United States District Court, W.D. Virginia, Big Stone Gap Division
P. Fishwick, Jr. and Monica L. Mroz, Fishwick &
Associates PLC, Roanoke, Virginia, for Plaintiff; Jim H.
Guynn, Jr., Guynn & Waddell, PC, Salem, Virginia, for
Defendant Dickenson County School Board
Melissa W. Robinson and Johneal M. White, Glenn Robinson
& Cathey, PLC, Roanoke, Virginia, for Defendants Susan
Mullins and Rocky Barton.
OPINION AND ORDER
P. Jones United States District Judge
employment discrimination case by a former Virginia public
school employee, the plaintiff asserts claims against the
school board, the school superintendant, and the individual
members of the board, based upon the Equal Pay Act, Title IX,
and 42 U.S.C. § 1983, as well as breach of contract. The
school board and certain of its members have moved to dismiss
pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6). For the reasons that follow, I
will deny the motions.
Complaint alleges the following facts, which I must accept as
true for the purpose of deciding the pending motions.
Debra Colley was employed by Dickenson County Public Schools
(“DCPS”) as the Supervisor of Instruction
Elementary/Secondary from 2007 until July 2015. She was one
of five employees classified as Supervisor/Central Office.
Colley's predecessor, a male, was the highest paid
supervisor for DCPS. When Colley took the position, she
became the lowest paid supervisor.
time she was hired, Colley was led to believe that all five
supervisor positions received similar salaries. However, two
of the male supervisors received large salary increases
around that time. She was not aware of this discrepancy.
Colley also expressed her concern over the disparity in
salary between supervisors and school principals, and
then-Superintendent Compton advised Colley that she would
address the pay scales. Another male supervisor complained to
Superintendant Compton about his salary and received a large
increase. Colley also complained to the new Superintendent
Robinson, who represented to Colley that she would try to
remedy the disparity. However, Colley received no salary
planned to retire in July 2015. Prior to her retirement,
Colley decided to address the salary issue with the Dickenson
County School Board (“School Board”). To prepare
for the meeting, Colley obtained a list of DCPS positions and
salaries. Colley learned from this list that since 2008,
three of the male supervisors, who performed work of equal or
similar difficulty, had higher salaries than Colley. In 2015,
the male salaries were each approximately eleven thousand
dollars greater than Colley's. Colley presented this
salary data to the School Board in April 2015.
2015, members of the School Board, as well as Superintendent
Robinson, told Colley that the School Board would correct the
pay discrepancy. Following the May 2015 School Board meeting,
the School Board attorney advised Colley that the School
Board had directed him to correct the salary issue. According
to the numbers calculated by the School Board clerk, the
total unpaid compensation owed to Colley for her last eight
years of employment was $90, 477.73. This disparity affects
her retirement amount, which is based on her three highest
salary years. The clerk also contacted the Virginia
Retirement System to begin facilitating the correction to
Colley's creditable compensation.
to the July 2015 School Board meeting, its attorney indicated
a range of compensation the School Board would approve, and
Colley stated that she would accept anything within that
range. However, after the July meeting, Superintendant
Robinson and the attorney advised Colley that the School
Board would not offer her any compensation. Colley's
successor, a male, was employed at a salary that was two
thousand dollars greater than Colley's at the time of her
alleges that the Superintendant, the School Board, and the
individual members of the School Board, were responsible for
setting and approving all supervisor salaries.
filed her Complaint on March 7, 2017, asserting four claims.
Count One is an Equal Pay Act claim brought against the
School Board regarding the disparity between Colley's
salary and the male supervisors. Count Two is a Title IX
claim against the School Board regarding the same salary
disparity. Count Three is a Fourteenth Amendment equal
protection claim brought pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983
against the School Board, the Superintendant, and members of
the School Board in their individual capacities. Count Four
is a breach of contract claim under state law against the
School Board has moved to dismiss Count Four of the
Complaint, and individual defendants Mullins and Barton have
moved to dismiss Count Three asserted against them
individually for failure to state claims upon which relief
can be granted. Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6). The ...