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Maya Chakraborty v. Town of Amherst

January 28, 2012

MAYA CHAKRABORTY, PLAINTIFF,
v.
TOWN OF AMHERST, NEW YORK, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: William M. Skretny Chief Judge United States District Court

DECISION AND ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

In this action Plaintiff Maya Chakraborty brings suit against Defendant, the Town of Amherst ("Amherst"), claiming violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"), as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e, et seq., and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. §§ 621-634. Plaintiff's claims arise out of her termination from the position of part-time Survey Assistant/Case Manager with Amherst's Senior Services, and Defendant's subsequent failure to rehire her for various positions that became available thereafter. Presently before this Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment.*fn1 For the reasons discussed below, Defendant's motion is granted.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Facts*fn2 Plaintiff, Maya Chakraborty was employed with Defendant Amherst's Department of Senior Services from February 19, 2005 to November 2005, and again from April 2006 to early 2010. (Def.'s Stmt. ¶¶ 2, 3, 4, 5, Docket No. 15.) During her first eight month period, she worked as a part-time survey assistant/case manager. (Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 1.) After she was rehired, she worked as a youth activity leader on a part-time basis. (Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 4.) While employed as a survey assistant/case manager, she was informed of various complaints by Amherst residents who disliked her Indian accent and intended to cancel their visits to Amherst's outreach center should they be scheduled to meet with Plaintiff. (Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 23, Docket No. 24.) Amherst allegedly took no further action to protect Plaintiff from these complaints. (Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 25.)

Sometime in 2005, Amherst received grant-funding for a full-time case manager position. (Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 3.) As part of this funding, Amherst was required to terminate a part-time outreach worker position as of November 1, 2005. (Id.) Defendant terminated Plaintiff's position, but informed her that the position was being eliminated due to budget cuts. (Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 4.) Additionally, Amherst's town records mistakenly stated that Plaintiff had resigned her position. (Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 5.)

Prior to her termination, Plaintiff expressed a desire to resume employment if and when funds became available, as well as a willingness to work at a full-time level. (Pl.'s Stmt. ¶¶ 6, 7.) Plaintiff was informed that she was not eligible for the new full-time position ("November 2005 position"), having not taken and passed the civil service examination required by New York State Civil Service Laws. (Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 8; Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 6.) Defendant allegedly discouraged Plaintiff from taking the examination by telling her that there was a five-year waiting list, and that applicants higher up on the list would be given first priority. (Pl.'s Stmt. ¶¶ 9, 10.) The position was ultimately filled by a younger Caucasian applicant who had passed the civil service examination. (Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 11; Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 6.)

In January 2007, a second full-time case manager position was created ("January 2007 position"). This position was also filled by a Caucasian applicant, though it is disputed whether this applicant had passed the civil service examination. (Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 12.)

In October 2007, one of the two case manager positions became vacant ("October 2007 position"). (Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 8.) Although, as before, this position required a person who had passed the civil service examination, no valid civil service list existed from which to fill the position. (Id.) Plaintiff applied for the position, but was not hired. (Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 17.) Instead, Judy Kwarta, another Caucasian employee in her early 30's was provisionally hired for the position. (Id.; Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 9). Ms. Kwarta had been an Amherst employee since 2001 and was advised that she would have to take and pass the civil service examination when it was next offered. (Def.'s Stmt. ¶ 9.)

At the end of February 2008, a part-time survey assistant and case manager position became vacant ("February 2008 position"). (Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 19.) Although Plaintiff was given an interview, Amherst ultimately decided not to hire Plaintiff for the position. (Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 20.) The position was instead filled by a younger Caucasian employee who held a Masters in Social Work. (Pl.'s Stmt. ¶ 21; Walsh Aff. ¶ 13, Docket No. 18.)

B. Procedural History

Plaintiff commenced this action on June 21, 2010 by filing a complaint in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York. (Docket No. 1.) Defendant filed an Answer on July 12, 2010 (Docket No. 4) and the case was referred to the Honorable Judge Leslie G. Foschio, United States Magistrate Judge, for pre-trial non-dispositive matters (Docket No. 7). Following discovery, Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment on August 25, 2011. The parties' briefs were deemed submitted as of October 24, 2011, at which time this Court took Defendant's motion under advisement without oral argument.

III. DISCUSSION

A. Summary Judgment ...


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