Discrimination Laws Prohibit Discrimination Against Men Too, Court Notes

In Snyder v. Town of Potsdam, 2018 WL 6267922 (N.D.N.Y. Nov. 30, 2018), the court – summarizing (one aspect of) the law of employment discrimination – underscores an important (albeit established) point: namely, not only “minorities” are protected by the anti-discrimination laws.

The court wrote:

Title VII [of the Civil Rights Act of 1964] prohibits all discrimination in employment based upon race, sex, and national origin.” Texas v. Dept. of Cmty. Affairs v. Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 259 (1981). “In passing Title VII, Congress made the simple but momentous announcement that sex, race, religion, and national origin are not relevant to the selection, evaluation, or compensation of employees.” Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228, 239 (1989), superseded by statute, Civil Rights Act of 1991, Tit. I, § 107(a), 105 Stat. 1075, as recognized in Burrage v. United States, 571 U.S. 204, 213 n.4 (2014). “This ‘broad rule of workplace equality,’ … ‘strike[s] at the entire spectrum of disparate treatment’ based on protected characteristics, … ‘regardless of whether the discrimination is directed against majorities or minorities.’ ” Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc., 883 F.3d 100, 111 (2d Cir. 2018) (citations omitted). “[T]he critical inquiry for a court assessing whether an employment practice is ‘because of … sex’ is whether sex was a ‘motivating factor.’ ” Zarda, 883 F.3d at 111 (quoting Rivera v. Rochester Genesee Reg’l Transp. Auth., 743 F.3d 11, 23 [2d Cir. 2014] ).

*14 To establish a prima facie pay disparity claim, Plaintiff must present evidence that he was (1) a member of a protected class, (2) qualified for the job in question, (3) paid less than members outside of the protected class for the same work, and (4) that Defendant’s decision to pay him less occurred under circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination. Belfi v. Prendergast, 191 F.3d 129, 139 (2d Cir. 1999).51

Granted, the Court disagrees with Defendant’s contention that Plaintiff cannot establish that he is a member of a protected class on the basis of the fact that he is male. The Court finds that Plaintiff has presented evidence that he is the member of a protected class. See Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Co. v. E.E.O.C., 462 U.S. 669, 682 (1983) (“Male as well as female employees are protected against discrimination.”). The purpose of Title VII is to protect all employees on the basis of their sex, not only females.

Applying the law, the court dismissed plaintiff’s claims. For example, it dismissed plaintiff’s claim of pay disparity, noting (inter alia) that plaintiff was paid more than his female comparators and that plaintiff presented no evidence giving rise to an inference of discrimination.

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