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.
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.
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 ...