The opinion of the court was delivered by: FREDERICK SCULLIN, Chief Judge, District
MEMORANDUM-DECISION AND ORDER
Plaintiff, a fifty-seven-year-old employee of the Social Security
commenced this action in September 2001*fn1 alleging she was subject to
unlawful discrimination and retaliation based on her age, in violation of
the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 623(a) and
Plaintiff alleges that during 1996-1997 and 1999-2000, the Office of
Hearings and Appeals ("OHA") subjected her to several instances of
discrimination. Plaintiff claims that the pattern of discrimination
culminated in Defendant's failure to award her two promotions, to legal
assistant in 1997 and to case assistant in 2000, for which she was the
most qualified candidate.
Presently before the Court is Defendant's motion for summary judgment
pursuant to Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on the grounds
that Plaintiff has failed to establish a prima facie case for unlawful
discrimination or retaliation under the ADEA. The Court will address each
of Defendant's arguments in turn.
A. Summary Judgment Standard
A court should grant a motion for summary judgment only if "there is no
genuine issue as to any material fact and when, based upon facts not in
dispute, the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law."
Bryant v. Maffucci, 923 F.2d 979, 982 (2d Cir. 1991) (citing Celotex
Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322-23, 106 S.Ct. 2548, 2552-53, 91
L.Ed.2d 265 (1986)). In making this determination, the court must resolve
all ambiguities and draw all
reasonable inferences in a light most favorable to the non-moving party.
See id. (citing United States v. Diebold, Inc., 369 U.S. 654, 655, 82
S.Ct. 993, 994, 8 L.Ed.2d 176 (1962) (per curiam)).
Although discrimination cases often involve a fact-intensive inquiry
that precludes summary judgment, a court may award summary judgment where
a fact finder could not infer a discriminatory motive. See McLee v.
Chrysler Corp., 109 F.3d 130, 135 (2d Cir. 1997); see also Abdu-Brisson
v. Delta Air Lines, Inc., 239 F.3d 456, 466 (2d Cir. 2001).
With these standards in mind, the Court will address Plaintiff's
B. Plaintiff's Claim of Discrimination
The ADEA, which protects individuals over the age of forty, makes it
unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an individual with
respect to the terms, conditions, and privileges of employment because of
that individual's age. See 29 U.S.C. § 623, 631(a).
When a plaintiff has alleged that she was discriminated against based
on her age, courts analyze the Plaintiff's claim using the three-step
McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting analysis. See Gallo v. Prudential
Residential Servs. Ltd. P'ship, 22 F.3d 1219, 1224 (2d Cir. 1993) (citing
McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 802-04, 36 L.Ed.2d 668,
93 S.Ct. 1817 (1973)) (other citation omitted). Under this analysis, an
employee can establish aprima facie case by showing that 1) she was a
member of the protected age group; 2) she was qualified for the position
that she sought; 3) she was subjected to a material adverse employment
action; and 4) the circumstances ...