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Federal Court Dismisses Age, Race Discrimination Lawsuit by Laid Off Employee

July 27, 2005

On July 22, 2005, Judge Deborah A. Batts of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granted KM&M's motion for summary judgment, dismissing age and race discrimination claims brought by an employee laid off in the course of her employer's restructuring of its operations.

KM&M's client is a not-for-profit public interest advocacy organization. The plaintiff, a 49-year-old Hispanic female, was employed as a computer operator in the information services department. Plaintiff's position was eliminated when the employer restructured its computer operations by shifting from the use of a mainframe computer to a system of individual personal computers. Although invited to apply for a related, newly-created position, plaintiff failed to do so. Instead, plaintiff filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and eventually filed suit in U.S. District Court, alleging that she was laid off because of her race and age, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and New York State and City discrimination laws.

At the conclusion of discovery, the employer moved for summary judgment. The plaintiff raised a number of issues which she claimed required a trial. She argued, for example, that the employer failed to follow its policies concerning termination procedures; she also asserted that the employer did not consider her for rehire in the newly-created position. However, the Court rejected all of these contentions, finding that the employer's alleged deviation from its procedures was not evidence of discrimination and that the plaintiff's failure to apply for the new position barred her claim. Accordingly, the Court granted summary judgment in favor of the employer, dismissing the action in its entirety.