Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

EARLY v. BANKERS LIFE & CAS. CO.

May 17, 1994

DONALD E. EARLY, Plaintiff,
v.
BANKERS LIFE & CASUALTY COMPANY and UNITED STATES EQUAL EMPLOYMENT OPPORTUNITY COMMISSION, Defendants.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CHARLES RONALD NORGLE, SR.

 CHARLES R. NORGLE, SR., District Judge:

 Before the court is the motion of defendant Bankers Life and Casualty Company ("Bankers") for summary judgment. For the following reasons, the motion is granted.

 FACTS1

 Bankers is an Illinois corporation with its principal place of business in Illinois, engaged in the business of marketing and selling insurance. Plaintiff Donald E. Early ("Early") is a former employee of Bankers who occupied various positions with Bankers from November 19, 1969 until November 18, 1988 when he was involuntarily discharged. At the time of his termination, Early was fifty-six years of age. *fn2"

 In 1969, Early was first hired as life insurance sales manager for Bankers. As a sales manager he provided support to Bankers' home office staffs, drafted underwriting rules, product development proposals, product announcement, brochures, and rate manuals, and conducted development research and analysis. In 1973, Early was promoted to manager of sales development. In 1975, Early was transferred to the Marketing Division, where he continued to provide marketing support with an emphasis on life insurance and annuities.

 In 1977, Early was promoted to Director of Marketing Development. In 1983, Early was assigned to the position of Director of Life Annuity Product Development within the Marketing Division. As the director, his emphasis on life insurance, annuities, and advanced underwriting increased.

 In 1984, ICH acquired Bankers and began restructuring its organization. The friction arose between the management and Early after this reorganization. As part of the restructuring, there was a substantial labor force reduction from 4,200 employees in 1984 down to 2,800 in recent years. The largest reduction occurred prior to 1987. Forty-seven employees including Early were released in the 1988 reduction.

 From the mid-1980s to 1988, the relevant chain of command in the Marketing Division at Bankers was as follows: employees Alice Bauer ("Bauer"), Tim Baumann ("Baumann"), and Tom Dennany ("Dennany") reported to James Gaylord ("Gaylord"); Gaylord and Early reported to Greenfield; and Greenfield reported to Jim Bentle, the Senior Vice President of Field Development. In the Actuarial Division, Bernard Rabinowitz ("Rabinowitz") reported to Paul Janus ("Janus"), the Senior Vice President and Chief Actuary.

 Another change by ICH was to consolidate the product development and marketing support division with the Actuarial Division. The decision to consolidate was not made, suggested, or encouraged by Bankers' management. ICH's then president Jack Gardner ("Gardner") implemented and executed the move. Prior to the acquisition, the product development and marketing support division was under the Marketing Division. After the consolidation, the Marketing Division's function was limited to providing agent and management training related to product releases. With the changes, Early was transferred to the Actuarial Division.

 After the transfer, Early no longer reported to Greenfield, but instead reported directly to Janus. After several months, however, Rabinowitz became Early's direct supervisor at the direction of Janus. Both Janus and Rabinowitz had difficulties in working with Early.

 The consolidation not only affected the chain of command, but also altered the scope of Early's responsibilities. ICH took an active role in developing new products and preparing the necessary sales materials. Early was thus no longer needed by Bankers to develop products and prepare sales materials. His duties changed from developing new products to adapting and implementing the product sales materials prepared by ICH for Bankers' field representatives. To assist Early in performing his duties at the Actuarial Division, Bankers assigned Bauer to Early's staff. Bauer is four years older than Early. Bauer responded to Early's requests to prepare drafts of marketing materials, handled correspondence, and provided relief when the proposal system became overloaded. During this time, Bankers was preparing Bauer to be a life-annuity product specialist.

 In 1986, the departure of Gardner provided Janus and Bentle the opportunity to return the life and annuity marketing support function from the Actuarial Division to the Marketing Division. In late 1986, the marketing functions within the Actuarial Division returned to the Marketing Division. Bauer, along with other members of Early's staff, was also transferred back to the Marketing Division and continued to perform the same duties. Bauer, however, began reporting to Gaylord. Early was not transferred back to the Marketing Division.

 Though Early was not transferred along with the product implementation and marketing support division, Early's job was transferred and reassigned to Gaylord in the Marketing Division. Gaylord is three years older than Early. Essentially, Gaylord's job description was expanded to encompass Early's prior duties. With the new job description came the new title for Gaylord: Director of Agent Development/Product Implementation. Prior to the new job description, Gaylord was only responsible for agent development.

 Consequently, after the product implementation function of the Actuarial Division and Early's staff was returned to the Marketing Division, Early did not have any remaining duties at the Actuarial Division. So, in November 1986, Bentle instructed Greenfield to create a position for Early in the Marketing Division, but no staff or salary increases were allowed for the new position. Bentle made the request so that Early may continue his employment with Bankers until he could qualify for additional severance benefits under Bankers' Rule of Seventy-five. *fn3"

 In April 1987, Janus informed Early that there were no tasks or functions remaining in the Actuarial Division for Early to perform. Janus advised Early, however, that Greenfield intended to offer him a position in the Marketing Division. Subsequently, Early spoke with Greenfield about the position in the Marketing Division. Greenfield explained that the position was a position with a fixed level of compensation with no eligibility for salary increases including merit increases. Further, Greenfield informed Early that he will not have a staff and that his duties will be defined by Greenfield himself. Early accepted the terms of the position.

 In August 1987, Bankers created and filled a new position of Director of Financial & Business Sales & Services Division. The person who filled that position was not Early, but a younger, outside-hire, James A. White ("White"). White was thirty-eight years of age at the time of his hire. On November 18, 1988, Early became one of the forty-seven individuals terminated by Bankers in 1988. After the termination, Early's former position was eliminated from Bankers' organizational chart.

 This suit followed on November 16, 1990. Early alleges that Bankers engaged in unlawful employment practices in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621, et seq. In the amended complaint, Early accuses Bankers of singling him out and systematically stripping away his titles, duties, and responsibilities and reassigning them to younger employees, resulting in his termination. Bankers contends that Early's position was phased out as part of its restructuring and labor management. Bankers further' asserts ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.