The opinion of the court was delivered by: SOTOMAYOR
SONIA SOTOMAYOR, U.S.D.J.
Defendant Doremus & Company ("Doremus") moves pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 56 for summary judgment dismissing this age discrimination complaint filed by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission ("EEOC") on behalf of Andrew Quinn ("Quinn"). For the reasons discussed below, the motion to dismiss is denied.
The core allegation in this action is that Doremus discriminated against Quinn on account of his age by firing him, at age 58, six months after transferring him to a lower level position with a promise of reinstatement to his former position when the opportunity arose. Plaintiff claims Doremus failed to reinstate him while hiring younger people instead to fill his former position.
Doremus claims that adverse economic conditions were the cause of its actions, not age-driven animus against Quinn.
The following pertinent facts are undisputed by the parties and, unless otherwise stated, are drawn from the statements furnished by the parties in compliance with Local Rule 3(g).
Doremus is an advertising agency specializing in financial notice advertising. Quinn worked as an Account Executive for Doremus in its financial advertising division for 24 years, from 1966 to 1990. He was given successively more senior titles, ending with Senior Vice President. Account Executives have responsibility for administration and oversight of the work for the clients assigned to them. Prior to that, Quinn worked for 15 years in Doremus' production department. There is no dispute as to Quinn's qualifications. "Doremus has never argued that Quinn was incompetent or that he was discharged for poor performance." Def.'s Reply Mem. at 10 n.4.
In 1988, Doremus suffered a sharp contraction of its business due to the October, 1987 decline of the stock market. As a consequence of these adverse economic conditions, Doremus' income from financial advertising dropped 50% in 1990 as compared to 1987. The company laid off 25% of its workforce in 1990 alone, and cut salaries at the same time. On Oct. 1, 1989, First Boston, a large client of Doremus, for whom Quinn was the Account Executive, terminated its relationship with Doremus. In June, 1990, Doremus offered, and Quinn accepted, a transfer to the post of night supervisor of its typesetting department. The transfer involved no cut in pay or change in title. The transfer was premised on a promise to return Quinn to his original position of Account Executive if business warranted it. Troeger Dep. Ex. 3 at 2 (Letter to EEOC of Feb. 2, 1991 stating "This assignment [to typesetting] was intended to be temporary until such time as business conditions would permit Quinn to resume account management responsibilities.").
Six months later, in November 1990, Doremus reduced its typesetting staff, dismissing a number of employees, Quinn included. Again, Doremus promised Quinn that if business picked up in the following year he would be rehired as an Account Executive. Quinn remained on the payroll at half pay until December 31, 1991 at which time he was terminated. About five months later, after Quinn complained of discrimination to the EEOC, a Doremus executive made a call to him regarding rehiring him as an Account Executive.
During the period commencing with the loss of the First Boston account (Oct. 1, 1989) and ending with Quinn's final termination (Dec. 31, 1991), the following individuals were transferred, hired or promoted to the position of Account Executive:
* Migdalia Hernandez, age 34, promoted on Oct. 1, 1989;
* Mary Gilley, age 25, promoted in June 1990;
* Louise B. Juhan, age 39, hired on Aug. 24, 1990;
* Jeanmarie McFadden, age 39, hired on ...