In Wang v. Air China Limited and LB Oceanfront Corp., 17-CV-6662, 2020 WL 1140458 (E.D.N.Y. March 9, 2020), the court, inter alia, denied defendants’ motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s federal and state law retaliation claims (asserted, respectively, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the New York State Human Rights Law).
From the decision:
The Court finds that there are triable issues of fact as to whether Defendants’ nonretaliatory reasons for Plaintiff’s de facto termination are pretext for retaliation. For example, Plaintiff states that neither Oceanside nor Air China ever expressed issues with her performance during her employment, (Pl. Aff. ¶ 50 (stating that “[p]rior to [her] reporting … Li’s conduct … nobody complained to [her] about [her] job performance … [or] ever indicate[d] that either Oceanside or Air China was looking to replace [her]”).) Huang testified that prior to Plaintiff’s complaint, neither Yu nor anyone from Air China had ever expressed an issue with Plaintiff’s performance. (Huang Dep. 376:4–14.) Taken together with the evidence discussed above that Defendants sought to terminate Plaintiff at Li’s request, and replace her with a male employee, the Court finds that this evidence of pretext could lead a reasonable jury to conclude that Plaintiff’s de facto termination was because of her complaint alleging she had been sexually harassed by Li.