salary steps and a salary step increase. These provisions did not account, however, for those promoted to the position before 2006.

As of August 2010, Greystone employed thirteen ADONs ranging in age from forty-one to sixty-four. Below is the current list of ADONs sorted first by age, then by salary, then by promotion date.

NAME AGE*fn2

DATE OF

EMPLOYMENT

...


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