Gender/Pregnancy Discrimination Claims Against Royal Bank of Canada Survive Summary Judgment

In Mitzner v. royal Bank of Canada et al, 2017 WL 2152582 (N.Y.Sup.), 2017 N.Y. Slip Op. 31071(U) (Trial Order) (Sup. Ct. NY Cty. May 17, 2017) (J. Edwards), the court denied defendants’ motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s claims of gender and pregnancy discrimination under the New York State and City Human Rights Laws.

From the decision:

Upon review of the evidence submitted, several material issues of fact remain to be tried, including, but not necessarily limited to whether Plaintiff suffered an adverse employment action and if so, whether it occurred under circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination; whether Plaintiff was constructively terminated; and whether the manner in which Plaintiff’s accounts were reallocated was the result of gender discrimination or for a legitimate nondiscriminatory reason.

Furthermore, the parties disagree on the manner in which Plaintiff’s complaints regarding her disparate treatment were handled. On approximately four occasions, Plaintiff made complaints to either someone in Human Resources or directly to her supervisors. It appears that no person with whom Plaintiff lodged her complaints conducted an investigation to address the issues of her alleged discrimination. Furthermore, there is conflicting deposition testimony from employees of RBC as to whether Plaintiff’s formal complaints were elevated up the chain of command. As indicated, in the evidence provided by both parties, it appears that Plaintiff’s repeated complaints of alleged discriminatory practices as a result of her gender or pregnancy status were both wholly and partially ignored and never appropriately addressed or resolved.

As there were never any investigations conducted in connection with Plaintiffs complaints, RBC neither concluded nor notified plaintiff of possible non-discriminatory reasons for the removal of her accounts. Plaintiff argues in her opposition that RBC only responded to her complaints after she initiated the current litigation. Therefore, a triable issue of fact remains whether the removal and reallocation of Plaintiff’s accounts were a result of gender discrimination and other discriminatory practices in connection with Plaintiff’s pregnancy status.

Despite alleging non-discriminatory reasons for the removal and reallocation of Plaintiff’s accounts and failure to reassign comparable accounts, Plaintiff has offered sufficient evidence to **9 raise questions of whether the alleged unlawful discrimination was one of the motivating factors for the adverse employment actions, or that the adverse employment actions were more likely based in whole or in part on discrimination. Therefore, for the reasons set forth above, the court denies Defendants’ motion for summary judgment dismissal of all claims.

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