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Devon Beaumont v. Cablevision Systems Corporation

April 9, 2012

DEVON BEAUMONT,
PLAINTIFF,
v.
CABLEVISION SYSTEMS CORPORATION, DEFENDANT.



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

MEMORANDUM AND ORDER

In this action, plaintiff Devon Beaumont asserts a claim of retaliation, in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. (the "ADEA"), the New York State Human Rights Law, N.Y. Exec. Law § 290 et seq. (the "NYSHRL"), and the New York City Human Rights Law, N.Y.C. Admin. Code, § 8-101 et seq. (the "NYCHRL"), against defendant Cablevision Systems New York City Corporation ("Cablevision").*fn1 I previously granted Cablevision's partial motion to dismiss Beaumont's other claims. After discovery, Cablevision has now moved for summary judgment on Beaumont's remaining retaliation claim. For the reasons below, the motion is granted.

BACKGROUND

A. Factual Background

Cablevision is a telecommunications, media and entertainment company. Def.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 10, ECF No. 34. *fn2 Cablevision employed Beaumont as a field service technician from December 29, 1999, until he was terminated on April 8, 2009. Id. ¶¶ 22, 78. Cablevision's technicians are ranked into various grades and Beaumont's highest grade was grade 12. Id. ¶ 22.

1. Beaumont's Efforts To Obtain a Promotion and Purported Complaints of Age Discrimination Sam Magliaro, Cablevision's Vice President of Field Operations in Brooklyn, New York, regularly held breakfast meetings with other Cablevision employees. Id. ¶¶ 19, 27. William Entenmann, Cablevision's Director of Administration for its Field Operations Department in Brooklyn, sometimes joined Magliaro for these meetings. Id. ¶¶ 17, 29.

Beaumont attended a breakfast meeting with Magliaro and Entenmann in the spring of 2008. Id. ¶ 31; see also Beaumont Aff. ¶ 4, ECF No. 36. Around the same time, Beaumont had applied for a promotion to a grade 14 field service technician and did not receive the promotion. Def.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. ¶¶ 34--37. Cablevision asserts that this breakfast meeting took place before Beaumont had applied for the promotion, while Beaumont asserts he had already sought and been denied the promotion. Compare id. ¶¶ 31--34, with Beaumont Aff. ¶ 4. According to Beaumont, who was 44 years old at the time, he complained at this breakfast meeting that he was being discriminated against on the basis of age because the most recent promotions had gone to younger technicians, with less tenure and whom Beaumont had helped to train. Beaumont Aff. ¶ 5.

Beaumont attended a second breakfast meeting in October or November 2008. Def.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 39; Beaumont Aff. ¶ 6. It is undisputed that by this time, his application for a promotion had been denied. According to Beaumont, he again complained about age discrimination at the second breakfast meeting. Beaumont Aff. ¶ 6. Cablevision disputes this, asserting that Beaumont never complained about age discrimination. Def.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt.

¶¶ 42--43. According to Cablevision, Beaumont merely complained that others with less tenure at the company, and whom he had trained, had received promotions instead of him. Id. ¶ 41.

In early 2009, Beaumont applied again for a promotion to grade 14. Id. ¶¶ 45--46. Beaumont did not receive a promotion and was informed of this decision on March 31, 2009. Beaumont Aff. ¶ 15; Def.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 48.

In both instances that Beaumont applied for a promotion, Cablevision evaluated him and other applicants using a numerical score. Def.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 36. The score was based on several factors: time with the company, time in the employee's present grade, the employee's last performance evaluation, a supervisor's ranking, performance during an interview, and the "Finest in the Field" index (a composite rating based on the employee's field performance). Id. Different weights were assigned to each factor, which were then combined to produce an overall score. See id.; see also Entenmann Aff. Ex. E, ECF No. 33-6. Using this score, Cablevision was able to rank the candidates. See Def.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 36.

The first time Beaumont applied for a promotion, he was ranked eighth out of 25 candidates. Id. ¶ 37. Cablevision promoted three candidates, each of whom was ranked above Beaumont. Id. The second time Beaumont applied for a promotion, he was ranked fifth out of 13 candidates. Id. ¶ 48. Again, the candidates selected for a promotion were each ranked above Beaumont. Id. ¶ 49.

2. Events Surrounding Beaumont's Termination

Cablevision provides its products to employees for no cost or at a discounted cost, a benefit it calls the Employee Product Benefit (the "EPB"). Id. ¶ 53. Pursuant to company policy, employees must use products provided pursuant to the EPB in their primary residence only. Id. ¶ 54. Cablevision utilizes its Equipment Locator Technology ("ELT") to verify the location of its digital cable boxes and, thus, to verify that employees are complying with the EPB policy. Id. ¶¶ 56--57. Violation of this policy is grounds for termination. Id. ¶ 58.

Beaumont took advantage of the EPB and obtained four cable boxes and a modem for no cost. Id. ¶ 59. At some point in early 2009, Cablevision's ELT indicated that one of Beaumont's four cable boxes was not located in his primary residence, an apartment in Brooklyn. Id. ¶ 61. After Entenmann learned of the ELT indication, he and Michael Louisor, Cablevision's Manager of Human Resources, met with Beaumont to discuss the matter on April 1, 2009, at approximately 8:30 A.M. See id. ¶¶ 18, 63; Beaumont Aff. ¶ 16.

At the meeting, Beaumont told Entenmann and Louisor that all of his cable boxes were in his apartment. Def.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 64; Beaumont Aff. ¶ 16. Entenmann then contacted another Cablevision employee who verified that the ELT indicated one box was not in Beaumont's apartment. Def.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 65. Entenmann asked Beaumont if they could visit Beaumont's apartment to physically verify the box's location and Beaumont gave his permission. Id. ¶¶ 66--67; Beaumont Aff. ¶ 16.

Entenmann, Louisor and Beaumont arrived at the apartment between 9 and 10 A.M. Def.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 68; see also Beaumont Aff. ¶ 18. Beaumont told Entenmann and Louisor that he had given his apartment keys to a friend, Arlene Bennett, so that she could let some workmen into the apartment while he was at work. Def.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. ¶ 69; see also Beaumont Aff. ¶ 18.*fn3 Beaumont called Bennett numerous times, but was unable to reach her. Def.'s Rule 56.1 Stmt. ΒΆ 70; Beaumont Aff. ...


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