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MASON v. NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT AUTHORITY

June 3, 2005.

SAMUEL MASON, Plaintiff,
v.
NEW YORK CITY TRANSIT AUTHORITY, Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: DENNY CHIN, District Judge

MEMORANDUM DECISION

In this employment discrimination case, plaintiff Samuel Mason alleges that defendant New York City Transit Authority ("NYCTA") failed to promote him because of his race and age, in violation of federal law. Defendant moves for summary judgment dismissing all claims. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.

BACKGROUND

  A. The Facts

  Construed in the light most favorable to plaintiff, the non-moving party, the facts are as follows:*fn1

  1. Background

  Mason is an African-American man, born on February 13, 1957. Mason received a Bachelors degree in General Studies from the University of Michigan in 1979, a Master of Science degree in Administration from Central Michigan University in 1993, and a Master of Science degree in Transportation Management from Polytechnic University in 2002. (Mason Dep. at 19; Pl. Ex. 4; Pl. Mem. at 1). Mason is a member of the high-IQ society "Mensa," having scored in the top two percent of the general population in standardized intelligence tests. (Mason Dep. at 19, 65). Mason was hired as an Associate Staff Analyst by NYCTA on November 1, 1993,*fn2 the position that he retains today. (Def. Ex. 5; Mason Dep. at 5). During his employment with NYCTA, Mason has completed numerous internal training classes. (Pl. Ex. 4). Mason has never been promoted. (Mason Dep. at 6). 2. Plaintiff's Job Performance

  Mason has been moved among units within NYCTA throughout his employment with defendant. He has been transferred at least six times among units within the Paratransit Division. (Def. 56.1 Statement ¶¶ 2, 4-8). Mason's supervisors at his multiple assignments universally have expressed dissatisfaction with Mason's job performance. Beverly Morris — an African-American woman, older than Mason — supervised Mason in his first assignment as an Associate Staff Analyst in the Planning Unit of the Paratransit Division, from 1993 through 1998, during which time she "realized that plaintiff failed to meet work time schedules or produce quality work without constant and careful scrutiny and supervision . . . [and] underachieved to the extent of just doing enough to meet the minimum standards for job performance." (Morris Aff. ¶ 2-3). James Wilson,*fn3 head of the Standards and Compliance Unit during Mason's various assignments in that unit,*fn4 commented that "Mason's overall work product was mediocre and he seemed to make relatively straight forward jobs into major projects." (Wilson Aff. ¶ 2).

  In 2001, upon Mason's transfer back to the Planning Unit of the Paratransit Division, Anthony Spicola — an Hispanic man, older than Mason — assigned Mason to two relatively simple projects based on Mason's reputation as "unmotivated and lacking initiative." (Spicola Aff. ¶ 2). One of the projects involved riding Access-A-Ride vehicles and completing surveys on whether the vehicles performed trips on time, a task usually performed by part-time college interns. (Id.; Barnes-Chung Aff. ¶¶ 2-3). In this study, Mason was directly supervised by Zulema Barnes-Chung, an African-American woman. Contrary to instructions, Mason did not complete the surveys while in the field, but instead did so later at his desk. Mason also would disappear from the office for an hour at a time. (Barnes-Chung Aff. ¶ 3).

  Later, Mason was sent "on loan" to the Eligibility Determination Unit to perform a task sorting and scanning documents, a job usually performed by temporary employees. Mason's supervisors (a Hispanic woman, 45 years old, and a Black woman, 46 years old) "found that plaintiff frequently left the work area" and could not be found "for periods of time"; "asked questions over and over regarding simple tasks that were performed successfully by unskilled temporary workers with little [sic] if any questions asked"; and "often seemed to be idle and gave the sense that he was not motivated."*fn5 (Mullins Aff. ¶ 2; Malave Aff. ¶ 2).

  3. Plaintiff's Applications for Promotions

  Plaintiff's complaint focuses on four positions for promotion that were denied to him.

  i. Job Posting # 1284*fn6

  Mason applied for a promotion to the position of Principal Transportation Planner in the Eligibility Determination Unit, Paratransit Division, posted on December 28, 2001 as Job # 001284 (Job # 1284). (Pl. Mem. at 11; Def. 56.1 Statement ¶ 9; Def. Ex. 2). The selection panel for the position consisted of Noel Malave, Elese Mullins, and Anthony Spicola, all three of whom had previously supervised Mason. (Malave Aff. ¶¶ 2-3; Mullins Aff. ¶¶ 2-3; Spicola Aff. ¶¶ 2-3). Malave is Hispanic and forty-five years of age; Mullins is African-American and forty-six years old; and Spicola is Caucasian and fifty years old. (Malave Aff. ¶ 4; Mullins Aff. ¶ 4; Spicola Aff. ¶ 4). Mullins and Malave reviewed the resumes and selected the candidates for interviews. Thirty-eight individuals applied for this position (Pl. Mem. at 12), six of whom were granted interviews. Four of the six candidates interviewed were African-American; of those four, one was forty-five years of age and two were forty-three years of age.*fn7 Mullins and Malave did not select Mason for an interview; while neither remembers reviewing Mason's resume, both were familiar with Mason's work and believe they did not select him based on their negative experiences working with him. (Mullins Aff. ¶ 3; Malave Aff. ¶ 3).

  The successful candidate was a Caucasian man, age 39, who already worked within the Eligibility Determination Unit as an analyst, was familiar with the responsibilities of the job, and had previous supervisory experience with NYCTA. (Def. 56.1 Statement ¶ 9).

  ii. Job Posting # 1350

  On March 15, 2002, NYCTA posted a job vacancy notice for job #001350 ("job #1350"), a Principal Transportation Planner in the Contract Management Unit, Paratransit Division. (Def. Ex. 6). The position "required skills in the area of contracts, procurement, financial analyses and budget, as it involved the oversight of outside contractors' vouchers and invoices amounting to multi-millions of dollars." (Salerno Aff. ¶ 2). The three members of the selection panel were all Caucasian males, older than plaintiff. (Id.). The panel selected five candidates for interviews, all of whom showed experience in these skills, while plaintiff's resume did not reflect such experience. (Id.). The five candidates selected for interviews were African-American and/or age forty or older. (Id.).

  Plaintiff was not selected for an interview. The three members of the panel at the time of the selection were "aware of plaintiff's reputation within Paratransit management as a worker who was not highly productive." (Id.). The successful candidate was a Caucasian man, age forty, who "had experience in ...


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