Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Victor Onafuye v. Jp Morgan Chase Na

February 7, 2012


The opinion of the court was delivered by: Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer


Plaintiff Victor Onafuye ("Onafuye"), an African-American man of Nigerian descent, claims that Defendant JP Morgan Chase NA ("Chase") rejected Onafuye's four applications for employment with Chase because of his race, nationality, and age. In this lawsuit, Onafuye alleges that Chase violated the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. § 1981; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. ("Title VII"), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, 29 U.S.C. § 621, et seq. ("ADEA").*fn1 He also alleges a claim of intentional infliction of emotional distress. Chase has moved for summary judgment, arguing that it had legitimate, non-discriminatory reasons for failing to hire Onafuye, and that Onafuye's claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress is preempted by the Illinois Human Rights Act. For the following reasons, Defendant's motion is granted.


Plaintiff Victor Onafuye is an African-American man of Nigerian descent who was fifty-three years old at the filing of this action.*fn2 (Def.'s Rule 56.1(a) Statement of Material Facts (hereinafter "Def.'s 56.1."), ¶ 1.; Am. Compl. ¶ 8.) Onafuye has a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical and astronautical engineering from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, a Master of Business Administration degree from Governors State University at University Park, Illinois, and thirty years experience in information technology. (Onafuye Aff. ¶ 5, Ex. 17 to App. in Supp. of Pl.'s Rule 56.1(a) Statement of Disputed Facts (hereinafter "App. to Pl.'s 56.1").) Onafuye applied for four separate positions with Chase. He applied for (1) the Technology Executive-Program Management Director ("Technology Executive") position on February 12, 2008; (2) the Vice-President of the Project Manager Office ("VP-PMO") position on July 1, 2008; (3) the Senior Technology Program Manager ("STPM") position on August 26, 2008, and; (4) the Project Manager position on July 11, 2009. (Candidate File, Ex. 10 to App. to Pl.'s 56.1, at A101-02.) Chase did not hire Onafuye for any of the four positions. (Onafuye Aff. ¶ 6.)

I. The Chase Application and Recruitment Process

Chase receives applications for employment through its website and in response to job postings with job boards and associations. (Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 5.) Onafuye contends that Chase receives applications in response to "word of mouth referral[s]" as well. (Pl.'s Resp. to Def.'s Rule 56.1(a) (hereinafter "Pl.'s 56.1") [81], at ¶¶ 5-6.) Chase asserts that its online recruitment system, called "Taleo," cannot be manipulated by Chase employees. (Def.'s 56.1 ¶¶ 6, 7.) Plaintiff disputes this, insisting that Chase recruiters alter applications, but he offers no evidence in support of this charge.

Chase recruiters review applications as they are received and contact those candidates whose qualifications match the job descriptions, forwarding the applications of qualified candidates to a hiring manager for further review. (Cron Dep. 31:15-24, Ex. 4 to App. to Pl.'s 56.1; Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 9.)*fn3 In some instances, Chase receives such a large volume of applications for a particular opening that it does not review all of them. (Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 10.) As a matter of company policy, Chase often promotes internal candidates to open positions. (Id. at ¶ 11.)

Chase maintains an anti-discrimination and affirmative action policy that prohibits discrimination in hiring based on, inter alia, race, age or national origin. (Def.'s 56.1 ¶ 12.) As part of the hiring process, Chase requests that applicants voluntarily provide information regarding their Equal Employment Opportunity characteristics, e.g., gender, ethnicity, veteran status, etc. ( ¶ 13.) Chase requests this information for purposes of reporting to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission only; the information is not visible to recruiters and hiring managers. (Id. at ¶ 14.) Finally, Chase notes that applications are not screened based on the applicant's name. (Id. at ¶ 15.) Onafuye denies this, but the only "fact" he cites is that the four candidates interviewed "for the position in question"*fn4 had Caucasian-sounding names. (Pl.'s 56.1 ¶ 15.)

II. Plaintiff's Four Employment Applications

A. The Technology Executive -- Program Management Director Position

Onafuye applied for the Technology Executive position on February 12, 2008. (Pl.'s 56.1 ¶ 16.) As Todd Cron explained in his affidavit, 331 people applied for this position, and a woman named Patricia Tennant was hired for it.*fn5 (Def.'s 56.1 ¶¶ 17, 19.) Chase rejected Onafuye's application on April 24, 2008, by entering into Taleo, "Requisition filled: Did not review this candidate or the slate satisfied with earlier candidates." (Id. at ¶ 18; Candidate File at A101.)

Onafuye states that, as one of the first applicants, his application should have been reviewed. (Pl.'s 56.1 ¶ 17.) Yet he does not offer any evidence in support of his assertion that his was one of the first applications submitted, nor does he cite any Chase rule or policy requiring chronological review of applications. He suspects that his application was in fact reviewed and was rejected for discriminatory reasons, especially in light of the fact that Defendant acknowledged that he was a "better fit" for a director position than for a project manager position.*fn6 (Id. at ¶ 18.)Onafuye asserts that Patricia Tennant was less qualified than he, but again fails to substantiate this assertion with any evidence.

B. The Vice-President of the Project Manager Office Position

On July 1, 2008, Onafuye submitted an application for the VP-PMO position. (Pl.'s 56.1 ¶ 20.) Rebecca Noel, who had been hired by Chase in early July 2008, became the hiring manager for this position. (Def.'s 56.1 ¶¶ 21-22, 24.) Noel had worked for Chase since 1985 except for a brief period from late 2006 through July of 2008. (Id. at ¶ 23.) Her initial job duties included establishing the department she was to manage, and analyzing the job requirements for the VPPMO position, re-writing them if necessary. (Id. at ¶¶ 25-26.) Noel did in fact re-write the requirements for the position. (Id. at ¶ 27.) After the revised requirements were posted, a fellow Chase employee, Nanette Gertz, referred Melissa Moehrlin to Noel as a candidate. (Id. at ¶ 28; Noel Dep. 29:13-30:5.) Noel and Gertz had both worked with Moehrlin previously (Noel for some twenty years) and were familiar with Moehrlin's work. (Def.'s 56.1 ¶¶ 29-30.) Moehrlin was chosen for the position following a few interviews with Noel and other Chase employees. (Id. at ¶¶ 31-33.) In her deposition, Noel stated that she did not have Moehrlin in mind when she wrote the position requirements, that she did not review Onafuye's application for the position, and that she was never aware of Onafuye's age, race, or national origin. (Id. at ¶¶ 34-36.; Noel Dep. 45:4-46:1.)

Onafuye agrees with Chase regarding the date of his application and the fact that the VPPMO position was open when Noel was hired. (Pl.'s 56.1 ¶¶ 20, 24.) Beyond that, however, Onafuye denies all of Chase's assertions about Moehrlin's hire. (Id. at ¶¶ 21-23, 25-36.) Onafuye cites to no evidence in support of his denials beyond urging that Noel's deposition testimony is insufficient without additional verification. (Id. at ¶¶ 21-23, 30, 32.) He asserts that Noel could have deduced his race and nationality from his name, and his age from the date he graduated from ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.