On January 11, 2017, The United States District Court for the District of Puerto Rico issued an Opinion an Order Dismissing with Prejudice a claim for discrimination and retaliation under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act; including supplemental claims under Puerto Rico law, filed against Plaintiff’s former employer, a client of our Firm.
Plaintiff alleged that from June 2011 until her resignation in November 2013 she was subjected to a hostile work environment by the Company top officers. Also, she alleged that younger and male employees who performed similar duties earned higher salaries and bonuses than she did. As part of her claims she also alleged that after she filed a charge before the EEOC the harassment increased and became so unbearable that she was forced to resign.
The Court dismissed the claim after we filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. The Motion was based on Plaintiff’s lack of admissible evidence to substantiate her allegations and comply with the prima facie standards. To the contrary, the direct and admissible evidence demonstrated that Plaintiff was not treated discriminatorily in terms of salaries, bonuses and/or any other type of compensation and that she was, instead, the second best pay employee of the enterprise, only second to defendant’s General Manager. Plaintiff also lacked sufficient evidence in support of her remaining discrimination and retaliation claims for hostile work environment and constructive discharge.
The Court concluded based on the evidence and the applicable law that Plaintiff was not treated in a discriminatory fashion.
Regarding a procedural matter, common in this type of situations, the Court emphasized that Plaintiff’s opposition to summary judgement was basically relying on a post discovery affidavit that merely repeated the allegations stated in the Complaint; and that the same were vague, conclusory and mere allegations that do not, as required to adequately survive a Summary Judgement, offered details and specific facts, as well as context and specificity to what was alleged.
The Court concluded, in sum, that Plaintiff’s allegations were only supported by hearsay evidence and conclusory statements in her affidavit and that, thus, she cannot establish a prima facie case of discrimination or retaliation under the federal and local statutes invoked. It was also concluded that Plaintiff’s Law 80 claim of unjust dismissal fails since she was not terminated.
This article is not and should not be taken as legal advice or counseling. It is for informative purposes only. For advice, you should consult an attorney of your choice.