“He Said, She Said” Pregnancy Discrimination Claim Survives Summary Judgment

In Brown v. Metropolitan Dental Associates et al, 2023 WL 5154415 (S.D.N.Y. August 10, 2023), the court, inter alia, denied defendant’s motion for summary judgment on plaintiff’s pregnancy discrimination claim asserted under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

From the decision:

Here, the same evidence that raised factual issues with respect to Plaintiff’s prima facie case can and does raise genuine issues as to whether her employers’ proffered reasons for denying Plaintiff’s accommodations were pretextual. Setting aside the major disputes over whether Plaintiff was, in fact, accommodated or suffered adverse employment actions, Plaintiff nonetheless argues the following: a dearth of evidence that Plaintiff was a poor performer despite Dr. Cohen’s insistence to the contrary, conflicting accounts of Plaintiff’s desire to engage in constructive dialogue with her supervisors regarding her employment, and the temporal proximity between Plaintiff’s pregnancy and the cessation of her employment.3 “No one piece of evidence need be sufficient, standing alone, to permit a rational finder of fact to infer that defendant’s employment decision was more likely than not motivated in part by discrimination.” Walsh v. New York City Hous. Auth., 828 F.3d 70, 76 (2d Cir. 2016). However, taken in concert, Plaintiff’s arguments meet her burden of demonstrating that Defendants’ reasoning is merely pretextual.

The Court does not here present an exhaustive list of Plaintiff’s arguments. What is presented, however, shows that before the Court is a classic “he-said/she-said scenario, which involves an assessment of credibility and the resolution of competing inferences from the disputed facts.” Primmer, 667 F. Supp. 2d at 261. Neither is for the Court to decide—that role is reserved for a jury.

Having concluded that plaintiff’s Title VII claim survived summary judgment, it held that her claim under the comparatively broader  New York City Human Rights Law likewise survived.

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