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April 30, 2004.

ADP, INC., Defendant

The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOAN H. LEFKOW, District Judge


Plaintiff, Dales Cornelius ("Cornelius"), has filed a one-count complaint against defendant, ADP, Inc. ("ADP"), alleging age discrimination in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq. Before the court is ADP's motion for summary judgment. The court has jurisdiction over the action pursuant to 29 U.S.C. § 626 and 28 U.S.C. § 1337. For the reasons stated herein, the court denies the motion.


  Summary judgment obviates the need for a trial where there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R. Civ, P. 56(c). To determine whether any genuine fact exists, the court must pierce the pleadings and assess the proof as presented in depositions, answers to interrogatories, admissions, and affidavits that are part of the record. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c) Advisory Committee's notes. The party seeking summary judgment bears the initial burden of proving there is no genuine issue of material fact. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986). In response, the non-moving party cannot rest on bare pleadings alone but must use the evidentiary tools listed above to designate specific material facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial. Id at 324; Insolia v. Philip Morris Inc., 216 F.3d 596, 598 (7th Cir. 2000). A material fact must be outcome determinative under the governing law. Insolia, 216 F.3d at 598-99. Although a bare contention that an issue of fact exists is insufficient to create a factual dispute, Bellaver v. Quanex Corp., 200 F.3d 485, 492 (7th Cir. 2000), the court must construe all facts in a light most favorable to the i non-moving party as well as view all reasonable inferences in that party's favor. Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 255 (1986). The court must apply the summary judgment standard with "added rigor" in employment discrimination cases, where intent is the central issue. Kralman v. Illinois Dept. of Veterans' Affairs, 23 F.3d 150, 152 (7th Cir. 1994).


  A. ADP's Reduction in Force

  In the spring of 2002, ADP reduced its work force in National Account sales (salespersons selling ADP products and services to a list of specific existing customers and potential customers that have between 1,000 and 5,000 employees) on a nationwide basis. (Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶ 8.) Bob Lynch, Vice President of Sales for the Midwest National Account Service Group, prepared a ranking of the sales personnel who reported to him and ultimately decided who would be terminated. (Id. ¶ 9.) ADP's staff reduction policy required Lynch to rate employees on four factors (the "RIF factors"): (1) performance and productivity, (2) knowledge and skills, (3) initiative, and (4) tenure. Lynch assigned 0 to 5 points for each category rating from remedial (0 points) to considerably above average (5 points). (Id. ¶ 10.) Division headquarters determined that Lynch should only consider performance and productivity from January 2001 through March 2002 because performance and productivity during that period reflected the downturn in the economy. (Id ¶ 11.).

  According to Lynch, "performance and productivity means sales results." (Lynch Dep., at 47.) ADP's Human Resource manager understood that the employees' performance and productivity evaluation would be based on whether or not salespersons met their sales quotas. (Pl. Stat. Of Add'l Facts ¶ 47.) In rating this factor, however, Lynch testified that he considered subjective factors and the length of time an employee worked in National Accounts in addition to an employee's achievement of quota. (Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶ 12.) ADP had no guidelines or written policy regarding the use of a subjective component that was to be considered in rating a salesperson's performance and productivity. (Pl. Stat. Of Add'l Facts ¶ 55.)

  Lynch defined the second factor, knowledge and skills, as pertaining to product knowledge and sales skills. (Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶ 14.) Lynch stated that he based this rating on "casual feedback as opposed to specific observations." (Lynch Dep., at 53.) However, Lynch was unable to identify any "feedback" that went into his ratings, stating only that "casual conversations are very hard to recall." (Id at 72-74.) Lynch defined the third factor, initiative and dependability, as pertaining to attitude, collaboration, teamwork, and attendance. (Id at 49-50.) The fourth factor, tenure, was rated based on a point system provided on the evaluation form. (Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶ 16.)

  Lynch rated the Midwest National Account sales employees on the RIF factors. ADP's Human Resources Department then weighted the factors, 30% to each of the first two factors and 20% to each of the last two, to produce a ranking of the employees ("RIF ranking"). (Id ¶ 21.) ADP's Staff Reduction Policy required that Lynch terminate the sales persons in the inverse order of their ranking, lowest score first. (Pl. Stat. Of Add'l Facts ¶ 44.) Based on the RIF ranking and the salesperson's geographical location, Lynch selected eight salespersons for termination, (Def. L.R. 56.1 ¶ 18.) The six employees who were ranked lowest on the RIF ranking list were terminated. Their names, ages, and RIF ranking scores were as follows: Name (Age) Factor 1 Factor 2 Factor 3 Factor 4 Total

 Susan Weber (30) 3 3 3 2 2.80

 Dale Cornelius (51) 2 2 2 5 2.60

 Mark Brier (42) 3 3 3 1 2.60

 Michael Yaquinto (41) 2 2 2 4 2.40

 Dean Diroff (38) 1 3 2 3 2.20

 Kimberly Kovacevich (32) 1 2 2 3 1.90

 (Id. at 19, 20.) In addition to the six salespersons at the bottom of the RIF ranking, Lynch selected two other ...

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