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VIKARUDDIN v. BANK ONE

August 24, 2005.

MOHAMMED VIKARUDDIN, Plaintiff,
v.
BANK ONE, N.A., Defendant.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN W. DARRAH, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

Plaintiff, Mohammed Vikaruddin, filed suit against Defendant, Bank One, N.A., alleging that Defendant: (1) discriminated Plaintiff on account of his national origin, India, in violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1); (2) discriminated Plaintiff on account of his religion, Muslim, in violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a)(1); (3) retaliated against Plaintiff for bringing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC"); and (4) breached an "implied employment contract." Presently before the Court is Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment. For the following reasons, the motion is granted.

LEGAL STANDARD

  Summary judgment is appropriate when no genuine issue of material fact exists and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c); Cincinnati Ins. Co. v. Flanders Elec. Motor Serv., Inc., 40 F.3d 146, 150 (7th Cir. 1994). "One of the principal purposes of the summary judgment rule is to isolate and dispose of factually unsupported claims or defenses. . . ." Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323 (1986) (Celotex). Thus, although the moving party on a motion for summary judgment is responsible for demonstrating to the court why there is no genuine issue of material fact, the non-moving party must go beyond the face of the pleadings, affidavits, depositions, answers to interrogatories, and admissions on file to demonstrate, through specific evidence, that a genuine issue of material fact exists and to show that a rational jury could return a verdict in the non-moving party's favor. Celotex, 477 U.S. at 322-27; Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 254-56 (1986) (Anderson); Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586-87 (1986) (Matsushita); Waldridge v. Am. Hoechst Corp., 24 F.3d 918, 923 (7th Cir. 1994).

  Disputed facts are material when they might affect the outcome of the suit. First Ind. Bank v. Baker, 957 F.2d 506, 507-08 (7th Cir. 1992). When reviewing a motion for summary judgment, a court must view all inferences to be drawn from the facts in the light most favorable to the opposing party. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 247-48; Popovits v. Circuit City Stores, Inc., 185 F.3d 726, 731 (7th Cir. 1999). However, a metaphysical doubt will not suffice. Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586. If the evidence is merely colorable or is not significantly probative or is no more than a scintilla, summary judgment may be granted. Anderson, 477 U.S. at 249-250.

  BACKGROUND

  Plaintiff failed to respond to Defendant's Rule 56.1(a) Statement of Facts. Plaintiff's failure to comply with Rule 56.1(b) results in accepting as true all facts set out in a Rule 56.1(a) statement. See Smith v. Lamz, 321 F.3d 680, 682-83 (7th Cir. 2003). Even though Plaintiff failed to respond to Defendant's statement of material facts and such facts are deemed admitted, Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgment will only be granted if it can demonstrate that there is no genuine issue of material fact and that they are entitled to judgment as a matter of law. See Johnson v. Gudmundson, 35 F.3d 1104, 1112 (7th Cir. 1994). Accordingly, the undisputed facts, for the purposes of this motion, taken from Defendant's Local Rule 56.1(a) statement of material facts (referred to herein as "Def.'s 56.1") and exhibits, are as follows.

  Plaintiff worked as a software application developer in Defendant's Asset-Based Finance ("ABF") department. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 6. The only document that created a contract between Plaintiff and Defendant was Plaintiff's offer letter. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 63. The offer letter stated that "[e]mployment by Bank One Corporation is on an `at will' basis. This means that the employment relationship may be discounted at any time without notice by either you or Bank One Corporation." Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 64.

  Plaintiff's work consisted primarily of designing and programming technology solutions for computer systems. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 7. Many of Plaintiff's assignments and responsibilities involved a programming language known as "SQL." Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 8. Another language used by Plaintiff's group was called ".NET." Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 8.

  Plaintiff's first manager was Randy Rycraft, who stated in Plaintiff's 2000 performance review that Plaintiff "[h]as not been aggressive in acquiring the business knowledge required" and that Plaintiff's "[d]evelopment time is much slower than expected for a senior developer." Def.'s 56.1 ¶¶ 10-12. Rycraft's 2001 performance review concluded that Plaintiff needed a "[b]etter understanding" of the ABF business and that Plaintiff needed to produce "faster" results. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 13. Rycraft did not discriminate against Plaintiff. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 14.

  Thereafter, Reiko Yamada became Plaintiff's manager. Def.'s 56.1 ¶¶ 15-16. In order to spend the group's 2002 training budget before the year ended, Yamada asked her group members to take a training class. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 18. Plaintiff did not take a class because he took time off to attend to his daughter, who was battling cancer. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 19. In 2003, Plaintiff asked to take additional .NET training, but Yamada wanted Plaintiff to begin additional on-the-job training in .NET before taking a class. Def.'s 56.1 ¶¶ 20-21.

  Before Plaintiff received his 2002 performance evaluation, Yamada asked Plaintiff why he kept a beard, where he was from, and what religion he practiced. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 29. Other than these isolated questions, neither Yamada nor anyone else working for Defendant made any negative comments about Plaintiff's national origin or religion. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 30.

  In the 2002 evaluation, Yamada rated Plaintiff as "N," for needs improvement, the lowest level under Defendant's rating structure. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 23. Specifically, Yamada found that Plaintiff needed to: (1) "further develop his knowledge about the ABF business"; (2) be more efficient with his time and to produce more results than finishing only one project on a single software release; (3) demonstrate better knowledge about the database his group supported; and (4) find solutions independently, without relying on Yamada for suggestions. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 24.

  Lisa Eber subsequently became Plaintiff's manager. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 32. Shortly thereafter, Eber learned that Plaintiff received an "N" rating for 2002. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 37. Eber instructed Yamada to develop a coaching and mentoring strategy involving weekly objectives to help improve Plaintiff's rating. Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 37. The coaching continued for a number of ...


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