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EDWARDS v. INTERBORO INST.

January 7, 1994

S. ANDERSON EDWARDS, Plaintiff,
v.
INTERBORO INSTITUTE, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: I. LEO GLASSER

 GLASSER, United States District Judge:

 This action is brought by plaintiff S. Anderson Edwards ("Edwards") pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. ยง 2000e, et seq. Edwards alleges that he was terminated once because of his race and the courses which he chose to teach, and a second time in retaliation for filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). Edwards' former employer, Interboro Institute, Inc. ("Interboro"), now moves pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56 for summary judgment on Edwards' complaint. For the following reasons, the motion is granted.

 FACTS

 Edwards was employed as an instructor of paralegal studies at Interboro from September 18, 1990 to February 7, 1992. Def.'s 3(g) Statement, PP (a)(p). Plaintiff alleges, however, that he was actually fired twice; once on December 20, 1991, because of his race and the courses which he chose to teach, and again in February of 1992 in retaliation for filing a Charge of Discrimination with the EEOC on or about January 2, 1992 (the "Charge of Discrimination"). Affidavit of S. Anderson Edwards, October 8, 1993 ("Edwards Aff'd"), at 3-8. It is Interboro's position that plaintiff was not fired in December of 1991 and that he was terminated in February of 1992 for cause.

 A. The December 20, 1991 Meeting

 1. Interboro's Version of the Meeting

 As stated above, there is a dispute as to whether Edwards was terminated on December 20, 1991. *fn1" At this time Edwards attended a meeting with Bruce R. Kalisch ("Kalisch"), the President of Interboro; William E. Mahoney ("Mahoney"), Interboro's Academic Dean; and David M. Levy ("Levy"), attorney for Interboro. According to Kalisch, this meeting was called to address certain complaints which the school had received from some of Edwards' female students regarding sexual harassment. Kalisch Aff'd, P 7. *fn2" Kalisch explained the school's administrative procedures for dealing with such complaints, id., and listened to Edwards' "vehement[]" denial of those charges, id., P 8. Kalisch also asked Edwards to supply the school with an official copy of his academic transcript because the College of Career Association had cited and criticized Interboro for not having official academic transcripts on file for several of its instructors. Id., P 9. Kalisch claims that Edwards' employment was not terminated on December 20, 1991, id., P 10; that his name remained on the roster of active instructors, id., P 11; and that he was scheduled to teach in the Spring of 1992, id.

 In his affidavit, Levy also states that during the December 20, 1991 meeting, the persons present discussed the student complaints against Edwards. Levy Aff'd, P 7(d). Levy does not state, as does Kalisch, that Edwards was not fired at this meeting. However, Levy explains that following receipt of Edwards' first Charge of Discrimination to the EEOC, he (Levy) contacted Edwards and informed him that he had not been fired and that he was expected to resume teaching in the spring semester. Id., P 7(i) ("I wrote to Edwards indicating, among other things, that he had not been fired in December 1991 and that Interboro expected him to return to teach the classes for which he was scheduled commencing January 14, 1992[.]"). See also id., Ex. D (letter to Edwards from Levy dated January 13, 1992).

 2. Edwards' Version of the Meeting

 In his complaint, dated September 4, 1992 (the "Complaint"), Edwards alleges that he was fired at the December meeting because of his race and the courses he chose to teach:

 
On December 23, 1991 [sic] Bruce Kalisch, President of Interboro Institute, William Mahoney, Vice-President, of Interboro Institute, and Attorney at Law, David Levy, questioned me about the content of lectures and the subject matter of the final exams I gave at Interboro Institute, the said subject matter discussed was New York State Executive Law Article 15. (Discrimination). All three participants said I was fired as a result of said lectures.

 Complaint, P 6(A). See also id., P 5(A) (alleging discriminatory conduct with regard to race). In his affidavit Edwards states that at the meeting "[David Levy] questioned me as to why I taught and discussed race, class and sex discrimination [in my classes.]" Edwards Aff'd at 4. "It is clear they wanted a white man discussing these subjects, someone who would not leave impressions with the students." Id. at 6. There was also little doubt in Edwards' mind that he had been fired at this meeting: "It was made very clear to me at the December 20th meeting that I was not welcome at Interboro." Id. at 7. *fn3" In his affidavit, Edwards concludes that "I was discharged because I, as a black male, tried to teach other minority students about discrimination." Edwards Aff'd at 7. Edwards, however, does not allege sexual discrimination in his Complaint.

 Defendant Interboro maintains that whether Edwards was fired in December of 1991 is irrelevant because it is undisputed that Edwards returned to work on January 14, 1992. Levy Aff'd, P 7(k). In his second Charge of Discrimination, dated February 11, 1992, Edwards concedes that "subsequent to the filing of the [first Charge of Discrimination], I was asked to return to my teaching duties by the Respondent's attorneys in a letter dated January 13, 19992 [sic]. I returned to work . . . ." Levy Aff'd, Ex. A. *fn4"

 B. The Termination on February 7, 1992

 1. Interboro's Explanation for Edwards' Termination

 Kalisch also states that Edwards failed to supply him with the official academic transcripts which he (Kalisch) had requested at the December 20, 1991 meeting. Kalisch Aff'd, P 21. It is the defendant's position that Edwards was terminated for his insubordination in failing to supply outlines, syllabi and his academic transcripts. *fn5" Interboro also states in its Answer that Edwards' employment was terminated because he "failed to use appropriate text." Answer, P 19(b) (Levy Aff'd, Ex. B).

 2. Edwards' Explanation for his Termination

 In the Complaint, Edwards alleges that he was terminated in February of 1992 in retaliation for filing his first Charge of Discrimination on or about January 2, 1992. *fn6" In response to defendant's assertion that he was terminated for insubordination, he states in his affidavit that he lacked the financial resources to obtain an official transcript and that defendant was aware of this limitation; hence, its request for the transcript was an excuse upon which it could base its discriminatory firing:

 
The question of my academic credentials and my degree is an interesting and important one. When hired by Interboro, I explained that because of financial problems, I could not obtain an official transcript. There seemed to be no problem. I was able to provide an unofficial transcript (Exhibit "B"). As a basis for my discharge (the second time), Interboro claimed that I had not provided an official copy of my transcript. This seems to have been just an excuse. They knew from ...

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