Cramer v. NEC Corporation of America
United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 23316 (2012)
Albert Cramer (plaintiff) had 20 years of management experience before he began managing 7-Eleven, Inc.’s technical support. As an independent contractor, Cramer contracted directly with 7-Eleven for approximately 10 years before 7-Eleven decided to outsource its technical-support needs to NEC Corporation of America (NEC) (defendant). NEC’s project manager had worked with Cramer while Cramer had worked for 7-Eleven and with Kevin Zvolanek, a vendor who had supplied services to 7-Eleven under Cramer’s management. NEC ultimately passed over the 64-year-old Cramer and decided to hire 27-year-old Zvolanek to manage 7-Eleven’s new, outsourced support center. Cramer sued, claiming that NEC had discriminated against him based on his age in violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). NEC moved for summary judgment, claiming that it (1) had hired Zvolanek because he was qualified and (2) had not hired Cramer because, based on NEC’s project manager’s prior experiences with Cramer, NEC believed that Cramer had an aggressive management style and relied heavily on vendors, which was not how NEC wanted the new center managed. In response, Cramer argued that NEC’s reason was a pretext for age discrimination because Cramer was more qualified than Zvolanek. Cramer submitted evidence that he had (1) different and more extensive technical credentials than Zvolanek; (2) more extensive management experience than Zvolanek; and (3) specific experience managing 7-Eleven’s needs, which Zvolanek lacked. The district court granted summary judgment to NEC, and Cramer appealed.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Per curiam)
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