“[A] reasonable juror could conclude that Roros harbored misgivings about plaintiff’s pregnancy and, once a shipment came up missing from her vehicle,
doled out selective discipline to replace her with a nonpregnant employee. That is discrimination under Title VII.” So ruled Eastern District Court Judge Nina Gerson in the pregnancy discrimination case, Peralta v. Roros 940, Inc., decided on December 9, 2014.
Ashley Peralta, the plaintiff in the case, worked as a delivery driver for Roros 940, Inc, a subcontractor for FedEx. In May 2011, the company’s principal, John Roros, learned that Peralta was pregnant. A few months later, in August 2011, an incident arose relating to a missing FedEx package from Peralta’s vehicle. FedEx investigated the incident and noted inconsistencies with Peralta’s statements and with her assistant’s statements, Jilani Mitchell. Eventually, Roros terminated Peralta, but not her assistant or other employees who drove Peralta’s vehicle during the suspect time period.
The Court held that Peralta met her burden of showing a juror could infer she was terminated based on discrimination against her pregnancy. As support, the Court noted that Peralta was replaced by a non-pregnant male employee and such evidence shows discrimination.
Roros, however, set forth a legitimate business reason for the termination – the results of the FedEx investigation. But, Peralta was able to produce evidence that the reason was pre-text. Among other evidence, the Court determined that (1) other employees were implicated in the missing package yet none were disciplined, and, in fact, one was hired to replace Peralta; (2) Roros made comments about Peralta to other workers, including calling her a “bitch”; (3) Roros unnecessarily reprimanded Peralta; and (4) Roros required Peralta make extra deliveries, not required of other non-pregnant drivers. Accordingly, the Court denied the Defendants’ motion seeking to dismiss the discrimination claim and the case will proceed to trial on that issue.
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