The opinion of the court was delivered by: SAMUEL DER-YEGHIAYAN, District Judge
This matter is before the court on Defendant The Salvation
Army's ("SA") motion for summary judgment. For the reasons stated
below, we grant the motion for summary judgment in its entirety.
Plaintiff Aaroh Patel ("Patel") began working for SA in May of
1979. He worked in various positions for SA until he retired in
December of 2000. In January of 2001 SA rehired Patel to act as
Director of Financial Operations for the Adult Rehabilitation
Center Command ("Command"). Command provides rehabilitation
services to men seeking to recover from addiction to alcohol or
drugs. Patel's task as Director was to oversee the financial system and accounting
processes for Command. In August of 2002 SA hired Ernst & Young,
LLP ("Ernst") to review and audit the financial records and
accounting processes of Command and to suggest improvements.
Ernst reviewed the Command records at the end of 2002. In January
of 2003, SA claims that it asked Ernst to continue its review of
SA records and to help implement suggested improvements in
accounting and record keeping. According to SA, Ernst reported
that Patel was not using generally accepted accounting methods.
SA also claims that Patel openly criticized the Ernst report and
Patel resisted implementing Ernst's suggestions and refused to
cooperate with Ernst. According to SA, Ernst indicated that the
financial records were irreconcilable and Ernst refused to
certify the records. SA claims that Ernst also recommended that
SA take all responsibility for record-keeping and accounting
matters away from Patel.
According to SA, based on the communications from Ernst, SA
decided to terminate Patel's employment. SA claims that Major
Riches of SA met with Patel and asked him to resign and sign a
release. According to SA, when Patel refused to resign, he was
fired on June 27, 2003.
After Patel's termination SA claims that it hired Ernst to find
a candidate to fill Patel's former position. Ernst interviewed
candidates and recommended that SA hire Corina Boyd ("Boyd"). SA
accepted the recommendation and hired Boyd in June of 2003. In
December of 2003 Patel brought the instant action alleging discrimination because of his religion and race in violation of
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII"),
42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. Patel also included in the complaint a
hostile work environment claim and a Title VII retaliation claim.
Summary judgment is appropriate when the record, viewed in the
light most favorable to the nonmoving party, reveals that 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). In seeking a grant of summary judgment the moving party
must identify "those portions of `the pleadings, depositions,
answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file, together with
the affidavits, if any,' which it believes demonstrate the
absence of a genuine issue of material fact." Celotex Corp. v.
Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (quoting Fed.R. Civ. P.
56(c)). This initial burden may be satisfied by presenting
specific evidence on a particular issue or by pointing out "an
absence of evidence to support the non-moving party's case."
Id. at 325. Once the movant has met this burden, the non-moving
party cannot simply rest on the allegations in the pleadings,
but, "by affidavits or as otherwise provided for in [Rule 56],
must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine
issue for trial." Fed.R. Civ. P. 56(e). A "genuine issue" in the
context of a motion for summary judgment is not simply a
"metaphysical doubt as to the material facts." Matsushita Elec.
Indus. Co., Ltd. v. Zenith Radio Corp, 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). Rather, a genuine issue of material fact exists when "the
evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict
for the nonmoving party." Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc.,
477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986); Insolia v. Philip Morris, Inc.,
216 F.3d 596, 599 (7th Cir. 2000). The court must consider the record as a
whole, in a light most favorable to the non-moving party, and
draw all reasonable inferences that favor the non-moving party.
Anderson, 477 U.S. at 255; Bay v. Cassens Transport Co.,
212 F.3d 969, 972 (7th Cir. 2000).
I. Race and Religious Discrimination Claims
SA moves for summary judgment on the race and religious
discrimination claims. If an employer in a Title VII
discrimination case brings a motion for summary judgment, the
plaintiff can proceed under the direct or indirect method of
proof in order to defeat the motion. Pafford v. Herman,
148 F.3d 658, 665 (7th Cir. 1998). Under the direct approach, the
plaintiff can show through direct or circumstantial evidence that
the alleged harmful action of the employer was "motivated by an
impermissible purpose, such as [his] race or national origin."
Id. Under the indirect approach the plaintiff must establish a
prima facie case which will allow an inference of
discrimination. Id. To establish a prima facie case of
discrimination a plaintiff must show: "(1) that [h]e was a member
of a protected class; (2) that [h]e was performing h[is] job satisfactorily; (3)
that [h]e experienced an adverse employment action; and (4) that
similarly situated individuals were treated more favorably."
Traylor v. Brown, 295 F.3d 783, 788 (7th Cir. 2002).
If a prima facie case is established then there is a
rebuttable presumption of discrimination and the employer is
required to offer a "legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for
the adverse employment action." Cianci v. Pettibone Corp.,
152 F.3d 723, 726 (7th Cir. 1998). If the employer provides such a
reason, the plaintiff must then show that the reason alleged by
the employer is merely a pretext for discrimination. Id.
Patel has not pointed to sufficient evidence to proceed under
the direct method of proof and will therefore need to proceed
under the indirect method of proof. In regards to both the race
discrimination claim and the religious discrimination claim SA
concedes that Patel is a member of a protected class. However, SA
argues that Patel has not pointed to sufficient evidence that he
was performing his job satisfactorily and has not ...