Second Circuit Vacates Dismissal of Hofstra Tennis Coach’s Sex Discrimination Claim

In Menaker v. Hofstra University, 18-3089-cv, 2019 WL 3819631 (2d Cir. Aug. 15, 2019), the Second Circuit vacated the dismissal of plaintiff’s sex discrimination claim asserted under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

The court summarized its holding(s) as follows:

(1) Where a university (a) takes an adverse employment action against an employee, (b) in response to allegations of sexual misconduct, (c) following a clearly irregular investigative or adjudicative process, (d) amid criticism for reacting inadequately to allegations of sexual misconduct by members of one sex, these circumstances support a prima facie case of sex discrimination.

(2) When contesting an inference of bias based on procedural irregularity, an employer cannot justify its abandonment of promised procedural protections by recharacterizing specific accusations in more generic terms.

(3) Where (a) a student files a complaint against a university employee, (b) the student is motivated, at least in part, by invidious discrimination, (c) the student intends that the employee suffer an adverse employment action as a result, and (d) the university negligently or recklessly punishes the employee as a proximate result of that complaint, the university may be liable under Title VII.

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