The opinion of the court was delivered by: William C. Conner, Senior District Judge.
Plaintiff Delfrieda Jones brings this action against
defendants the City of Mount Vernon (the "City"), and the Mount
Vernon Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Police and Civil
Service Commission pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. and the New
York State Human Rights Law, N.Y.Exec.Law § 290 et seq.
Plaintiff claims that she was not hired as a police officer by
the City because of her sex.*fn1 This Court conducted a
two-day bench trial on June 19 and June 20, 2000, and now sets
forth its findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to
Fed.R.Civ.P. 52(a). For the reasons discussed below, we enter
judgment in favor of defendants on all claims.
In a document entitled "Examination," the Mount Vernon Civil
Service Commission (the "Commission") announced that Examination
No. 66-487 for the position of police officer would take place
on October 29, 1983. (Defs.Ex.A.) On September 9, 1983,
plaintiff completed an "Application for Examination for
Employment" for the position of police officer and submitted it
to the Commission for processing. (Pl.Ex. 1; Defs.Ex. B.)
Two staff members, Rita Roque and Lavinia Hodgins, oversaw the
day-to-day operations of the Commission. Members of the
Commission came into the office at least twice a month for
meetings. (Tr. 35, 160-61.) Roque has been the secretary to the
Commission since 1978, (Tr. 160), and Hodgins has been the
senior typist since 1977. (Tr. 35.) Roque's and Hodgins' job
duties include typing civil service examination notices, making
certain types of medical and psychological examination
appointments for applicants, reviewing the paperwork submitted
by applicants and physicians, and generally performing all of
the clerical functions associated with processing civil service
applications. (Tr. 36, 161.) Roque testified that in the last
twenty years, she and Hodgins have processed thousands of
applications. (Tr. 161.)
Plaintiff took the written Civil Service Examination on
October 29, 1983, and a physical agility test on April 7,1984.
She received a letter from Roque dated May 22, 1984 notifying
her that her final examination rating was seventy-three percent
and that she was number thirty-five on the "eligible list" for
Mount Vernon residents. (Pl.Ex. 2; Defs.Ex. C.) The letter
informed plaintiff that the duration of the eligibility list was
two years "unless it is exhausted prior to that date." (Id.)
In a letter dated August 12, 1985, plaintiff was notified that
she should appear at the Mount Vernon Neighborhood Health Center
for medical testing related to her application for employment as
a City police officer. (Pl.Ex. 5; Defs.Ex. E.) On August 30,
1985, plaintiff submitted to the medical tests required of all
applicants, including measurement of her height and weight.
(Pl.Ex. 6; Defs.Ex. F.)
At the time plaintiff sought employment with the City, the
police department utilized the height/weight standards
promulgated by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice
Services, Municipal Police Training Council (the "Municipal
Training Council"). (Pl.Exs. 11, 12; Defs.Ex. D.) The
height/weight standards are set forth in a chart in a manual
developed by the Municipal Training Council. (Id.) The manual
states that if the weight of an applicant is within twelve
percent of the upper weight limit set forth on the table for the
applicant's height and body frame, it will be deemed acceptable.
(Defs.Ex. D at 5.) However, if the weight of the applicant is
more than twelve percent over the maximum weight:
the candidate may, at his option and at his own
expense, have further fitness and stress tests
performed on him so that he can present the examining
physician with evidence of his fitness in spite of
his failure to meet the weight standard. If the
candidate has such tests performed by an appropriate
expert, the results of those tests should be
presented to the examining physician who then may
certify the candidate for appointment if he asserts
in his medical opinion that the candidate is fit and
can perform the necessary physical duties of a police
The Commission was charged with checking the medical reports
issued by the physicians who performed the medical examinations
of the applicants. Using a checklist supplied by New York State,
Roque or Hodgins would check the data on the medical forms
against the various requirements for police officer candidates.
Hodgins testified that she would check the weight of the
applicants against the forms supplied by New York State, adding
twelve percent to the maximum, to ensure that the applicant met
the guidelines. (Tr. 41-42.) Hodgins said that she would
"usually" check the applicant's weight against the height/weight
ratio even if the examining physician had indicated on the
applicant's medical examination form that the applicant met the
weight standard. (Tr. 42.)
Plaintiffs medical examination report stated that plaintiff
was "mildly overweight (about 12 pounds)," (Pl.Ex. 6; Defs. Ex.
F), and a box was checked on the form indicating that plaintiff
met the physical fitness standards required by New York State.
The form also stated that plaintiff "is on a strict low calorie
diet" and that her weight "defects" were "remediable." (Id.)
Plaintiff was recorded as being five feet, five and one-half
inches tall and 170 pounds with a medium frame. (Id.)
The parties stipulated at trial that "every applicant on that
[Civil Service] list and on other [Civil Service] lists received
a letter comparable to that which the plaintiff received,
notifying him that he did not meet the weight requirements and
not notifying him of the alternative of the stress test." (Tr.
49.) Plaintiffs medical examination form, which plaintiff
signed, stated that "[i]f weight is over or under the acceptable
weight shown in the tables by an excess of 12%, attach results
of additional stress and fitness tests pursuant to page 5 of the
standards." (Pl.Ex. 6; Defs.Ex. F.)
Plaintiff testified that she read that portion of the form
before signing the document. Plaintiff testified as follows:
Q. . . . That [Pl.Ex. 6; Defs.Ex. F] was a document
you read before you signed it?
Q. And you read that portion of the document?
A. I'm pretty sure I did.
Q. Did you ask anyone about the stress test that was
mentioned in this document?
Plaintiff testified that after she received the letter in
September, she did not ask anyone at the Commission about the
option of taking a stress test, nor did anyone from the
Commission inform her of the alternative of taking a stress
test. (Tr. 9, 19.) Before the expiration of the eligibility
list, plaintiff orally informed the Commission that she had lost
ten pounds. As a result, the Commission scheduled her for
additional medical tests. (Tr. 9-11.) Plaintiff submitted to
additional medical testing at the Mount Vernon Hospital,
Pulmonary Function Lab. The tests indicated that ...