submitted no evidence that his improvements satisfactorily corrected the problems. The GSA award program regulations state that even for those suggestions that are fully adopted, "not all adopted suggestions are eligible for an award." Pl.'s Memo in Opp., Ex. 5 P 3(a). For instance, awards should not be made when suggestions fall within normal duties, or they duplicate ideas already being considered. Id. P 3(b). Kipnis' suggestion was not novel. Although rarely done, renegotiating leases was among the duties of contracting officers. Pl.'s Submission of Add'l Evidence, Ex. C1 (Suggestion Evaluation).
Kipnis has not demonstrated that the GSA was required to award him any specific amount more than the $ 500 he received. His estimates of possible savings realized by the GSA are just that--general estimates that cannot be traced to Kipnis' specific suggestion. Nor has Kipnis identified any GSA formula for pro-rating the savings of a suggestion adopted "in part." In light of this dearth of evidence, the Court finds that Kipnis was not "automatically" entitled to a higher award for his suggestion. As Kipnis was not automatically entitled to a higher bonus, under Rabinovitz there was no adverse action.
Indeed, even if we found that the $ 500 award constituted an adverse action, we could not find the causal link necessary to satisfy the third element of retaliation. "[A] plaintiff may establish such a link through evidence that the [adverse action] took place on the heels of the protected activity." Dey v. Colt Constr. & Dev. Co., 28 F.3d 1446, 1458 (7th Cir. 1994). Here, however, no causal link is shown by the temporal sequence of events. Kipnis submitted his suggestion to the award program in April 1993. He first received the $ 500 award for the suggestion on December 3, 1993, two days after he filed a formal complaint regarding the Report of Inquiry that had been issued in the interim. His request for a re-evaluation of the amount of the award was not finally denied until February 1996, more than two years after Kipnis had filed his complaint. In these circumstances, the Court cannot find that the sequence of events demonstrates any causal link.
Further, even if we concluded that a prima facie showing had been made, Kipnis has not rebutted the GSA's proffered non-discriminatory justification for not increasing the amount of the award. In this case, calculating the award was not an exact science. The GSA has stated that it gave Kipnis the $ 500 award as a recognition of his interest in his workplace, not based upon any particular amount of savings it expected to realize from the suggestion. Def.'s Supplemental Mem., Ex. B P 9. As there is nothing in the record to indicate that Kipnis' suggestion was itself responsible for any quantifiable savings, Kipnis cannot quarrel with the GSA's approach. Moreover, the GSA avers, and Kipnis has not refuted, that his $ 500 award was "comparable to awards given to employees who had submitted similar suggestions and had not filed EEO complaints." Id. P 11. Kipnis would have to "'produce evidence from which a rational factfinder could infer that the [GSA] lied' about its proffered reasons" for not giving him a higher award. Anderson v. Baxter Healthcare Corp., 13 F.3d 1120, 1124 (7th Cir. 1994) (quoting Shager v. Upjohn Co., 913 F.2d 398, 401 (7th Cir. 1990)). Kipnis has not done so. As Kipnis cannot show that he should have received any award greater than $ 500, his claim of retaliation cannot stand. Therefore, the Court also grants summary judgment in favor of the defendant on Count II.
For all of the foregoing reasons, the defendant's motion for summary judgment is granted in its entirety. The complaint is dismissed with prejudice, the parties to bear their own costs. The plaintiff's motion for oral argument is denied.
United States District Judge
December 2, 1996
JUDGMENT IN A CIVIL CASE
IT IS ORDERED AND ADJUDGED Summary judgment is entered in its entirety in favor of the defendant, David J. Baram, Administrator, General Services Administration and against the plaintiff, Kenneth Kipnis. The complaint is dismissed with prejudice, the parties to bear their own costs.
There being no just reason for delay, this is a final and appealable order.
December 2, 1996