Title VII Gender Discrimination Claim Survives Summary Judgment; Plaintiff Presented Evidence That Female Plaintiff Was Disciplined More Harshly Than Similarly-Situated Male Workers

In Edwards v. Khalil, No. 12 CIV. 8442 (JCM), 2016 WL 1312149 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 31, 2016), the court held (among other things) that plaintiff (a female police officer) presented enough evidence to survive summary judgment on her claims of gender discrimination under Title VII and 42 U.S.C. § 1983.

From the decision:

On the basis of … three [male] comparators, Plaintiff has raised a genuine issue of material fact as to whether she was treated less favorably than similarly-situated male officers. She has therefore established a prima facie case of gender discrimination under Title VII.

The record is clear that Plaintiff violated certain Department regulations. Assuming arguendo that Defendants have met their minimal burden here, it is nonetheless clear that Defendants have not provided a dispositive nondiscriminatory reason as to which there is no genuine issue and which no rational trier of fact could reject. A reasonable juror could conclude that the conduct for which Plaintiff was disciplined was not egregious enough to merit the discipline imposed. Given the Board’s written recognition in its decision to terminate Plaintiff that Plaintiff’s performance evaluations “generally have been positive,” and the evidence from Plaintiff’s prima facie case that similarly-situated males were treated more favorably than she was. Plaintiff has sufficiently raised a question of fact to be resolved by the factfinder after trial.

The court also denied defendants’ motion for summary judgment as to an individual defendant’s liability under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The court found “sufficient evidence to support the inference that [that defendant] intentionally discriminated against Plaintiff on the basis of gender”, citing evidence that he “disciplined Plaintiff more harshly than he disciplined male officers.”

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