Federal Court Dismisses Georgia Woman’s Gender-Based Employment Discrimination Claim

There are several different types of unlawful conduct that may be asserted in an Atlanta employment discrimination lawsuit: Sex discrimination, race or color discrimination, age discrimination, national origin discrimination, religious discrimination, and/or disability discrimination.

As with other types of civil cases, the plaintiff has the burden of proving his or her case by a preponderance of the evidence. This is not always an easy task, given that an employer accused of wrongful conduct will often fight extremely hard against a finding of employment discrimination, so as to discourage other employees from also taking legal action.

Facts of the Case

In a recent case, the plaintiff was a woman who worked for the defendant county for approximately 20 years before applying for a construction director position in 2013 (her job at the time was “Planner III,” which involved coordinating the work of contractors, managing projects, and handling associated paperwork.) The defendant division director was responsible for interviewing candidates for the construction director position and making a recommendation to his supervisor. The plaintiff, along with several others, applied for the job and went through the interview process, but she was not offered the position. Rather, the job was offered to a male who had interviewed for the job, and, when he declined the offer, an offer was made to another male who did not interview for the position (the director knew this individual through other projects). After the second male also turned down the job, the spot was left open.

The following year, the position was reposted. Again, the plaintiff and some others interviewed for the job, and a male candidate was offered the position. He accepted the offer. The plaintiff filed suit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division, alleging that the defendant county had refused to promote her to a better position because of her gender. Her suit sought relief under both Title VII and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. The defendants sought summary judgment. The magistrate judge recommended that the defendants’ motion be granted, but the plaintiff filed objections to the recommendation.

Decision of the Court

The federal district court overruled the plaintiff’s objections and adopted the magistrate judge’s recommendation. The magistrate had found that the plaintiff had brought a prima facie case of failure-to-promote discrimination but that the defendants had articulated a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for their decision to hire the male candidate rather than the plaintiff. Because the plaintiff had failed to show that the defendants’ articulated reason for hiring the male candidate (because of his construction management experience, his experience with large-scale projects, experience as a supervisor, and his communication and leadership skills) was mere pretext, the magistrate opined that summary judgment was appropriate. In reviewing these findings de nov0, the district court judge agreed with the magistrate judge that the plaintiff had failed to establish her claims, thus ruling that summary judgment to the defendants was proper.

Hire an Experienced Atlanta Employment Discrimination Lawyer

Each employment law claim stands on its own merits. Although the plaintiff in the case set forth above was not successful in her case, the holding is limited to the particular facts of her claim. Your case might be very different. If you would like to talk to a seasoned Atlanta employment discrimination lawyer about a situation you have encountered in the workplace, call Attorney John L. Mays at the Parks, Chesin & Walbert firm. You can reach us 24/7 by dialing 404-873-8048. We look forward to being of assistance to you.

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