(Please note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this workplace harassment/sex discrimination case and its proceedings.)
PLAINTIFF HAS AMPLE EVIDENCE TO DEMONSTRATE A TRIABLE ISSUE OF FACT ON HER DISCRIMINATION CLAIMS (CLAIMS 1, 2, 7 & 8)
PLAINTIFF HAS DIRECT EVIDENCE OF DISCRIMINATION
As stated above, direct evidence consists of discriminatory statements or actions by the employer. Coghlan, 413 F.3d at 1095. Discriminatory or retaliatory remarks do not have to be made it the direct context of an employment decision to be direct evidence of discrimination. Chuang, 225 F.3d at 1115. Single statements are enough to provide probative evidence of discrimination. Sinai, 3 F.3d at 474. Here, the direct evidence is clear. Both Mr. Davis and Mr. Chan constantly told Plaintiff to quit or go on disability over her pregnancy/disability. Other comments that were made (i.e. don’t give a shit, pregnant women have hormones and attitudes and you should quit or go on disability, can’t ask for help to lift things, etc.) were made by Mr. Davis and Mr. Chan as well right before she was fired.
There is also direct evidence of hostility to pregnant employees with accommodation requests. When evidence establishes the employer’s animus towards the class that plaintiff belongs, this is considered direct evidence and defeats summary judgment. Id.; Cordova, 124 F.3d at 1149. Here, the evidence shows that Plaintiff was discipline for talking about her pregnancy, which was the first step in the discipline that led to her firing.
Also, there is direct evidence of bias by Mr. Davis in his deposition admission. Mr. Davis admitted he viewed Plaintiff disputing the counseling as because she was pregnant.
PLAINTIFF HAS ALSO MET THE PRIMA FACIE CASE OF DISCRIMINATION
Plaintiff can establish a prima facie case of discrimination. The specific elements of a prima facie case may vary depending on the particular facts. Guz v. Bechtel Nat’l. Inc., (2000) 24 Cal. 4th 317, 355. Generally, the plaintiff must provide evidence that: 1) she was a member of a protected class; 2) she was performing competently in the position she held; 3) she suffered an adverse employment action, such as termination, and 4) some other circumstance suggests discriminatory motive. Id. at 355. Here, all four elements are met:
1) Plaintiff was a member of a protected class, namely she was pregnant/disabled at the time the decision was made to fire her. Carr v. Barnabey’s Hotel Corp., 23 Cal. App. 4th at 17; Cal. Govt. Code § 12945 – not disputed.
2) She was performing competently in her position: The prima facie case is designed to be quite easy to meet and a minimal burden. Hodgens, 144 F3d at 161; Texas Dept. of Community Affairs v. Burdine, 450 U.S. at 253-254. This element in particular is designed that way The second element of the prima facie case is a light burden; a plaintiff only need prove that [she] continued to posses the objective qualifications [she] held when [she] was hired, or by [her] own testimony that [her] work was satisfactory, even when disputed by [her] employer, or by evidence that [she] held [her] position for a significant period of time. MacDonald v. Eastern Wyo. Mental Health Center, (1991) 941 F.2d 1115, 1121. Here, Plaintiff’s own testimony establishes that she did a good job, was great with customer service, had multiple complements about her job performance, etc. Also, the undisputed evidence shows she held the position for over 2 years, received 3 merit based pay raises in that time and was considered a satisfactory employee by management. (See Part 16 of 19.)
For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.