UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK
May 3, 1984;
ANGELA DE LEO, Plaintiff, against UNITED STATES OLYMPIC COMMITTEE, Defendant.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: OWEN
AMENDED OPINION AND ORDER
OWEN, District Judge
Plaintiff alleges employment discrimination because of her sex. Defendant moves for summary judgment. In 1978 defendant United States Olympic Committee decided to move its headquarters from New York City to Colorado Springs, Colorado. At that time it had 31 employees, 19 male and 12 female. The accounts receivable were handled by two people. Helen Greifenstein was in charge and plaintiff Angela De Leo was her assistant. Plaintiff's duties were principally typing receipts and letters acknowledging contributions and tallying the contributions by states.
Of the 19 male employees, 11 were relocated to Colorado, and some were terminated. Of the 12 female employees, 4 were asked to relocate, 1 accepted and the rest were terminated. While plaintiff expressed some interest in relocating
she was eventually not given an offer. Thereafter, when the Colorado headquarters was finally in normal operation, a woman named Toni Sparks handled the accounts receivable. Ms. Sparks had been hired in Colorado but trained in New York by Ms. Greifenstein who had been asked to relocate but had declined. In Colorado, Mrs. De Leo's tasks having been computerized, there was no longer a need for an assistant in accounts receivable.
This action has had full discovery and although on the eve of trial, defendant has moved for summary judgment on the foregoing undisputed facts
asserting that in declining to relocate plaintiff, there was no unlawful discrimination against her because of her sex and that none of the fully-developed facts give rise to any such inference requiring a trial.
In McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 36 L. Ed. 2d 668, 93 S. Ct. 1817 (1973), the Supreme Court delineated the basic allocation of burdens and order of presentation of proof in a Title VII case alleging discriminatory treatment. At the outset, the plaintiff has the burden of proving a prima face case of such quality as to create a presumption that the defendant unlawfully discriminated against her -- such a case as would require the trier of the fact, twere the defendant employer to remain silent, to find for the plaintiff because no issue of fact remained in the case. Texas Dept. of Community Affairs v. Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 252-4, 67 L. Ed. 2d 207, 101 S. Ct. 1089 (1981). Obviously, however, on this motion, if the plaintiff reveals her ultimate inability to satisfy even this initial burden of proof, one need go no further.
Thus, the question here is whether the failure to give plaintiff the opportunity to relocate from New York City to Colorado Springs was under such circumstances as give rise to an inference of unlawful discrimination.
I conclude that under the McDonnell Douglas "model" for a prima facie case as permissibly varied to have applicability to an uprooting and nearly two thousand mile relocation situation, the plaintiff has failed to make any prima facie showing of discrimination against her because she was a woman. Not only do the facts as recited at the outset of this opinion not premit such a presumption, but also undercutting her claim of discrimination because of sex is her acknowledgment that her immediate superior Helen Greifenstein was asked to relocate.
Even were there a prima facie showing, this evidence surely tends to rebut it."
In conclusion, plaintiff having failed, after full discovery, to develop the required prima facie showing, there is no issue of fact for a trial, and the defendant's motion for summary judgment is therefore granted. The complaint is dismissed with costs and disbursements to the defendant. Attorney's fees are denied.