The opinion of the court was delivered by: STANDISH
In this civil action, plaintiff, Chester Bulkoski, asserts claims against defendant, Bacharach, Inc., under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (the ADEA), 29 U.S.C. § 621 et seq., and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (the PHRA), 43 P.S. § 951 et seq., arising out of the termination of his employment with defendant on April 15, 1993.
Presently, before the court is the motion of defendant for summary judgment pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. After consideration, and for the reasons set forth below, the motion will be granted.
For purposes of the present motion, the following facts are undisputed:
Plaintiff was born on May 11, 1946. He was initially hired by defendant as a maintenance helper in October, 1964. In 1977, plaintiff was promoted to the position of Area Supervisor in defendant's Heavy Assembly Division. In this position, plaintiff's responsibilities included supervising employees, organizing work orders, assembling work stands for diesel engines, troubleshooting and testing products and preparing products for shipment. (Brief in Support of Plaintiff's Response, p. 2, Bulkoski Depo., pp. 5, 10).
In May, 1992, due to a decrease in the workload of the Heavy Assembly Division, plaintiff was transferred to defendant's Light Assembly Division, and, between May, 1992 and November, 1992, plaintiff's time at work was divided between the Light Assembly Division and the Methods Division. When plaintiff was transferred to the Light Assembly Division in May, 1992, James Beck, defendant's Production Superintendent, became plaintiff's immediate supervisor. (Brief in Support of Plaintiff's Response, pp. 3-4).
In early November, 1992, plaintiff was assigned to work full time in defendant's Light Assembly Division. (Brief in Support of Plaintiff's Response, Beck Depo., p. 25). On November 19, 1992, Mr. Beck completed a written evaluation of plaintiff's performance as an Area Supervisor in the Light Assembly Division. In the categories of "Technical Competence" and "Communicating," plaintiff received "Satisfactory" ratings, and in the categories of "Planning/Organizing," "Supervising/Leading" and "Work Commitment," he received "Below Satisfactory" ratings.
Overall, plaintiff received a "Below Satisfactory" rating. The comments to the performance evaluation state that plaintiff would be monitored for the next six months for progress; that he would receive a special review in six months; and that he would be downgraded from Area Supervisor to Supervisor effective December 1, 1992. (Brief in Support, Exh. B). Shortly thereafter, plaintiff met with Mr. Beck, Bernard Dombrosky, defendant's Vice President of Industrial and Public Relations, and Edward Startari, defendant's Senior Vice President of Operations, to discuss the performance evaluation. (Brief in Support of Plaintiff's Response, pp. 12-13).
In January, 1993, Mr. Beck met with plaintiff to discuss his progress in connection with the deficiencies raised in the November, 1992 performance evaluation. At that time, Mr. Beck believed that plaintiff was progressing "somewhat," and he indicated that he would rate plaintiff's overall performance at that time as "Satisfactory." (Brief in Support of Plaintiff's Response, Beck Depo., pp. 108-109).
In late March, 1993, prior to the expiration of the six-month monitoring period mentioned in the comments to plaintiff's performance evaluation, Mr. Dombrosky met with plaintiff to inform him that he was being removed from his position as Supervisor in the Light Assembly Division due to his performance. At that time, Mr. Dombrosky presented plaintiff with two options that would have enabled plaintiff to continue his employment with defendant.
Specifically, plaintiff was offered the position of Storeroom Supervisor or the position as Second Shift Supervisor in the Light Assembly Division. (Brief in Support, Exh. A, pp. 89-90; Brief in Support of Plaintiff's Response, Dombrosky Depo., pp. 18, 34-35). If plaintiff decided not to accept either of these positions, his remaining option was to terminate his employment with defendant. (Brief in Support, Exh. A, pp. 90-91).
During the last week of March, 1993, after considering his options, plaintiff decided to terminate his employment with defendant, rather than accept either of the positions offered by Mr. Dombrosky. Plaintiff's last day of employment with defendant was April 15, 1993. (Brief in Support, Exh. A, pp. 93-95). At that time, plaintiff was 46 years old. Mark Panaro replaced plaintiff as the Supervisor of defendant's Light Assembly Division. Mr. Panaro was 34 years old. (Brief in Support of Plaintiff's Response, p. 15).
With respect to the position of Storeroom Supervisor, plaintiff did not choose this option because Mr. Dombrosky's offer regarding this position was "to try it for 30 days," which plaintiff interpreted as meaning that he would be terminated after 30 days, and because plaintiff believed that defendant had already hired John Ziemansky for this position.
As to the position of Second Shift Supervisor in the Light Assembly Division, plaintiff did not choose this position because his pay would be "greatly reduced,"
and because it did not make sense to him to accept a position involving the same work as the position from which he was being removed due to poor performance. (Brief in Support, Exh. A, pp. 90-96).
Rule 56(c) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure mandates the entry of summary judgment, after adequate time for discovery and upon motion, against a party who fails to make a showing sufficient to establish the existence of an element essential to that party's case, and on which that party will bear the burden of proof at trial. Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 322, 106 S. Ct. 2548, 2553, 91 L. Ed. 2d 265, 273 (1986). At the summary judgment stage, the court's function is not to weigh the evidence and determine the truth of the matter, but to determine whether there is a genuine issue for trial. See Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 249, 106 S. Ct. 2505, 2511, 91 L. Ed. 2d 202, 212 (1986). While the facts must be viewed in the light most favorable to the nonmoving party and all inferences must be drawn in that party's favor, "there is no issue for trial unless there is ...