dated 2/91 to 12/91. Comments in the performance appraisal include: "[Johnson] is a very flexible person who is always willing to accommodate someone who asks for her assistance .... [Johnson] is a very competent decisionmaker .... She avoids complacency, and continually strives for a greater degree of professionalism in her work." Performance Appraisal, dated 2/91 to 12/91
f. Appraisal - January 1992 to September 1992
Johnson received a 4.5 in her Performance Appraisal, dated January 1992 to September 1992. Performance Appraisal, dated 1/92 to 9/92. The appraiser, Moleski, noted that "[Johnson] has developed a confidence in her position that enables her to communicate in a clear and concise manner .... [Johnson] has developed innovative systems on the Districts [computer] and trained personnel to utilize these programs. As a result, the office routine runs very smoothly." Performance Appraisal, dated 1/92 to 9/92.
g. Appraisal - September 1992 to September 1993
Johnson received an overall performance rating of 4.5 on her Performance Appraisal, dated September 1992 to September 1993. Performance Appraisal, dated 9/92 to 9/93. The appraiser. Hopkins, noted that: "[Johnson] has good relationship with all of Pine Brook's customer base and is often called to solve a problem. She also checks in on the customer on a timely basis to see if she can be of assistance .... When called upon [Johnson] will assist others to plan [and] organize .... She sees what has to be done and acts on it without being directed to do so .... She has involved herself more directly with our customers and has proven to be an asset through her professional manner and has a positive attitude." Performance Appraisal, dated 9/92 to 9/93.
h. The Candidate Rating Form
The Candidate Rating Form (the "Candidate Rating Form") is another tool used by Penske to assess the skill, promotability, relocatability and strength and weaknesses of the employee. Candidate Rating Forms, dated 1990 to 1993, attached to Onufrak Cert. as Exhibit I. The skills section is rated on a scale of one to five, with one being unsatisfactory and five being exceptional. Johnson received Candidate Rating Form assessments from 1990 to 1993. Johnson generally received skills ratings of 4 and 5 for the various skills described on the Candidate Rating Form. All of the Candidate Rating Forms indicate the next suitable position for Johnson is Branch Manager. All of the Candidate Rating Forms indicate Johnson would be ready for the Branch Manager position within three to eighteen months. The 1993 Candidate Rating Form indicates Johnson was then ready for the position. See Candidate Rating Forms.
All of the Candidate Rating Forms for Johnson indicate her strength to be her organization and initiative. With the exception of the 1993 Candidate Rating Form completed by Hopkins, all the Candidate Rating Forms indicate Johnson required improvement in Sales.
See Candidate Rating Forms.
C. Penske Downsizing of the Pine Brook Office
In late 1993, Penske decided to downsize the Pine Brook field office from a District to a Branch. Moleski Cert., P 13. The Pine Brook location then reported as a Branch to the South Plainfield District. 17 June 1996 Certification of Robert Costello ("Costello Cert."), attached to Cerra Cert. as Exhibit H, P 4. The decision to downsize the Pine Brook office was made by Costello, Vice President for the New York Metro Area, and Frank Mileto ("Mileto"), then-Senior Vice President of the Northeast Region. Costello Cert., P 3. The decision to downsize was due to the lack of growth and revenue. Costello Cert., P 4. The downsize decision was announced to the Pine Brook staff in late 1993. Moleski Dep. Tr. 143:10-13. Moleski told Johnson at a meeting after the announcement that maybe it was time for her to leave the company. Johnson Dep. Tr. 2.170:1-10.
Moleski also stated to Johnson at this meeting that "maybe Pine Brook will finally become a non-smoking location." Johnson Cert., P 13. Because Johnson was the only smoker whose job status was questionable, Johnson believed the statement applied to her. Johnson Cert., P 13.
D. Result of the Downsizing
The restructuring caused Hopkins, who was then the District Manager of the Pine Brook location, to be reassigned to a new location. Moleski Cert., P 14. Hopkin's responsibilities were to be assumed by a Branch Manager (the "Branch Manager Position"). Moleski Cert., P 14. The individual hired in the Branch Manager Position would report to Moleski, the current District Manager of South Plainfield. Moleski Cert., P 14.
The District Controller position at the Pine Brook location, held by Johnson, was also eliminated through the restructuring. Johnson Cert., P 14. The Controller functions were to be supervised by the District to which the Branch reported. Johnson Cert., P 15. Penske had to decide who was going to retain the Controller position -- Johnson, the Controller at the location to be downsized, or Calvin Smith ("Smith"), the Controller at the South Plainfield District. Johnson Cert., P 15. Penske policy directed the position to be awarded to the employee based upon the person's experience and time with the company. Marsiglia Dep. Tr., 69:17-25. If both candidates were equal, Penske would eliminate the position at the downsized location. Marsiglia Dep. Tr. 69:17-25. Based on this policy, Smith was awarded the position. Johnson Cert., P 15. Johnson was told Penske would try to find her another job. Johnson Dep Tr. 2.48:23 to 2.49:7, 2.65:12 to 2.66:12. Johnson stated her interest in the position of Branch Manager. Johnson Cert., P 16.
The reorganization also resulted in a reduction of the clerical staff, whose functions were to be performed in the South Plainfield District. Marsiglia Dep. Tr. 72:5-9.
E. Filling the Branch Manager Position at Pine Brook
In early December 1993, three candidates (the "Candidates") interviewed for the Branch Manager Position at the Pine Brook office - Johnson, Gene Raffa ("Raffa") and David Dean ("Dean"). Moleski Cert., P 16. The Candidates were interviewed by Moleski, the District Manager of the South Plainfield office, Costello, the then-Area Vice President and Marsiglia, the Regional Human Resources Manager. Johnson Cert., P 16. The job was a promotion for each of the Candidates. Johnson Cert., P 16.
1. The Interview Process
a. Penske Policies
Penske did not have formal policy guidelines for conducting interviews at the time the Candidates interviewed for the Branch Manager Position. Johnson Cert., P 17. Penske did have a promotion policy in effect (the "Promotion Policy"). The Promotion Policy provides, in relevant part:
It is the policy of Penske Truck Leasing to give consideration for promotion to all available, qualified candidates currently employed within the company. Special attention will be given to fulfillment of the Affirmative Action Program objectives in the selection and development of internal candidates.