Court Orders Discovery Relating to Termination of Similarly-Situated Employees in Gender Discrimination Case

In Johnson v IAC/Interactive Corp., 2016 NY Slip Op 31520(U) (NY Sup. Ct. Index No. 155837 /14 Aug. 12, 2016), an employment discrimination case, the court evaluated the parties’ motions to compel discovery (per CPLR 3124) and for sanctions and/or evidence preclusion (per CPLR 3126).

The court held, among other things, that plaintiff was entitled to discovery regarding other employees that the defendants terminated, albeit in limited form:

In [one case], information related to an employer’s termination of other employees was held discoverable for a period of five years prior to the plaintiffs termination. Similarly, a request for documents relating to complaints of sexual harassment and/or retaliation, as well as any complainants’ identities for a period of eight years has been deemed reasonably calculated to reveal pertinent information.

Here, plaintiffs request seeking information from January 2008, approximately three and a half years before her termination, to now, approximately five years after, is reasonably calculated to reveal admissible evidence. However, the material must relate only to plaintiffs termination and to the terminations of other similarly situated employees …, or to race-and/or gender-based harassing or discriminatory conduct by defendants or complaints based on such conduct lodged against them.

The court also ordered plaintiff to provide, e.g., discovery regarding “each enumerated category of damages as set forth in her pleadings” and “evidence relevant to plaintiff’s claim that while she was employed by defendants, she was discriminated against based on her gender.”

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