("Where an employer reduces its workforce for economic reasons, it incurs no duty to transfer an employee to another position within the company.").
Finally, plaintiffs contend that the record establishes that there are genuine issues of material fact with respect to both their age discrimination claim and their ERISA claim. All of these arguments merely renew arguments which plaintiffs made in opposition to defendants' motions for summary judgment. Therefore, I will deal with these contentions very briefly.
With respect to their ERISA claim, plaintiffs contend that I ignored the contradictory and inconsistent explanations provided by defendants regarding the reasons for maintaining a roster list of employees in the Industrial Engineering Department. Plaintiffs allege that the purpose of this list is to provide an easy method of determining the pension eligibility of each employee and, thus, which employees to lay off. Plaintiffs also contend that I ignored the fact that supervisors Oplinger and Trubilla participated in the "PMS" program, under which they were entitled to bonuses for achieving cost savings. I did not ignore any of this evidence but concluded that "in the absence of any indication that the list or the PMS program guided the supervisors' layoff decisions, the plaintiffs' allegations do not undermine the defendants' asserted business justification for the layoffs." Memorandum and Order at 20. I further find that the various uses for the roster list given by the supervisors are not contradictory, inconsistent, or implausible. In fact, it is logical that a roster list of employees, such as the one in question, could be used for a variety of purposes and, therefore, not created for one particular purpose.
With respect to plaintiff Hill's claim that defendants violated his rights under ERISA by failing to "bridge" for pension purposes the period between the beginning of his initial part-time summer job at Bethlehem Steel and the date of his rehire after his return from military service, plaintiff Hill argues that the affidavit of Michael Dopera, the pension plan administrator, "should be viewed as hearsay in the absence of supporting documentation." Dopera was responsible for making determinations as to pension eligibility, and, thus, his expression of the reasons for those determinations is not hearsay. Furthermore, Rule 56 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure specifically allows a party to support a motion for summary judgment with affidavits.
Plaintiff Hill also argues that defendants' explanation with respect to his failure-to-bridge claim must be considered suspect in light of a particular employee, B.F. Dague. According to Oplinger's Affidavit, Dague was pension eligible at the time of his discharge, even though he was only 43 years old. Oplinger Affidavit at 4. In their Memorandum of Law in Opposition to Plaintiffs' Motion for Reconsideration, defendants acknowledge that Oplinger's affidavit is erroneous with respect to B.F. Dague's pension eligibility. Defendants state that B.F. Dague was not entitled to an immediate pension at the time of his layoff but, rather, was only entitled to a deferred, vested pension. Defendants' Memorandum at 7-8.
Therefore, the contentions raised by plaintiffs have not persuaded me to change my conclusion that plaintiffs have not met their ultimate burden of establishing an inference that defendants' reason for discharge was motivated by discriminatory reasons.
An appropriate order follows.
Upon consideration of plaintiffs' Motion for Reconsideration and Motion for Relief from Judgment, defendants' response, and the parties memoranda, and for the reasons stated in the accompanying memorandum, it is ORDERED that plaintiffs' motions are DENIED.
IT IS SO ORDERED.