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Subtle Evidence of Discrimination May Support Claim

Kymberley Rosencrans was hired by Charles Morrow, an owner of Quixote Enterprises, as a district manager. According to Ms. Rosencrans, Mr. Morrow said he was reluctant to hire her because she had four children; she had to commute for over an hour and a half; she would have to be available for emergencies; and he had another district manager in the area. Nevertheless, Ms. Rosencrans began working for the company, but she reported to two other individuals. Thereafter, the company claims that she had many work performance issues. One of her supervisors fired her within just a couple of weeks for lateness, playing on the computer, and poor attitude.

Ms. Rosencrans complained about her termination to Mr. Morrow, whom she knew before her hire. He texted her “Ur just not working out and I gave the other girl another chance…U have a mgr job at the bar and a new husband.” She filed a lawsuit alleging gender discrimination in violation of Title VII.

Before a federal district court in Pennsylvania, Ms. Rosencrans could not establish that her termination was gender discrimination. She claimed Mr. Morrow fired her because she got married and that he did not do that to male employees. The court stated that evidence of stereotyping on the basis of sex could be enough to support a claim of discrimination. Mr. Morrow’s comment about her “new husband” could be viewed as a stereotypical view of a woman not needing a job if she had a husband to support her. His other concerns about her hiring could also support that stereotypical view. However, as there was a lack of evidence as to Mr. Morrow’s participation in the decision to fire her, discrimination could not be established. The intent of the decision-maker was critical to showing discrimination.