The opinion of the court was delivered by: ARTHUR D. SPATT
The issues in this case concern a charge of discrimination in the setting of the consumer credit division of a major bank. The plaintiff, a collection representative at the defendant National Westminster Bank, contends that she was denied promotion because she is an Hispanic female.
This action alleging employment discrimination, was brought claiming violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.). In a document entitled "Amendment to Complaint" dated October 16, 1991, the plaintiff apparently added a cause of action pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983. It appears that the Section 1983 cause of action was not pursued, and this bench trial is solely based on the Title VII cause of action.
The plaintiff Jeanette Rosa ("the plaintiff" or "Ms. Rosa") was first employed by the defendant National Westminster Bank ("the defendant" or "the Bank") as a credit card production clerk in 1978 at a salary of $ 7500 per year and received yearly raises to approximately $ 11,000. In November 1983 she became a collection representative trainee in the Bank's Consumer Credit Division ("the Department"). She had no prior credit or collection experience. During 1983 and 1984, the plaintiff was the recipient of commendations, including three awards and three monetary grants. The standard job progression within this department was (1) collection representative trainee, then (2) "collection representative" and then (3) "senior collection representative."
On November 5, 1984, the plaintiff was promoted from trainee to collection representative. On June 24, 1987, the plaintiff was placed on a ninety-day probationary period for alleged insubordination, followed by a second probationary period effective May 3, 1988. At the expiration of this probationary period in August 1988, she commenced a disability leave of absence in connection with a pregnancy. On April 17, 1989, after giving birth and while still out on disability leave, the plaintiff commenced an eight week parental leave. The plaintiff then requested an extended long-term leave of absence. She was then granted a one-year parental leave of absence to expire on August 18, 1989. A request by the plaintiff for a further extension was denied. She was advised to return to work on August 18, 1989. The plaintiff did not return to her employment with the bank on that date and she was terminated.
THE TRIAL - FINDINGS OF FACT
This opinion and order includes the Court's findings of fact and conclusions of law as required by Fed. R. Civ. P. 52(a) (see also Colonial Exchange Ltd. Partnership v. Continental Casualty, 923 F.2d 257 [2d Cir. 1991]).
During this discussion, the Court will make findings of fact which will be supplemented by additional findings later in the opinion.
A collection representative in the Consumer Credit Division of the Bank, involving Visa credit cards, attempts to collect delinquent accounts mostly by way of the telephone and also by mail. When the customers mail in the payment, the collector gets credit for "moving the balance" (Tr. at p. 15).
There are delinquent accounts that range from 30-day accounts to 180-day accounts. The same procedures are used to collect all the delinquent accounts.
At the Bank, employees are evaluated in a document called a "Non-Exempt Performance Appraisal Form." It is the Bank's policy to review each employee's performance on a yearly basis. The first such appraisal for the plaintiff as a collection representative trainee was dated October 16, 1984 (Plf's Exh. 2). The report gave the plaintiff generally good ratings as to work proficiency. For example:
"Jeanette has shown steady progress in developing her knowledge of the Visa product and the various collection laws. In addition, she has shown a good ability to apply this knowledge ...