Service witnesses' responses to the trial questions containing these suggestions did nothing to supply the gaps in Gilbert's prima facie case. The witnesses, who were, respectively, managers of operations and personnel, stated that having a coworker do the heavy lifting for Gilbert would not be a reasonable way to operate for several reasons, including (1) the fact that Gilbert would not know until he attempted to lift a sack how much it weighed, and the very attempt to handle a too-heavy sack could thus pose a danger to Gilbert and his coworkers; and (2) having two workers performing tasks that one worker is assigned would slow down and reduce the productivity of the operation.
Since, as discussed above, 'reasonable accommodation' does not mean elimination of any of the job's essential functions, we conclude that the district court correctly ruled that Gilbert had failed to establish a prima facie case under the Act" (949 F.2d at p.644) (emphasis supplied).
Crucial to this determination is the settled rule that Title VII did not remove the basic requirement that an employee must be qualified to do the job. In Griggs v. Duke Power Co., 401 U.S. 424, 430-31, 28 L. Ed. 2d 158, 91 S. Ct. 849 (1971), the Court reiterated the "qualification" requirement, quoted with approval in McDonnell Douglas, as follows:
"Congress did not intend by Title VII, however, to guarantee a job to every person regardless of qualifications. In short, the Act does not command that any person be hired simply because he was formerly the subject of discrimination, or because he is a member of a minority group."
CONCLUSIONS OF LAW
1. The Court finds that the plaintiff has failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination based on gender or national origin, because she was not qualified to perform either of the positions involved in this case.
2. Moreover, the Court finds that the defendant articulated clear and convincing evidence of a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for discharging the plaintiff as a casual post office worker in May 1984, namely her inability or unwillingness to do the heavy lifting involved in the performance of that position.
3. Further, the Court finds that the defendant articulated clear and convincing evidence of a legitimate non-discriminatory reason for the failure to employ the plaintiff as a part-time flexi clerk in 1985, namely her advising the hiring supervisor of her physical injury while lifting in 1984, as evidence of her inability to do the heavy lifting required for that position.
4. Accordingly, the Court finds that the defendant has satisfied its burden of producing specific, objective, competent evidence (see Sweeney v. Research Foundation of the State University of New York, 711 F.2d 1179, 1185 [2d Cir. 1983]) that its discharge of the plaintiff in 1984 and its failure to hire the plaintiff in 1985 was not based on sex or national origin, but was based on the plaintiff's inability to do the heavy lifting which was an essential element of both positions, as outlined above, and that the plaintiff's inability to physically perform was a legitimate and non-discriminatory basis for her discharge in 1984 and the defendant's failure to hire her in 1985.
5. The Court finds that the plaintiff failed to establish that the defendant's stated reasons for discharging her in 1984 and failing to hire her in 1985, were pretextual (see Gilbert v. Frank, supra).
6. In addition, the plaintiff failed to establish that she was denied employment in 1985 because of reprisal or retaliation for her filing a prior EEOC complaint.
7. Finally, the Court finds that the plaintiff failed to establish that she was discharged in 1984 and denied employment in 1985 as a result of discrimination against her by reason of the fact that she is a female of Hispanic descent.
Accordingly, for the reasons stated, the Court directs the entry of a judgment in favor of the defendant, dismissing the complaints in both actions.
Dated: Uniondale, New York
September 30, 1992
Arthur D. Spatt
United States District Judge
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