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Hall v. Parker Hannifan Corp.

November 30, 2009

KATHERINE HALL, PLAINTIFF,
v.
PARKER HANNIFAN CORPORATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: David G. Larimer United States District Judge

AMENDED DECISION AND ORDER

Plaintiff, Katherine Hall, brought this action against her former employer, Parker HANNIFAN Corporation ("Parker"), alleging several claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the New York Human Rights Law ("HRL"), N.Y. Exec. L. § 290 et seq. Parker has moved for summary judgment, as well as to exclude certain portions of plaintiff's affidavit on the ground that they are inadmissible or are contradicted by her deposition testimony.

BACKGROUND

Hall began working for Parker in 1968. She left, and was rehired, twice, and was most recently rehired in 1978. Hall Depo. (Dkt. #11 Ex. 1) at 12-15. Those prior departures and rehirings are not at issue in this lawsuit.

In 2002, Hall successfully bid on an opening for an analyst position within Parker's quality control department. She remained in that job until her retirement in June 2007. Id. at 17, 23.

When Hall first became a quality control analyst, there were a total of three employees in that position: herself, Ken Simmons, and Mike Milliman. Id. at 66. At some point, Milliman was promoted to an engineering position, and was not replaced, leaving Hall and Simmons as the only two quality control analysts. Id.

After becoming a quality control analyst, Hall complained on several occasions to her supervisors about what she perceived to be the unequal and inequitable distribution of work between her and Simmons. She alleges, in short, that although her supervisors promised to address her complaints, essentially nothing was done about the uneven workload. Plaintiff also alleges that she was "scolded" and "isolated" by Simmons and her supervisor, Brian DesCamp.

On April 23, 2007, Hall made an appointment with Parker's Human Resource Manager Kelly Bean to discuss early retirement. Plaintiff's Response to Defendant's Statement of Material Facts (Dkt. #17-6) ¶ 87. At their meeting the following day, Hall told Bean that she could not take the pressure anymore because of her work load and that she wanted to retire. Id. ¶ 88. Within less than an hour after that meeting, Hall sent an email to several managers and supervisors informing them that she planned to retire effective June 1, 2007. Id. ¶ 89.

Hall's last day of work at Parker was April 25, 2007. Id. ¶ 94. She then used her accumulated vacation leave for the period from then through the end of May 2007, and she did begin her retirement at the beginning of June. Id. ¶¶ 89-91, Dkt. #11-25.

On June 15, 2007, Hall filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"), alleging that she had been subjected to discrimination on the basis of her sex, and unlawful retaliation under Title VII. Dkt. #17-6 ¶ 103. She alleged that these unlawful acts were "all perpetrated by [her] male supervisor," i.e., DesCamp. Dkt. #11-26 at 1. Hall later amended her EEOC charge to allege that she had been discriminated against by her "male manager and co-worker," apparently referring to DesCamp and Simmons. Dkt. #11-27 at 2. The EEOC issued a Dismissal and Notice of Suit Rights on October 22, 2007. Dkt. #11-28.

Plaintiff commenced this action on January 22, 2008. The complaint asserts four causes of action: (1) sex discrimination based on a hostile work environment under Title VII; (2) sexual harassment under the HRL; (3) unlawful retaliation under Title VII; and (4) unlawful retaliation under the HRL. In response to defendant's motion for summary judgment, however, plaintiff states that she "concedes" her discrimination and harassment claims, and that she "does not contend against defendant's motion for summary judgment based upon these claims." Plaintiff's Mem. of Law (Dkt. #17-9) at 4. Accordingly, the only claims now before me are plaintiff's retaliation claims.

DISCUSSION

I. Retaliation Claims--General Principles

"[R]etaliation claims under the NYSHRL are generally governed by the same standards as federal claims under Title VII." Schiano v. Quality Payroll Systems, Inc., 445 F.3d 597, 609 (2d Cir. 2006). Such claims are analyzed using a burden-shifting framework similar to that applied to disparate-treatment discrimination cases. See McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. ...


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