Plaintiff Plausibly Alleges Pregnancy Discrimination Against Louis Vuitton

In Albin v. LVMH Moet Louis Vuitton, the Southern District of New York held that plaintiff plausibly alleged claims of pregnancy discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (of which the Pregnancy Discrimination Act is a part), the New York State Human Rights Law, and the New York City Human Rights Law.

Plaintiff, who worked at the Thomas Pink store at Columbus Circle in Manhattan, alleged that defendants failed to promote her because of her recent pregnancy.

The court rejected defendants’ argument that plaintiff was not in a Title VII protected class, reasoning:

While pregnant women, women who very recently gave birth, and women on maternity leave are unquestionably within the protected class of pregnant persons, at some point in time such women are no longer ‘affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions’ and, thus, are not protected. …

While ultimately dependent on the factual situation of a specific claim, a pattern has developed in this Circuit establishing a loose line at approximately four months from the date of birth. …

[A]nother factor is the date of the adverse employment action, and when it [is] first set in motion. In the present case, it is not instantly clear from what date the alleged discrimination should be judged. If the discrimination originated from Plaintiff’s initial email expressing interest in the managerial position, then the discriminatory act in question occurred just three and a half months after she gave birth. …

Based on Plaintiff’s complaint, it is facially plausible that Defendants, upon receiving Plaintiff’s email expressing interest in the managerial position, discriminatorily decided not to hire Plaintiff at that time, and that all subsequent proceedings were merely a “sham”[.] This allegation is potentially supported both by the suspicious timing of the payroll check for the new manager and the atypically delayed process in hiring a replacement manager. On that view, Plaintiff is properly classified as a member of the protected class of pregnant persons. Since Plaintiff sent the email just three and a half months after she gave birth, she is comfortably situated among similar pregnancy discrimination cases. Thus even though [P]laintiff was not pregnant at the time of her termination, there is sufficiently close temporal proximity between her childbirth … and [the adverse action] to make her a member of the protected class for the purposes of this motion.

Furthermore, plaintiff’s “allegations that she was not promoted, that she was recently pregnant and on maternity leave, that a candidate outside of her protected class was hired, that the candidate was hired before the Plaintiff received her second interview, and that the candidate was less qualified than the plaintiff, are together sufficient for the claim to meet the standard of plausibility.”

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