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SAMIMY v. CORNELL UNIV.

April 23, 1997

CYRUS SAMIMY, Plaintiff,
v.
CORNELL UNIVERSITY, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: LARIMER

 INTRODUCTION

 This is an ethnic discrimination case arising from plaintiff Dr. Cyrus Samimy's ("Samimy") employment with Defendant Cornell University ("Cornell") from 1979 through February 1995. Samimy contends that despite his superior qualifications and satisfactory performance, Cornell failed to promote him, and ultimately terminated him, based upon improper discriminatory motives.

 In June of 1993, following what he perceived to be an unsatisfactory review, Samimy filed a complaint with the New York State Division of Human Rights ("DHR"). The complaint was cross-filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"). On February 3, 1995, Samimy's final appointment with Cornell ended and was not renewed. On January 23, 1995, the EEOC issued a "right to sue" letter. On May 8, 1995, Samimy filed his complaint in this Court alleging violations under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., and New York's Human Rights Law, Executive Law § 290, et. seq. *fn1"

 Cornell now moves for summary judgment on the grounds that: (1) Samimy's Title VII claim exceeds the scope of his EEOC charge or is otherwise time-barred; and (2) Samimy has failed to establish a prima facie case of discrimination based on national origin. For the reasons set forth below, Cornell's motion for summary judgment is granted.

 BACKGROUND

 Samimy's EEOC Complaint

 At all relevant times, Samimy was employed by Cornell at its New York Agricultural Experiment Station located in Geneva, New York. Samimy holds a Bachelor of Science in agronomy, a Master's degree in crop physiology and a Ph.D. in plant physiology. He was employed through a series of three-year or one-year appointments by Cornell as a Research Assistant. He is of Iranian descent and has an Iranian accent. From 1979 to 1981, he was employed as a Research Support Specialist (a non-academic position). In 1981, he applied for and received a position as a Research Associate (an academic position).

 Sometime in 1990, Samimy was assigned to work in the lab of Dr. Thomas Bjorkman ("Bjorkman"). Although he retained his Research Associate classification and his existing salary, Samimy was placed in a position generally reserved for a Research Support Specialist, a lower ranking position.

 In June, 1993, Samimy filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC. There, he states:

 
1. I am of Iranian National Origin/Ancestry. I believe I have been denied equal terms, conditions and privileges of employment because of my national origin/ancestry.
 
2. I have been employed by the respondent since 1979. I have had a series of three year contracts, which have been renewed based on available funding and program objectives. My current contract ends on February 5, 1994. I am a Research Associate III.
 
3. On March 25, 1993 I had my 1992 annual performance evaluation with Thomas Bjorkman, Assistant Professor, and Hugh C. Price, Professor and Chair of the Department of Horticultural Sciences. During this meeting I was informed that I was being perceived and evaluated as a Research Support Specialist, a lower ranking position, which I held when I was initially hired.
 
4. On information and belief, because I am being perceived and evaluated as a Research Support Specialist, my professional career is being damaged and I am being denied opportunities for professional development. My achievements are not being recognized, and my self-esteem is being damaged.

 (Cornell Exhibits, Exhibit 7.)

 Samimy's Federal Action

 On April 17, 1995, Samimy filed his complaint with this Court. In the federal complaint, he lists several employment decisions by his supervisors from 1988 to his termination in 1995 which he apparently contends were motivated by discrimination. For example, he contends that on September 23, 1988, he was improperly denied a requested promotion. The complaint also contains a general allegation that Samimy was "consistently denied promotions" and was "discouraged from applying for promotion." (Samimy Exhibits, Exhibit A at p. 3.)

 Samimy contends that he applied for a Vegetable Crop Physiology faculty position then being advertised at Cornell. He alleges that he had received good performance reviews and was qualified for the position. However, in July 1990, Cornell instead hired Bjorkman, a white, American male, who Samimy alleges had no horticultural or supervisory experience.

 Samimy next reiterates the allegation contained in his EEOC complaint -- that during his 1992 performance evaluation he was told that he was being perceived and evaluated as a lower ranked Research Support Specialist.

 Finally, Samimy contends that in January 1994, he was told that his Research Associate appointment would expire and that a lower ranked nonacademic position would be made available to him. He contends that this offer was later withdrawn and that he was told that his current position would terminate on February 3, 1995.

 DISCUSSION

 Summary Judgment ...


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