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LENNON v. NYC

October 6, 2005.

JACQUELINE LENNON, Plaintiff,
v.
NYC; NYC HEALTH AND HOSPITALS CORP.; KINGS COUNTY HOSPITAL; GEORGE PROCTOR; PETER GRIFFITH; and JEAN LEON, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: ROBERT SWEET, Senior District Judge

OPINION

Defendants New York City ("the City"), New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation ("HHC"), Kings County Hospital Center ("KCHC"), George Proctor ("Proctor"), Peter Griffith ("Griffith"), and Jean Leon ("Leon") (collectively, the "defendants"), have moved for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56, Fed.R.Civ.P., to dismiss the complaint of plaintiff Jacqueline Lennon ("Lennon"). For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted in part and denied in part.

Prior Proceedings

  Lennon, a Senior Associate Director formerly employed by HHC, filed her complaint on April 8, 2003 alleging employment discrimination pursuant to Title VII,*fn1 the New York State Human Rights Law ("SHRL"),*fn2 the ADEA,*fn3 and ADA,*fn4 based on her race ("American Black"), national origin (African-American), age (56 in 2004) and purported disability (fibromyaligia), contending that her staff was involuntarily transferred, that her department was downsized, and that she was denied a promotion and terminated.

  Discovery proceeded and the instant motion was heard and marked fully submitted on March 23, 2005.

  The Facts

  The facts are set forth in the Local Rule 56.1 statements of the parties and are undisputed except as noted below.

  Lennon graduated from Bronx Community College, Baruch College, and Fordham University (Master of Science). She began working at the HHC in 1982 and worked at Harlem Hospital, Woodhull Hospital, and Lincoln Hospital.

  On August 11, 1998, Lennon applied for the position of Executive Assistant to the Executive Director at Woodhull Hospital with HHC, and on October 26, 1998, she was appointed to this position. She received Woodhull's new employee handbook, HHC's Equal Employment Opportunity Policy, and notice that as a Group II (managerial) employee she would not be covered by the collective bargaining agreement.

  In January 1999, Lennon, who alleges she was then 51 years old, applied for the position of Senior Associate Director in Media Relations and Marketing at KCHC as a result of a posting. She was recruited and hired for this position by Leon. At the time, Leon was 55, and she testified that her race and national origin was black Trinidadian. Lennon testified that "Jean Leon, the executive director at Kings County Hospital asked that I apply for the marketing position at Kings County Hospital."

  Proctor, who interviewed Lennon, was 46 years old at the time of recruitment and is an African-American.

  Lennon was formally promoted to the position of Senior Associate Director of Media Relations and Marketing at KCHC by HHC on or about February 8, 1999, received a 15% salary increase, and was again informed that as a managerial employee she would not be covered by the collective bargaining agreement.

  Lennon's supervisor in February of 1999 was Proctor (African-American), who was Chief Operating Officer/Chief Financial Officer for the Brooklyn/Staten Island network, a network of HHC facilities in Brooklyn and Staten Island.

  Lennon received an annual evaluation for the period from July 1, 1999 to June 30, 2000 from her supervisor Proctor and her performance was rated "satisfactory." This evaluation was reviewed by Leon. According to the evaluation, Lennon needed to improve her delegation of functions and activities to staff, to improve her coordination with other departments, and to increase broad marketing themes.

  Lennon received an annual evaluation for the period from July 1, 2000 to June 30, 2001 from her supervisor Proctor. Her performance was rated "satisfactory" and the evaluation was reviewed by Leon.

  Lennon has testified that she has fibromyaligia, which she describes as a stress related illness that results in pain in her joints and muscles, and that she takes Tramadol, Ibuprofen, and Tripalmitin to control her fibromyaligia.

  In 2001 she was given permission by Proctor to attend physical therapy two to three times a week in the mornings. Proctor believed Lennon had back pains and some form of carpal tunnel syndrome. Lennon requested, and was given, a special chair, back rest and other ergonomic furniture for her alleged illness.

  Lennon testified that fibromyaligia did not prevent her from functioning at KCHC or at her present job at State University of New York Downstate Hospital as Director of Marketing.

  In 2001 Lennon's department consisted of no more than five to six people which included Frisnert Benoit, James Hoban, Duane Chandler, and Deborah Souviner. In 2001 Leon and Proctor testified that they decided to restructure the media relations and marketing department by increasing the community outreach and business development aspect of the department. According to Leon and Proctor, they believed that an Associate Executive Director position should be created to oversee the department.

  In February 2001, the position of Associate Executive Director of Media, Marketing, Community Relations and Business Development at KCHC was posted. Lennon applied and was interviewed for the position. She testified that she was told not to apply by Proctor and that she was interviewed by Proctor and Ms. Brown, who was from the Caribbean.

  Griffith, a black male of Trinidadian national origin, also applied for the position. Lennon testified that Griffith "might be 40." Donald LaHuffman, an African-American in his 30's, ...


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