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Obed Vega v. Federal Express Corporation

September 29, 2011

OBED VEGA, PLAINTIFF,
v.
FEDERAL EXPRESS CORPORATION,
DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Richard J. Holwell, District Judge:

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Pro Se plaintiff Obed Vega ("plaintiff") brings this employment discrimination action against defendant Federal Express Corporation ("FedEx" or "defendant"), alleging race discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq. and the New York State Human Rights Law ("NYSHRL"), N.Y. Exec. Law §§ 290 -- 297; and age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621 -- 634 and the NYSHRL. Plaintiff, a former employee at FedEx, alleges that FedEx's termination of his employment was unfair and discriminatory because it was motivated by plaintiff's age and circumstances in his personal life at the time of termination. Defendant now moves for summary judgment. For the reasons set forth below, defendant's motion is GRANTED in its entirety and plaintiff's claims are dismissed with prejudice.

I. BACKGROUND

For the purposes of the present motion, the following facts-drawn from Plaintiff's Complaint ("Pl.'s Compl."), Deposition of Plaintiff ("Pl.'s Dep."), documents incorporated in Defendant's Exhibits ("Def.'s Ex.") and Plaintiff's Affirmation in Opposition to Motion ("Pl.'s Opp'n")-are taken as true. Plaintiff, a Hispanic-American male born on March 16, 1968, was around the age of forty when FedEx terminated his employment on March 13, 2008. Pl.'s Dep. at 8:24-9:1; 26:6-8. He had been an employee of FedEx's from 1997 until his termination in 2008. In December 1996, plaintiff signed an employment application with FedEx that included the following provision:

To the extent the law allows an employee to bring legal action against Federal Express Corporation, I agree to bring that complaint within the time prescribed by law or 6 months from the date of the event forming the basis of my lawsuit, whichever expires first.

Pl.'s Dep. at 22:3-25:5; Def.'s Ex. 1 at 11-70. In August 1997, plaintiff's application was accepted and was offered the position of service agent. He remained in this position for approximately six or seven years before accepting a courier position, in which he remained until his termination in March 2008. Pl.'s Dep. at 27:2-9 & 108:7-25; Def.'s Ex. 8; Declaration of Byron Mason ("Mason Decl.") at ¶3.

The chain of events that led to plaintiff's termination is as follows. On February 5, 2008, when plaintiff went to the Department of Motor Vehicles ("DMV") to change the New York address on his driver's license to a New Jersey address, he was informed that he must first go to the traffic court in the City Court of Yonkers, New York to take care of an outstanding traffic ticket. Pl.'s Dep. at 90:8-91:16. Also on February 5, 2008, plaintiff went to the Traffic Court Division in the City Court of Yonkers, which notified plaintiff that he had missed an earlier trial date for his traffic ticket and, after plaintiff posted a $250 cash bond, set May 6, 2008 as the new trial date. Pl.'s Opp'n at 2; Pl.'s Dep. at 90:8-91:16; Def.'s Ex. 2.

On February 19, 2008, plaintiff signed a document to acknowledge that he had received a "Driver's Requirements Memo" from FedEx Management, which he had certified, read, and understood. Pl.'s Dep. at 94:16 - 95:18; Def.'s Ex. 4 at 8-69. The Driver's Requirements Memo, besides requiring every FedEx driver to maintain a valid driver's license, includes the following requirement in accordance with the Driving Qualification policy 4-48 in FedEx's People manual:

A driver receiving a traffic violation (other than parking) in any vehicle must notify FedEx Express in writing by the next business day and before driving. . Failure of the employee to provide notification of a traffic violation to his manager as outlined will result in discipline up to and including termination. . All employees who drive as a part of their job whose CDL/drivers license is revoked, lost, suspended, expired, or canceled must notify their manager by the next business day and before operating a Company vehicle. . FedEx Express and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) require that a driver who loses any privilege to operate a commercial motor vehicle, or who is disqualified from operating a commercial motor vehicle, must advise FedEx Express the next business day after receiving notification and prior to operating a commercial motor vehicle.

Def.'s Ex. 1 at 8-70.

On March 4, 2008, Byron Mason, plaintiff's supervisor at FedEx, requested plaintiff's driver information from the DMV for the purposes of an annual audit and reviewed the report on March 11, 2008. The DMV report revealed that plaintiff's driver's license had been suspended on May 27, 2007 and reinstated on February 5, 2008, during which time period plaintiff had regularly operated a FedEx vehicle. Mason Decl. at ¶7. On March 12, 2008, plaintiff signed a certification stating the following:

4. If I receive a traffic violation (other than parking) in any vehicle, I must notify FedEx Express management in writing and the state that issued my driver's license of the citation by the next business day and before operating a FedEx Express Vehicle.

7. I have not had my driver's license revoked, lost, suspended, expired, or canceled during the past 12 months. .

Pl.'s Dep. at 98:7 -- 100:17; Def.'s Ex. 5. Furthermore, plaintiff received and signed the same certification outlining the responsibilities above every year during his employment as a ...


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