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HAMMELL v. BANQUE PARIBAS

December 18, 1991

WILLIAM S. HAMMELL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
BANQUE PARIBAS, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Martin, District Judge:

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff commenced this action against his former employer, defendant Banque Paribas, seeking declaratory, injunctive and compensatory relief for defendant's alleged breach of contract and for alleged violations by defendant of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a) et seq.; of the New York Human Rights Law, N.Y. Executive Law § 290 et seq.; and of the New York Labor Law § 198-c.

Defendant currently is moving the Court for partial summary judgment dismissing the following causes of action asserted in plaintiff's Amended Complaint:

1. Plaintiff's claim under New York Executive Law § 298-a (second cause of action) that defendants discriminated against plaintiff on the basis of national origin in the payment of bonuses and cost-of-living increases.

2. Plaintiff's claim under New York Labor Law § 198-c (seventh cause of action) seeking cost-of-living increases and bonuses.*fn1

3. Retaliation claims brought under Title VII (Third Cause of Action) and under the New York Executive Law (Fourth Cause of Action).

For the following reasons, the Court grants defendant's motion and dismisses these claims.

BACKGROUND

Taking plaintiff's allegations as true, plaintiff, a white male, began working for defendant on or about March 3, 1980 in defendant's New York office. Defendant is a bank organized under French law with its principal office in Paris and branch offices in many cities, including Tokyo and New York.

On or about November 12, 1984, defendant offered plaintiff the opportunity to work in defendant's Tokyo branch as its Deputy General Manager. He agreed to the transfer, effective January 1, 1985, pursuant to the terms of a letter agreement (the "Agreement"). The Agreement stated that the transfer was to be for a three-year period subject to extensions as agreed to by the parties. At the conclusion of the assignment plaintiff was to be reintegrated into defendant's New York office.

The Agreement also set out plaintiff's remuneration and the currencies and manner in which payment would be made. For instance, the Agreement indicated that plaintiff was to receive a bonus which would be determined each year of his assignment in Tokyo, with a minimum bonus in the first year in the amount of $15,000.00. The bonus was to be based upon plaintiff's performance and the performance of his Tokyo branch. The Agreement also provided that plaintiff was to receive annual cost-of-living increases during his stay in Tokyo.

Plaintiff claims that he received excellent performance ratings throughout his detail in Tokyo, and the performance of the Tokyo branch improved during his tenure. Despite these favorable evaluations and the improved performance, plaintiff asserts that he received a significantly lower bonus in 1987 than that given to managers of French origin who were similarly situated. Plaintiff further contends that he received no bonus in 1988, while similarly situated French managers received bonuses.

Additionally, plaintiff argues that despite increases in the cost of living in 1987 and 1988, plaintiff did not receive any cost-of-living increase in his salary in 1988 or in 1989. Plaintiff contends he was denied cost-of-living increases and bonuses comparable to that received by similarly situated French managers as a result of his American national origin.

On April 3, 1989 defendant notified plaintiff that his detail in Tokyo was to be terminated. Defendant simultaneously offered plaintiff a position in Credit Administration in defendant's New York branch. Plaintiff alleges that the position offered was one of lower prestige, salary and responsibility than the position he held in Tokyo and in New York prior to his transfer. Plaintiff claims that he declined the offer and asked that his Tokyo detail be continued or that he be offered a more suitable position. On or about May 11, 1989, defendant notified plaintiff that his employment would be terminated as of June 20, 1989 because he had ...


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