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Hamed v. Macy's West Stores Title VII MSJ

Hamed v. Macy's West Stores Title VII MSJ

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Published by: Northern District of California Blog on May 08, 2011
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05/25/2012

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The parties have consented to the disposition of this case before a Magistrate Judge pursuantto 28 U.S.C. § 636(c).
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Unless otherwise indicated, the following facts are taken from the parties’ Joint Statement of Undisputed Facts.UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTNORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIASHOKAT HAMEDPlaintiff,v.MACY’S WEST STORES, INC.,Defendants._________________________________/ No. C-10-2790 JCS
ORDER GRANTING IN PART AND DENYINGIN PART DEFENDANT’S
 
MOTION FORSUMMARY JUDGMENT OR, IN THEALTERNATIVE, SUMMARY ADJUDICATION[Docket No. 48]I.INTRODUCTION
On Friday, April 8, 2011 at 9:30 a.m., the Defendant Macy’s West Stores, Inc.’s(“Defendant”) Motion for Summary Judgment (“the Motion”) came on for hearing.
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At the hearing,the parties requested another opportunity to explore settlement before the Court ruled on the Motion.The Court granted the parties two weeks to explore settlement – a period of time that has nowexpired. Having considered the papers and arguments of counsel, and for the reasons stated below,the Motion is GRANTED IN PART AND DENIED IN PART.
II.BACKGROUNDA.Facts
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Plaintiff Shokat Hamed was born in 1933. JSUF 1. She was an employee at Macy’sHillsdale mall store location in San Mateo, California (“Hillsdale”), from 1990 to November 2009,
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Defendant objects to this portion of Plaintiff’s declaration on the grounds that this evidence isirrelevant and misleading given that Plaintiff received at least 33 of the 40 commendations for openingnew accounts, which Defendant argues is “not surprising” given that she admittedly and improperlyused Macy’s 11% coupons as incentives to convince customers to open credit accounts. Defendant’sobjection goes to the weight of the evidence not its admissibility; the objections to Plaintiff’s declarationare OVERRULED.
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Defendant objects to this portion of Plaintiff’s declaration on the ground that “Hamed is not aphysician but is offering medical testimony that she had night vision issues that predated May 2009 –months before Macy’s received a note from her physician. She is not competent to testify to her medicalcondition or its onset.” Defendant’s Objections to Declaration of Shokat Hamed at 3. The objectionis OVERRULED.
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Helen Morales worked for Macy’s between 1998 and 2002, part of that time as a LossPrevention Agent. JSUF 5 (Morales Dep. 11:2-13, 22-25; 12:1-8; 29:13-14). Macy’s rehired Moralesin 2006 at Hillsdale and promoted her to full-time Group Sales Manager (“GSM”) of Housewares inOctober 2007 and full-time GSM of Men’s Basics, Men’s Collections, and Men’s Suits in or about April2008. JSUF 6 (Morales Dep. 11:19:20; 14:24-15:14; 33:22-34:7). On May 10, 2009, Morales becamefull-time manager of the Young Men’s Department, in addition to her continued responsibilities asmanager of Men’s Basics, Men’s Collections, and Men’s Suits. JSUF 7 (Morales Dep. 17:8-11;MACYS000278). Morales was Plaintiff’s immediate supervisor from May 2009 through Plaintiff’s2with a break-in-service that began in 1994 (when Plaintiff was laid off at the time Macy’s underwenta Chapter 11 restructuring) and ended with her rehire in August 1995. JSUF 2 (Pl. Dep. 24:10-15;MACYS000272); Declaration of Shokat Hamed (“Hamed Decl.”) at ¶ 2. In August 1995, Plaintiff acknowledged receipt of the “Macy’s/Bullock’s Employee Handbook. MACYS000089. JSUF 3.Plaintiff remained employed by Macy’s continuously from 1995 until May 2009. Hamed Decl., ¶ 2.In May of 2009, Plaintiff was a full-time sales associate in the Young Men’s Department. JSUF 4.Goodin Decl. at ¶ 14, Exh. F. At the time of Plaintiff’s termination from Macy’s in November 2009,she was 76 years old. Hamed Decl. at ¶1.According to Plaintiff, she was an exemplary employee. Hamed Decl., ¶ 2, Exh. A. She hassubmitted evidence that she earned 40 Certificates of Achievement and Employee of the MonthAwards during her more than 18 years of work at Macy’s.
 Id 
.
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According to Plaintiff, this allchanged in the summer of 2009 when she asked her employer to accommodate her poor night visionby asking if she could leave work before dark each day.
 Id.
¶ 4-6. Plaintiff declares that she hadproblems with night vision prior to May of 2009.
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 Id 
. ¶ 4. Plaintiff states that her supervisor, HelenMorales
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, initially refused telling her that it is store policy not to change employees’ schedules, and
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termination in November 2009. JSUF 8 (Morales Decl. at ¶ 17:8-11; Goodin Decl. at ¶ 14, Exh. F).
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Macy’s hired Goodin in July 2002 as a GSM in the Palo Alto store, where she was promotedto GSM of Home in about January 2003. JSUF 21 (Goodin Dep. 25:23-26:16). Goodin has been inHuman Resources since 2004. JSUF 22 (Goodin Dep. 26:20-27:19). At the time of the events at issue,Goodin was the Human Resources Manager (“HRM”) for Serramonte, Hillsdale, and Hillsdale FurnitureGallery, the position she holds today. JSUF 23 (Goodin Dep. 27:13-19).
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Defendant objects to this portion of Hamed’s declaration on the ground that it contradicts herpreviously-given sworn deposition testimony. Defendant’s Objection to the Declaration of ShokatHamed at 4. Defendant claims that Plaintiff testified that H.R. Manager Goodin first asked: “Shokat,why don’t you retire” in a meeting that occurred in November 2009 at which her daughter was present.Now, in opposition to the summary judgment motion, Plaintiff claims that this statement was made toher in July 2009 at a meeting with Goodin. Defendant’s Objection at 4. The Court has reviewed theexcerpts of the deposition testimony submitted by the Defendant, and disagrees with Defendant’scharacterization of it. It is not clear from the transcript that Plaintiff’s declaration contradicts herpreviously-given deposition testimony. The Defendant’s objection is OVERRULED.3that if she wanted to leave early, she would have to switch shifts with other employees in herdepartment.
 Id.
Plaintiff admits that she agreed to this arrangement.
 Id 
. Plaintiff contends that thisarrangement was difficult for her; when the new schedule would come out, she would sometimeshave to pay her co-workers in order to convince them to stay late for her, for example, by paying fortheir dinners.
 Id 
. Plaintiff states that this arrangement took a toll on her self-esteem because shewas forced to constantly ask for favors from her junior co-workers.
 Id.
Plaintiff admits that hersupervisor Morales told her that she could obtain a doctor’s letter and submit it to the store’s humanresources department. Pl.’s Opp. at 3.What happened next is in dispute: Plaintiff remembers delivering her doctor’s note in personto the human resources manager, Christina Goodin
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, and that she had a “face to face” conversationwith her. Hamed Decl., ¶ 7. Plaintiff recalls that Goodin told Plaintiff that she did not have a full-time sales position available that did not involve working after dark, and then stated “Shokat, whydon’t you retire?”
 Id.
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 Goodin has a different recollection. She states in her declaration that the doctor’s note wasdelivered under her door and that she did not have a face-to-face encounter with Plaintiff at thattime. Declaration of Christina Goodin (“Goodin Decl.”) at ¶ 13. Goodin states that she wrote“Received 7/15/09" on the letter. Goodin then spoke with Plaintiff’s supervisor, Ms. Morales and
Case3:10-cv-02790-JCS Document73 Filed04/29/11 Page3 of 27

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