The opinion of the court was delivered by: DEBORAH BATTS, District Judge
Plaintiff Thomas J. Germano commenced this action against the
above-named Defendants, claiming that they discriminated against
him on the basis of age in the course of his employment and
termination thereof, and that the Defendants' termination of his
employment was a breach of contract. Plaintiff asserts claims
under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), the New
York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL), and the New York City Human
Rights Law ("NYCHRL"); as well as for common law breach of
contract and breach of implied-in-fact contract. Defendants
Cornell University, New York State School of Industrial and Labor
Relations ("ILR School"), Edward J. Lawler, Ronald Seeber, and
Ann W. Martin move pursuant to Rule 12(b)(6) of the Federal Rules
of Civil Procedure to dismiss Plaintiff's NYCHRL, contract, and
implied contract claims for failure to state a claim upon which
relief can be granted. Defendants also move to dismiss Plaintiff's New York City Human Rights Law claim
for lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to F.R.C.P.
12(b)(1). For the reasons stated below, Defendants' motion to
dismiss is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART.
A. Plaintiff's Employment at the ILR School
Plaintiff began working at the ILR School on October 7, 1976.
(Compl. ¶ 1).*fn1 The ILR School, a division of Defendant
Cornell University, offers the nation's only four-year
undergraduate program in industrial and labor relations. The
school has several extension offices in the State of New York,
including Buffalo, Rochester, Albany, Ithaca, New York City, and
Long Island, which is where Plaintiff worked as the Director for
the entire duration of his employment from October 7, 1976 until
his termination on January 13, 2003. (Id. ¶¶ 3, 12)
Plaintiff began his employment at the ILR School as an
Extension Associate I, which is how the ILR School refers to
instructors who work at its Extension offices. (Compl. ¶ 13).
Extension associates have professional qualifications comparable to those of professors and associate professors at Cornell.
(Id.). In 1988, Plaintiff "was promoted to Senior Extension
Associate II, which was the ILR School Extension's version of
"tenure." (Id. ¶ 14). At that time, ILR School Associate Deans
Lois Gray and Ronald Seeber told him that "once Cornell and the
ILR School appointed him a Senior Extension Associate II, he had
the equivalent of tenure, and, accordingly, could not be fired
other than for cause or budgetary exigencies whereby the school
was unable to continue paying his salary. (Id. ¶ 16).
B. Harassment and Termination of Plaintiff
Beginning in 2000, Cornell, the ILR School, and Defendant Ann
Martin, associate Dean of the ILR School until Cornell terminated
her position in December 2002,*fn2 allegedly tried for two
and half years to force him to retire by constant pressure,
threats, and harassment regarding his age. (Compl. ¶ 20). For
example, Martin first suggested that Plaintiff retire during a
meeting on November 2, 2000, and allegedly repeated several times
at this meeting that he should consider retiring and that "it's
time" for him to retire. (Id. ¶ 21). Plaintiff next saw Martin
at a meeting in New York City on February 6, 2001, where she
allegedly asked him if he was considering her suggestion to
retire. (Id. ¶ 22). Subsequently, Plaintiff ate dinner in Manhattan with Martin
on April 18, 2001 where she again allegedly asked Plaintiff if he
planned on retiring. Moreover, at that same dinner, she
supposedly "threatened to find someone else to do his work and
that he should begin some serious retirement planning." (Id. ¶
Thereafter, at a District Directors meeting in New York City on
December 5, 2001, Martin announced that a committee would meet
the next day to discuss the future of the Long Island office and
allegedly told Plaintiff specifically that his attendance was not
necessary, although he had been the Director of that Office for
nearly 25 years. (Compl. ¶ 26). On December 18th, Martin and
Plaintiff met at JFK Airport where she allegedly told Plaintiff
his office would have to produce savings or increased income in
the amount of $20,000 to $25,000 by June 2002 and function with
one less employee. Additionally, Plaintiff claims Martin
"threatened to break the lease and close the Long Island Office
either partially or completely." (Id. ¶ 27).
From January to June 2002, Plaintiff reduced the Long Island
office's operating costs by approximately $25,000 while working
with one less employee. (Id. ¶ 28). Meanwhile, on January 23,
2002, Martin allegedly told Plaintiff that if he would relinquish the position of Director she would stop harassing him to retire.
(Id. ¶ 30).
On October 4, 2002, Martin met with Plaintiff at the Long
Island office and informed him that Defendant Edward Lawler, Dean
of the ILR School, had decided to close the Long Island Office to
save money. (Id. ¶ 31). She allegedly stressed that the
decision to close the Office was not made as a result of poor
performance, and that in fact the office "was overachieving
despite being understaffed." (Id.). Thereafter, during a
conference call between ILR School Deans and Directors on October
9, Lawler allegedly told Plaintiff that ILR needed to save
$500,000 and that some people might need to retire. (Id. ¶ 32).
During this conversation, Martin supposedly said, "I know Tom
Germano is sitting quietly in a great deal of pain, and I thank
you for that, Tom. I'm sure others are feeling for you as I am."
On October 24, 2002, Plaintiff allegedly received a letter from
Lawler stating that Plaintiff's employment had been terminated
for financial reasons effective July 1, 2002. (Id. ¶ 33). The
letter did not mention performance or managerial problems.
(Id.). The only other employee at the Long Island Extension
office whose employment was terminated was a woman over 70 years
old with only 2½ years service to Cornell while the other employees, all junior and younger than Plaintiff, were
allegedly offered employment with the ILR School's New York City
district office. (Id. ¶ 34). However, after the Long Island
Federation of Labor and the Long Island Labor Advisory Board
threatened to lobby for an alternative provider of labor
education in Long Island, the Long Island Office remained open
and Plaintiff kept his job as Director. (Id. ¶ 39-40).
On December 23, 2002, Plaintiff sent an email to Lawler seeking
confirmation that the Long Island office's current level of
staffing would be retained and that a vacant labor studies
support position could be filled. (Compl. ¶ 47). According to
Jack Caffey, the President of the Long Island Federation of
Labor, Plaintiff allegedly had the authority to hire up to the
current level of staff working at the Long Island Office at that
time, plus fill the labor studies support position that had been
vacant. (Id. ¶ 48). On December 24, 2002, Plaintiff sent a
letter to Margaret Sipser Leibowitz, an ILR School employee who
was teaching ILR classes in Ithaca in the fall of 2002, and
called Tina Hament "to see if either or both would fill the one
vacant position and one soon-to-be vacant position in the Long
Island Office, respectively." (Id. ¶ 49). Plaintiff claims ...