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AHMAD v. LONG ISLAND UNIV.

September 3, 1998

SALEEM AHMAD, Plaintiff,
v.
LONG ISLAND UNIVERSITY, Defendant.


Hon. Arthur D. Spatt, United States District Judge.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: SPATT

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION AND ORDER

SPATT, District Judge :

 In this lawsuit, the plaintiff, Dr. Saleem Ahmad ("Dr. Ahmad" or the "plaintiff"), raises claims of race and national-origin employment discrimination against his employer, the defendant Long Island University ("LIU" or the "University"). The parties appeared before the Court on August 31, 1998, to present oral argument on Dr. Ahmad's motion for a temporary restraining order ("TRO") and preliminary injunction, brought on by Order to Show Cause, enjoining LIU from terminating his employment, which was scheduled to take effect at midnight that day, and from precluding his research at the University. This opinion memorializes the substance of the Court's oral decision, rendered at the time of the parties' argument.

 I. BACKGROUND

 The following factual allegations are derived from the Complaint, except where otherwise indicated.

 The plaintiff is a man of Pakistani origin who, since January 1992, has been employed as an untenured, assistant professor with LIU, a private university located on Long Island, New York (Complaint at P 10). Since 1992, Dr. Ahmad has "taught a number of classes . . . in [LIU's] Division of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Medicinal Chemistry." (Complaint at P 11). He states that throughout his employment, he never has been disciplined. On the contrary, he states that he has "received compliments from his supervisors" and earned an award from students for his excellent teaching (Complaint at PP 12, 18).

 The complaint alleges that in 1993, LIU hired Dr. Michelle Bazil, a white woman, to work in a capacity "similar to Dr. Ahmad." (Complaint at P 13). According to Dr. Ahmad, LIU afforded Dr. Bazil preferable treatment over the ensuing years. For example, the University assigned her to larger classes for which she was paid more, "despite the fact that she had less seniority than Dr. Ahmad." (Complaint at PP 14-16). According to Dr. Ahmad, when he inquired as to the basis for the decision to assign him to the smaller classes with correspondingly less pay, "he was not given a reason." (Complaint at P 17).

 Dr. Ahmad was unsuccessful in his tenure applications. He first applied in January 1997. By letter dated May 7, 1997, the University notified him that "your name was not included among those of faculty members approved for academic tenure and promotion in rank . . . . Consequently, your service as a faculty member at Long Island University will terminate on August 31, 1998." (Defendant's Memorandum of Law, Ex. D). According to the plaintiff, the University cited his allegedly "insufficient commitment and productivity in the areas of research and publications" as the basis for its decision (Complaint at P 23). According to Dr. Ahmad, this was a pretext, since LIU knew that "from about 1994 to present [he] has been engaged in substantial medical research regarding strokes," that the plaintiff has presented his findings at a lecture in Prague, that his findings have been published in a journal, that he has published on at least seven other occasions, and that he has various other articles under consideration for publication (Complaint at PP 24-28).

 In January 1998, he again applied for tenure, which LIU denied in March 1998, contrary to the recommendation of the plaintiff's immediate supervisor. The Faculty Review Committee, evidently the body responsible for determining tenure requests, allegedly told Dr. Ahmad that his publishing efforts were inadequate (Complaint at PP 29-32). Dr. Ahmad states that Dr. Bazil was granted tenure in 1998, despite the fact that "she has not completed any research of the quality or magnitude of Dr. Ahmad . . . [and she] had less seniority than the plaintiff." (Complaint at P 33).

 According to the plaintiff, "these actions were taken against [him] on the basis of [his] race and/or Pakistani origin." (Affidavit in Support of OSC, at P 4). From reading the complaint, it would appear that the only evidence supporting his theory of employment discrimination is circumstantial, in that he alleges he was treated less favorably than his white colleague, Dr. Bazil. On or about July 29, 1998, he filed a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, which issued a Notice of Right to Sue letter on August 26, 1998.

 Dr. Ahmad initiated this cause of action by filing a complaint and an Order to Show Cause on August 28, 1998. His claims include violations of Title VII, and the New York Human Rights Law.

 II. DISCUSSION

 A. The Standard for Granting a Temporary Restraining Order and a Preliminary Injunction

 At the outset, the Court observes that "The standards which govern consideration of an application for a temporary restraining order . . . are the same . . . as those which govern a preliminary injunction." Local 1814, Intern. Longshoremen's Ass'n, AFL-CIO v. New York Shipping Ass'n, Inc., 965 F.2d 1224, 1228 (2d Cir. 1992). Accordingly, the ensuing discussion of the standards governing ...


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