Hostility to Employee’s Alleged “Disloyal” Conduct Supports Retaliation Claim

In Vosburgh v. American Nat. Red Cross, 2014 WL 4826688 (N.D.N.Y. Sept. 29, 2014), the court denied defendant’s summary judgment motion regarding plaintiff’s retaliation claim (but granted it regarding plaintiff’s wage and individual liability claims). As to her retaliation claim, the court held:

[T]o prevail at the pretext stage of the McDonnell–Douglas analysis, a plaintiff must show that the employer’s proffered non-retaliatory reason is both false and a pretext for retaliation. There are disputed issues of fact as to whether Defendants’ proffered reasons for reassigning Plaintiff were false. Furthermore, Defendants’ hostility to Plaintiff’s “disloyal” conduct, combined with the relative temporal proximity between Plaintiff’s CCL Complaint and her reassignment, might support an inference that Defendants’ proffered reasons are pretext for retaliation—i.e., that retaliation was the but-for cause of Plaintiff’s reassignment. … Accordingly, Plaintiff has met her burden at the pretext stage, and Defendants are not entitled to summary judgment on Plaintiff’s retaliation claim.

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