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Rebouche v. Deere & Co.

United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

May 26, 2015

Delyorce Raye Rebouche, Plaintiff - Appellant
v.
Deere & Company, also known as John Deere Company; Rodger Burris, Individual; Bruce Boardman, Individual, Defendants - Appellees

Submitted: March 24, 2015.

Page 1084

Appeal from United States District Court for the Northern District of Iowa, Waterloo.

For Delyorce Raye Rebouche, Plaintiff - Appellant: Amy B. Pellegrin, Gregory Thomas Racette, Patrick Thomas Vint, HOPKINS & HUEBNER, Des Moines, IA.

For Deere & Company, also known as John Deere Company, Rodger Burris, Individual, Bruce Boardman, Individual, Defendants - Appellees: Frances M. Haas, Attorney, NYEMASTER & GOODE, Cedar Rapids, IA; Frank Boyd Harty, Debra Lynne Hulett, Ryan W. Leemkuil, Angel A. West, NYEMASTER & GOODE, Des Moines, IA.

Before RILEY, Chief Judge, COLLOTON and KELLY, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 1085

KELLY, Circuit Judge.

Delyorce Raye Rebouche brought claims pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a), and the Iowa Civil Rights Act (ICRA), Iowa Code § 216.6(1)(a), alleging that her employer, Deere & Company a/k/a John Deere Company (Deere), and individuals Rodger Burris and Bruce Boardman (collectively, Defendants) discriminated against her on the basis of sex. She also alleged that the 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-3(a) and Iowa Code § 216.11(2). The district court[1] granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants on all claims. Having jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1291, we affirm.

I. Background

Rebouche began working for Deere on October 31, 1977, as a " technician" at the pay level of Grade 4. Three years later she was elevated to Grade 5, still at the level of technician. In 1981, she was promoted to " senior technician" at Grade 6. In 1988, she was elevated to Grade 7 and began working in failure analysis as a chemical/metallurgical engineer. According to Rebouche, she was twice passed over for the position of supervisor of the lab in which she worked, instead being asked to train the new male lab supervisors. During periods when the lab was between supervisors, she operated as the " unofficial supervisor of lab function" but was given no increase in pay or grade level. She reports that when her manager, Burris, formally put Robert Gottschalk in charge of running the lab, Gottschalk told Rebouche that he " didn't think it was right because [she] was most qualified for that position."

In 1998, Rebouche and three other women filed a complaint alleging gender discrimination with Deere human resources. Rebouche listed a number of instances in which Burris had treated women unfairly as compared to their male counterparts. Deere's human resources (HR) department investigated the complaints, and Burris was sent to a two-week sensitivity training. Burris admits that he was aware that a complaint was made against him regarding gender-based pay disparity but claims he was never told who had lodged the complaint. Deere's HR department ultimately concluded that the claims did not warrant further action.

Rebouche requested to be elevated to the level of Grade 8 sometime in 1998 or 1999, but her request was denied. She was told that workers must be in a supervisory position to receive a Grade 8 designation. She reports that a male colleague received a Grade 8 designation despite not having any supervisees. In 2001, Rebouche's job in failure analysis was eliminated as a result of downsizing, and she transferred to being a rubber specialist in the materials engineering group. Her salary, job grade, and position title remained the same. She was expected to complete some failure analysis duties on an overtime basis and was paid at the overtime rate for her work.

In 2002, Deere underwent a Global Jobs Evaluation (GJE) process, conducted by global consulting firm Hay Group. Deere hired Hay Group to implement their widely-used method of " mapping" currently existing jobs onto a smaller number of job titles. By the end of the GJE implementation in May 2004, 20,000 positions had been ...


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