United States District Court, D. New Jersey
TAMMY R. DAVIS, Plaintiff,
SUPERVALU, INC. d/b/a ACME MARKETS, et al., Defendants.
Robert J. Hensler, Esq., ROBERT HENSLER, LLC, Collingswood, NJ, Attorney for Plaintiff Tammy R. Davis.
Andrew John Shapren, Esq., BUCHANAN, INGERSOLL & ROONEY, PC, Philadelphia, PA, Attorney for Defendants Supervalu, Inc. and Acme Markets, Inc.
JEROME B. SIMANDLE, Chief District Judge.
This matter comes before the Court on a motion for summary judgment by Defendants Supervalu, Inc. and Acme Markets, Inc. [Docket Item 34.] In this action, Plaintiff Tammy Davis, alleges that after 28 years of employment at Acme Markets, she was fired on the basis of her age in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. Defendants contend that Plaintiff was terminated for violating Acme's Honesty and Accuracy Policy after she allowed a customer to leave the store without paying for an item. Defendants seek summary judgment on the grounds that Plaintiff is unable to show that she was replaced by a younger employee and that she cannot show that Defendants' purported reason for terminating her employment is pretext.
For the reasons discussed below, the Court will grant Defendants' motion for summary judgment.
Acme Markets, Inc. ("Acme") operates retail grocery stores and pharmacies. (Def. Statement of Material Facts ("SMF") [Docket Item 34-2] ¶ 1.) Supervalu was Acme's parent company from June, 2006 to March, 2013. ( Id. ¶ 2.) Plaintiff Tammy Davis was employed by Acme from April, 1984 until Acme terminated her employment effective January 12, 2012. ( Id. ¶ 3.) At the time of her termination, Plaintiff was 46 years-old and had worked for Acme for nearly 28 years. ( Id. ¶ 4.) Plaintiff worked at various Acme stores in New Jersey performing duties as a cashier and in the bakery department. ( Id. ¶ 5.) At the time of her termination, Davis worked as a cashier at Acme's Mount Holly, New Jersey store. ( Id. ¶ 6.) Throughout her employment Davis was a member of the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1360 ("the Union"). ( Id. ¶ 7.)
Acme's Store Work Rules contain a section entitled "Honesty and Accuracy." This section provides as follows:
Honesty and Accuracy
Each associate must follow Acme policies and procedures concerning the handling of cash, food stamps, coupons and any other valuables. Associates involved in any acts of dishonesty, including those described below, will subject themselves to termination, no matter what is later claimed to have been the intent. They may also subject themselves to possible arrest and prosecution.
1. Removing or attempting to remove from the store any Company property or merchandise without full payment and receipt.
2. Consuming or using merchandise on Company property without first paying the correct price for it and retaining the receipt.
3. Failing to record sales properly on the cash register at the time of sale.
4. Theft of cash or any substitute for cash, for example, food stamps, WIC checks, credit cards, debit cards, ...