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ROVTAR v. UNION BANK OF SWITZERLAND

January 14, 1994

STEPHEN A. ROVTAR, Plaintiff,
v.
UNION BANK OF SWITZERLAND, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CONSTANCE BAKER MOTLEY

 MEMORANDUM OPINION

 MOTLEY, District Judge.

 Plaintiff Steven A. Rovtar ("Rovtar"), a former employee of defendant Union Bank of Switzerland ("UBS"), brings this action for damages, declaratory and injunctive relief arising from his discharge. Plaintiff alleges violations of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. Additionally, plaintiff seeks damages for breach of an alleged employment contract.

 After plaintiff properly exhausted his administrative remedies, he filed a complaint with this court. *fn1" Pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, defendant has moved for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, this court grants defendant's motion for summary judgment on all claims.

 BACKGROUND

 Mr. Rovtar, a fifty year-old white male at the time he filed his complaint in this matter, was employed by UBS from April 1984 until April 1991. Comp. P 8. *fn2" From 1984 until 1986, plaintiff was assigned to the bank's Internal Services Section, where he was responsible for building maintenance and small construction projects. In 1986, plaintiff was transferred to the Premises Section where he remained until his termination in 1991. Def.'s Exhibits, Ex. 2C. *fn3"

 UBS is a global financial institution with its corporate headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland and several foreign branches. The New York branch, established in 1974, employs approximately 1,300 individuals, the overwhelming majority of which are United States citizens. Def.'s Exhibits, Thompson Aff. P 7.

 In addition to its United States employees, defendant also temporarily assigns expatriates or trainees from its corporate headquarters to perform services at various branches, including the New York branch. Def.'s Memo. Supp. Summ. J. at 6. Expatriates are primarily senior employees who are assigned to foreign branches for specific periods ranging from three to five years. Trainees are junior employees assigned abroad to broaden their personal experience and professional skills. These assignments generally last between twelve and eighteen months. Even though they are assigned to a foreign branch, such personnel remain employees of the Zurich bank due to the temporary nature of their assignments. Def.'s Exhibits, Thompson Aff. PP 3, 4.

 It is undisputed that due to various complaints made by the trainees about their lodging, Mr. Beat Bucher, Vice President of Personnel, conducted a study to examine the bank's current housing policies. On June 11, 1990, Bucher issued a report entitled "Housing Procedures UBS New York" wherein he proposed three alternatives to the bank's current policies. In short, Bucher proposed that UBS: 1) purchase rental property which could be leased directly to expatriates and trainees; 2) provide a housing allowance and allow the employees to search for their own housing; or 3) hire an outside real estate agency to manage all housing matters. Def.'s Exhibits, Ex. 2E at 4, 5.

 After addressing the concerns of the trainees as well as the administrative burdens previously experienced by the bank, Bucher ultimately recommended that UBS "hand-over our Intern [trainee] housing matters to an outside real estate company." *fn4" Def.'s Exhibits, Ex. 2E at 6. UBS accepted Bucher's recommendation and Acocella & Company ("Acocella") was hired on December 18, 1990. Def.'s Exhibits, Ex. 2F; Thompson Aff. P 14. Under the UBS contract, Acocella would be responsible for, inter alia: 1) negotiating all leases and renewals for trainees, subject to approval by UBS; 2) assisting UBS expatriates in finding adequate housing when needed; 3) signing all leases approved by UBS as its agent; 4) acting as liaison between UBS and the respective landlords; 5) furnishing the apartments for UBS employees; and 6) handling problems and complaints as they might arise. Def.'s Exhibits, Ex. 2F PP A.4.1 - 5, B.

 The Bucher report did not address plaintiff or his performance. Further, neither plaintiff's age or national origin appear to have been considered in any of the proposals or the ultimate recommendation. However, by deciding to transfer all housing matters to an independent real estate agency, defendant clearly eliminated plaintiff's position with UBS. Thus, plaintiff was terminated in April ...


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