Citing Lack of Comparator Evidence, 2d Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Title VII Gender Discrimination Case

In Russell v. Aid to Developmentally Disabled, Inc., 17-3417 (2d Cir. Oct. 18, 2018) (Summary Order), the court affirmed the lower court’s dismissal of plaintiff’s gender discrimination claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Under that statute, “a plaintiff must first make out a prima
facie case of discrimination by showing that (1) she was within the protected class; (2) she was qualified for the position; (3) she was subject to an adverse employment action; and (4) the adverse
action occurred under circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination.”

Here, the court held, plaintiff failed to establish the fourth prong:

Based on the record before the district court, the evidence was insufficient to show that Russell’s termination occurred
under circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination. Russell attempted to raise an inference of discrimination by identifying male employees who she claimed were not disciplined for violating company policies. For comparator evidence to establish an inference of
discrimination, the plaintiff must show that the comparators were “similarly situated in all material respects.” Graham v. Long Island R.R., 230 F.3d 34, 39 (2d Cir. 2000) (internal quotation marks omitted). An inference of discrimination does not arise here because Russell failed to point to
any evidence showing that the male comparators’ conduct was as extreme as hers. She also admitted that she did not know whether the comparators were disciplined for engaging in misconduct.