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Horner v. Mary Institute

613 F.2d 706 (1980)

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Horner v. Mary Institute

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit

613 F.2d 706 (1980)

Facts

Arlene Horner (plaintiff) was hired as a physical-education teacher in the middle and upper schools at Mary Institute (defendant) starting with the 1974–1975 school year. The headmaster offered Horner a starting salary of $7,500, which she accepted. Three other physical-education teachers, two males and one female, were hired the same year and offered comparable salaries. One of the males, Ralph Thorne, rejected the initial offer and ultimately accepted a renewed offer of $9,000. Horner and Thorne had roughly comparable experience and qualifications. In their new roles, Thorne was responsible for developing a new curriculum in the lower school, and Horner was responsible for teaching an existing curriculum in the middle and upper schools. Over the next three years, Thorne received salary increases ranging from $200 to $800 higher than those received by Horner. The administration was pleased with Thorne’s performance, which included assuming several extra initiatives or duties, while Horner reportedly lacked enthusiasm and did not take on extra initiatives or duties until later years. Data from the Mary Institute pension fund revealed higher average salaries for male employees but included the lower salaries of about 12 female clerical workers. Horner sued Mary Institute for violation of the Equal Pay Act of 1963. After trial, the district court entered judgment for Mary Institute, finding that Horner’s job was not substantially equal to Thorne’s and, even if it was, any differential was based on factors other than sex. Horner appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Stephenson, J.)

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