Title VII Gender Discrimination Case Dismissed; Actions By “Tough Supervisor” Who “Did Not Like” Plaintiff Not Shown to Have Exhibited Unlawful Bias

In Campbell v. Nat’l Fuel Gas Distribution Corp., No. 1:13-CV-00438 EAW, 2017 WL 1957829 (W.D.N.Y. May 11, 2017), the court granted defendant’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed plaintiff’s Title VII gender discrimination claim.

While plaintiff presented sufficient evidence to establish a prima facie case, her case fell apart at the third step of the analysis.

From the decision:

The Court finds that even viewed in the light most favorable to Plaintiff, Plaintiff has not met her burden of establishing that Defendant’s legitimate reasons for terminating her were pretextual. It should be noted, again, that Plaintiff acknowledges that she was never subject to overt discrimination by Jandreau. Jandreau was a tough supervisor and may have ignored Plaintiff, but this, standing alone, is not sufficient to divine discriminatory intent. Plaintiff’s “feeling” that Jandreau did not like women is similarly insufficient to establish intent to discriminate. And even if Plaintiff is correct that “no supervisor other than [Jandreau] would have turned Plaintiff in to his superiors” for her conduct, that does not demonstrate that Jandreau was motivated by discriminatory intent, rather than for some other reason.

The record before the Court, viewed as a whole, does not allow for the reasonable inference that Jandreau was biased against Plaintiff because of her gender. Reading every fact in Plaintiff’s favor, the best she can establish is that Jandreau did not like her, and that he targeted her for termination by reporting her for violating company policies which were routinely ignored. Plaintiff’s allegations that Jandreau discriminated against her because she is a woman are nothing more than conjecture. No reasonable jury could find by a preponderance of the evidence that Jandreau acted with discriminatory animus. Therefore, because Plaintiff cannot establish Jandreau’s discriminatory intent with any reasonable probability, summary judgment is appropriate. (Emphasis in original.)

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