New York antidiscrimination law by publishing the statement to potential employees, was asserted without the citation of any supporting case law. As a matter of fact, given the case law, plaintiffs' argument seems very weak. As has been established, the measures (i.e. the publishing of the statement) taken by PA directors and commissioners are not necessarily binding on PA since governors of either state have the authority to overturn any PA measure and since only the state legislatures, working bilaterally, have the authority to enlarge the responsibilities of PA. Hess, 130 L. Ed. 2d at 253.
Plaintiffs cite a case to support their last argument that because New York and New Jersey laws against age discrimination are parallel, they are applicable to PA. In Bunk v. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, 144 N.J. 176, 676 A.2d 118 (1996), the court found that "the corollary of the proposition that neither state may unilaterally impose its legislative will on the bi-state agency is that the agency may be subject to complimentary or parallel state legislation." 144 N.J. at 184 (emphasis added). However, in New York it has been established that in order for a law to be applicable to PA, the statute must expressly state that the "legislation [is] amending a certain portion of the "Compact" and that the new law would take effect upon the enactment into law by New Jersey of legislation having an effect identical to New York's legislation." Malverty v. Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor, 71 N.Y.2d 977, 979, 529 N.Y.S.2d 67, 524 N.E.2d 421 (1988) (emphasis added). For New York, "that the two states have evinced the same, or similar, public policy regarding employment opportunities...by enacting similar "antidiscrimination" laws is not sufficient under the express terms of the "Compact," Id., to make PA subject to the law of either state. Although the statutes at issue in this case are similar, neither expressly states that they are adding to PA responsibilities nor do they even make mention of the bistate agency.
In this case, the court should keep in mind that when it is called upon to apply state law, the court must be guided by the decisions of the highest court in the state. Erie R.R. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64, 82 L. Ed. 1188, 58 S. Ct. 817 (1938). Despite the contrasting decisions of the lower New York and New Jersey courts on the issue of whether their respective antidiscrimination laws apply to PA, it does seem that the New York position, that the statute does not apply to PA unless it expressly states that it is amending the compact and delegating new responsibilities to PA and is coupled with the adoption of parallel legislation in New Jersey, is more in line with the language of the Compact.
Moreover, it appears that there is disagreement in New Jersey between the state courts and the federal courts as to whether New Jersey Law Against Discrimination is applicable to PA. see, King v. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, 909 F. Supp. 938, 945 (D.N.J. 1995), aff'd. 106 F.3d 385 (3rd Cir. 1996) (New Jersey LAD is inapplicable to Port Authority).
The absence from the text and legislative history of Human Rights Law and LAD of any mention of PA, in addition to the absence of an express statement by either state legislature that it was amending or supplementing the provisions of the Compact and that the law would take effect upon the enactment of identical legislation in the opposite state, seems to indicate that neither New York nor New Jersey legislatures intended the laws to apply to the internal operations of PA. see, Malverty, 71 N.Y.2d at 980. Furthermore, in accordance with Chevron. U.S.A. Inc., v. Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc., 467 U.S. 837, 81 L. Ed. 2d 694, 104 S. Ct. 2778 (1984), which held that courts must give substantial weight to statutory interpretation by the agency charged with administering the statute, this court should note that in Frank v. Port Authority (Case No. 1a-E-A-80-71767, August, 11, 1980), the DHR declined to hear a Human Rights Law claim brought against PA, stating as its reason the fact that DHR did not have jurisdiction over the PA due to PA's bistate status.
Citing an EEOC regulation as their support, defendants, in this matter, argue that since neither state agency has jurisdiction over PA, the 300 day extension is not triggered, thereby making plaintiffs' complaints time barred for failing to file their charges with the EEOC within the 180 day period. The EEOC regulation establishes that:
A jurisdiction having a FEP agency without subject matter jurisdiction over a charge (e.g., an agency which does not cover sex discrimination or does not cover nonprofit organizations) is equivalent to a jurisdiction having no FEP agency. Charges over which a FEP agency has no subject matter jurisdiction are filed with the Commission upon receipt and are timely filed if received by the Commission within 180 days from the date of the alleged violation. 29 C.F.R. s 1601.13(a)(2).
The Supreme Court has made clear that EEOC's interpretation of Title VII and its terms is afforded great deference. see, EEOC v. Commercial Office Products Co., 486 U.S. 107, 115, 100 L. Ed. 2d 96, 108 S. Ct. 1666 (1988); Oscar Mayer & Co. v. Evans, 441 U.S. 750, 761, 60 L. Ed. 2d 609, 99 S. Ct. 2066 (1979); Chevron, 467 U.S. at 843-844. Therefore, as to the matter before the court, since case law and the Compact strongly suggest that neither the New York nor New Jersey antidiscrimination agencies has jurisdiction over PA, defendants' partial motion for summary judgment to dismiss plaintiffs' Title VII and ADEA claims for failing to file a charge with the EEOC in a timely fashion (i.e. the 180 day period) is granted as a matter of law.
Additionally, since New York and New Jersey do not have jurisdiction over PA, this court grants defendants' partial summary judgment motion as to the New York HRL and New Jersey LAD claims.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
June 29, 1997
Constance Baker Motley
Parties in the above captioned matter are notified that, in accordance with the attached memorandum opinion, defendants' motion for partial summary judgment in regards to plaintiffs' Title VII, ADEA, and state claims is GRANTED
NEW YORK, NEW YORK
June 29, 1997
Constance Baker Motley