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Gmyrek v. Metropolitan Life Insurance Co.

August 20, 2007

KRYSTYNA A. GMYREK, PLAINTIFF,
v.
METROPOLITAN LIFE INSURANCE CO., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: John Gleeson, United States District Judge

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

Metropolitan Life Insurance Co. ("MetLife") moves for summary judgment on the employment discrimination claims brought by Krystyna A. Gmyrek pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq.,("Title VII") and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq.,("ADEA"). Gmyrek alleges that MetLife discriminated against her based on, variously, her age, her gender, and her Polish national origin by (1) failing to promote her to a management position; (2) terminating her employment; (3) ceasing to conduct business in Poland; (4) refusing to cover certain medical expenses incurred by one of her clients in Poland; (5) discontinuing production of Polish-language sales brochures; (6) not providing her with updated business cards; (7) treating her "very badly;" (8) disrupting her work with office construction; (9) stealing the money generated from many of her policy renewals; (10) wrongfully rejecting several of her policy applications; and (11) mis-crediting the commissions from several of her sales. For the reasons discussed below, the motion for summary judgment is granted.

BACKGROUND*fn1

Gmyrek worked for MetLife as an insurance salesperson ("sales rep") from 1996 until her termination in 2002. According to Gmyrek, MetLife discriminated against her in a variety of ways from the outset of her employment. As evidence of national-origin discrimination, for example, Gmyrek alleges that MetLife stopped doing business in Poland, stopped producing Polish-language sales brochures in 2000, and refused to cover the examination expenses of one of Gmyrek's Polish clients. MetLife claims that each of these were non-discriminatory business decisions.

Gmyrek also complains of more direct mistreatment. She alleges that MetLife never provided her with updated business cards after her business phone number was changed, see I Pl. Br. 68, and treated her "very badly" in general. Id. at 9. She also claims she was forced to give up her desk to a "favored man." II Pl. Br. 30, 148. In addition, Gmyrek alleges, she inquired in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2002 about a promotion to a recruiting manager position, but MetLife denied her the promotion because of her gender. See I Pl. Br. 52. MetLife disputes that allegation in part, claiming that "[i]n December 2002, no recruiting manager position was open or available in sales office P49," where Gmyrek worked. MetLife's Rule 56.1 Statement ¶ 51 (citing Gmyrek Dep. 137).

MetLife fired Gmyrek on December 27, 2002 for failing to meet her Minimum Production Requirement ("MPR"). See Erm Aff. ¶ 16.It is MetLife's policy to fire sales reps subject to the MPR who do not meet the requirement, unless the sales rep qualifies for an exception. In 2001 and 2002, MetLife warned Gmyrek in writing that she was not on track to meet the half-year MPR. See Gmyrek Dep. Ex. 8 (half-year MPR warning letter); Gmyrek Dep. 57-58. In both years, however, Gmyrek met the half-year requirement. See Neiman Aff. ¶ 10. Later in 2002, MetLife warned Gmyrek on at least three occasions that she was not on track to meet the year-end MPR. See Gmyrek Dep. Ex. 10 (year-end MPR warning letter); Gmyrek Dep. Ex. 11 (same); Gmyrek Dep. Ex. 14 (same). Gmyrek did not reach the year-end MPR in that year and apparently qualified for no exception to the termination policy. MetLife claims that Gmyrek was one of 201 sales reps in the zone that includes the office in which Gmyrek was employed whose employment was terminated in 2001 and 2002 for failing to meet the MPR.

Gmyrek claims MetLife's discrimination caused her to fall short of the MPR. See I Pl. Br. 3-4 ("MetLife tried to approve [the] false statement that my end of year 2002 production" fell below the MPR and MetLife "tried to avoid responsibility from being responsible for the rest of my MPR."). She also alleges that the MPR requirement "is only pretext to cover discrimination." Id. at 53. As support, Gmyrek claims that MetLife stole the money from her policy renewals 81 times in 2001 and 228 times in 2002, id. at 8-10, that office construction hampered her production in 2002, id. at 4-5, that MetLife wrongfully rejected several of her policy applications, id. at 22 ("[u]nderwriter told me that he would not issue policy for my client"), and that MetLife mis-credited commissions from several policy sales.

Gmyrek also makes more general allegations of discrimination, pointing to MetLife's replacement of 10 older sales reps from her office, including her, with 17 young sales reps. See Gmyrek Dep. Ex. 2 at 4 ("MetLife discharged me and hired still new young people . . . . MetLife P 49 Agency hired in year 2000, 2001 & 2002 most young people."); II Pl. Br. 92-93 ("MetLife replaced old age employee like me . . . by younger and I was fired because of my age."). She also alleges that MetLife fired female sales reps who failed to meet the MPR but not male sales reps. In addition, she claims, seven Polish sales reps were employed in MetLife's sales office in 2000, but none were employed at the end of 2002.

Gmyrek filed an administrative charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on October 2, 2003. She brought this action on September 2, 2004.

DISCUSSION

A. Standard of Review

Summary judgment may not be granted unless "the pleadings, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with the affidavits, if any, show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and that the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(c). A fact is material if a dispute over it "might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A dispute regarding a material fact is genuine "if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party." Id. at 248. The burden is on the moving party to demonstrate that no genuine issue exists regarding any material fact. Gallo v. Prudential Residential Servs., Ltd. P'ship, 22 F.3d 1219, 1223 (2d Cir. 1994).

In considering the motion, "all ambiguities must be resolved and all inferences drawn in favor of the non-moving party." Id. If the moving party identifies the absence of a genuine dispute about a particular material fact, the non-moving party "must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial." Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(e). In doing so, the non-moving party "must do more than simply show that there is some ...


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