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On an appeal from a summary judgment and order, the reviewing court must consider the facts in a light most favorable to the opposing party.
Appellant, Catherine Swenson, first worked for Northern Crop Insurance, Inc., (NCI) as a clerk/secretary. Appellant was promoted as the office manager, subsequent to her promotion, her salary increased. Appellee, John Krabseth, NCI’s general manager, allegedly continued making derogatory and sexist comments to appellant concerning her gender. As the company grows, appellee initiated a plan to expand and reorganize the office structure. Appellant contends that in conjunction with this reorganization, appellee demoted appellant to clerk/secretary position, paying her less than she made in the same position before. Appellee also hired two young men at a higher rate than appellant. During this time, appellee allegedly began purposefully avoiding appellant, refusing to speak with her about her employment at NCI. It was also at this time that appellant returned to treatment and counseling for her alcoholism. Appellant believed that she was experiencing so much stress at work that she needed counseling and treatment to keep from drinking again. Appellee denied the allegations claiming that the appellant was simply deficient in the necessary qualifications for an upper-level position. Appellant brought an action against her employer for gender discrimination, equal pay violations, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. The trial court granted summary judgment on all three claims in favor of her employer. Appellant challenged the order.
Did the trial court err in granting the summary judgment on all claims in favor of the employer?
The court affirmed the grant of summary judgment on the gender discrimination claim, holding that the provisions of N.D. Cent. Code § 14-02.4 did not apply to the employer at the time of the alleged conduct. The court reversed summary judgment on the equal pay claim, holding that material facts were in dispute under N.D. Cent. Code § 34-06.1. Finally, summary judgment was reversed on the emotional distress claim, because reasonable minds could have differed as to whether the employer's conduct was extreme and outrageous. The court then remanded the case to the trial court on the issues of equal pay and intentional infliction of emotional distress.