The opinion of the court was delivered by: John S. Martin, United States District Judge
In this action, Rosa Bachiller ("Plaintiff") alleges that Turn On Products, Inc. ("Turn On" or "Defendant") and Desiree Ragabeer ("Ragabeer" or "Defendant") discriminated against her violation of Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq., the New York State Human Rights Law, Executive Law §§ 290 et seq., and the New York City Human Rights Law, Administrative Code §§ 8-101 et seq.
Plaintiff alleges that Defendants discriminated against her during her employment at Turn On and unlawfully terminated her employment there on the basis of her race and/or national origin and her age.
This case is presently before the Court on Defendants' motion for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, Defendants' motion is granted.
Plaintiff is Puerto Rican and was 54 years old at the time she was discharged. She came to the United States at age four and eventually obtained a High School Equivalency Diploma.
Plaintiff commenced employment at Turn On on July 1, 1997 as an accounts payable clerk and was discharged on October 9, 1999. On that date, Ragabeer, Turn On's Office Manager, informed Plaintiff of her termination and provided her with a written agreement releasing all claims Plaintiff may have against Turn On and its agents (the "Release") and a notice letter (the "Notice"). The Notice, which is addressed to Plaintiff, acknowledges the provision of three copies of the Release to her and establishes her rights with respect to the Release, stating:
Please note, as stated in the Release Agreement, that
you have the right to consult with an attorney and 21
days from this date to review the Release Agreement.
Additionally, if you decide to execute the attached
Release Agreement, you will have seven (7) days
following the execution of the Release Agreement
to revoke the same.
(emphasis added). Plaintiff acknowledged receipt of the Notice and the Release by signing the Notice. The Release is a four-page typewritten document which provides that Plaintiff will receive a severance pay of $1,400 if she signs it. Although the Release acknowledges that Turn On owes Plaintiff one week's vacation pay, amounting to $700, it does not make receipt of that amount contingent on the execution of the Release:
2. Severance Pay. (a)(i) Bachiller acknowledges that
the Company has no obligation to make the Severance
payment set forth hereunder. In consideration of
Bachiller entering into this agreement, together
with its Release, Confidentiality, Non-Disparagement
and other provisions, the Company agrees to pay
Thousand Four Hundred Dollars ($1,400.00) less any and
all appropriate Federal, State and City taxes
required to be deducted (the "Severance
Payment"). The Severance Payment will be paid to
Bachiller provided she has not exercised her right to
cancel this Agreement under Article 5 of this
(ii) Additionally, the Company acknowledges that it
owes Bachiller one (1) week's vacation pay of Seven
Hundred Dollars ($700.00), which will be paid to
Bachiller by the Company minus the appropriate
(b) This will confirm that the Company shall have
absolutely no obligation to make the Severance
Payment set forth in 2(a)(i) above and Bachiller shall
not be entitled to any Severance Payment unless and
until this Agreement with its Release and
Confidentiality provisions and Non-Disparagement is
deemed effective and enforceable as stated above.
The Release also sets forth in detail the claims and causes of action that Plaintiff would relinquish if she signed the Release:
Bachiller hereby irrevocably and unconditionally
releases, waives and forever discharges the Company
and its successors, assigns, and all its past and
present directors, officers, shareholders,
consultants, agents, employees, representatives,
attorneys, fiduciaries (hereafter the "Other
Releasees") from any and all actions, causes of
action, claims, demands, damages, right, remedies and
liabilities (hereinafter referred to collectively as
"Bachiller's Claims") of whatsoever kind or
character, in law or equity, suspected or
unsuspected, past or present, that she has ever had,
may now have or may later assert, against the Company
and the other Releasees or any of them, including, but
not limited to, claims arising out of or related to
Bachiller's employment and positions with the Company
or her termination of employment and those positions,
from the beginning of time to the last time of
Bachiller's employment, including, without
limitation: (i) any and all claims arising from any
federal, state and/or local labor or civil rights
laws, including, without limitation, the federal Civil
Rights Acts of 1866, 1871, 1964 and 1991, the Age
Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, as amended
by, inter alia, the Older Worker Benefit Protection
Act of 1990 . . . and New York State and New York City
Human Rights laws and Labor Laws . . .; (ii) any and
all claims arising out of any claim for . . . any
age, sex, race or other type of discrimination or
harassment or related claims, including federal, state
and/or local laws.
Plaintiff signed the Release on the day she was discharged and claims she did so because Ragabeer told her she had to sign it in order to receive her vacation pay. Plaintiff consulted an attorney sometime after her discharge. On or about October 22, 1999, Plaintiff's attorney contacted Turn On seeking to revoke the Release. The seven-day time period permitting revocation had already expired.
Defendants contend that Plaintiff waived the claims asserted in this action by executing the Release. Plaintiff argues that the Release is invalid because Defendants did not provide her with adequate time to consider the agreement.
Under the Older Workers' Benefit Protection Act of 1990 ("OWBPA"), 29 U.S.C. § 626(f), an individual's waiver of claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 ...