Gender Discrimination Claim Dismissed; Court Cites Female Plaintiff’s Replacement by Another Female

In Harding v. Donatella GCT LLC et al, No. 158886/2017, 2021 N.Y. Slip Op. 50116(U), 2021 WL 647542 (Sup Ct, Feb. 18, 2021), the court, inter alia, dismissed plaintiff’s claim of gender discrimination.

From the decision:

Plaintiff here has not made out a prima facie case of gender discrimination. For example, the record reflects that her supervisor, Rudemyer, filled her vacated job spot by hiring another woman. (See NYSCEF No. 92 at ¶ 16.) Plaintiff contends that this fact should not foreclose her from making out her prima facie case, because (plaintiff contends) she was fired after reporting a sexual assault while her male assailant (co-worker Murdock) was not fired. This court is not persuaded. That plaintiff was replaced by another female employee tends to rebut the inference that plaintiff seeks to draw, namely that she was treated differently from Murdock due to her gender, in particular—as opposed to, for example, that she was reporting sexual harassment and assault by a coworker.4

Additionally, plaintiff has not introduced any other evidence that the circumstances under which she was fired give rise to an inference of gender discrimination. Plaintiff has not shown, for example, that she (or other female employees) were treated “treated less favorably than a similarly situated employee outside of [her] protected group,” or that Prova Pizzabar engaged in any discriminatory policies or practices. (Castro v New York Univ., 5 AD3d 135, 136 [1st Dept 2004].) Nor has she introduced evidence that Rudemyer (or other supervisory or managerial staff) made comments that might “signal views about the role of women in the workplace” supporting a discrimination claim. (Williams v N.Y.C. Hous. Auth., 61 AD3d 62, 80 n 30 [1st Dept 2009].)

Based on this, the court held that plaintiff failed to make out a prima facie case that her firing entailed gender discrimination.

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