For more information please call  800.727.2766


Case Revived for Failure to Consider in Light Most Favorable to Employee

A 50+-year-old former employee of the retail store Anthropologie alleged that she was subjected to a hostile work environment based on her age. Blair Davis-Garrett also alleged that she was retaliated against after she complained about the treatment. She asserted that from the beginning of her employment, she was treated differently in that she was assigned to the fitting room and denied training opportunities. When her original store closed, Davis-Garrett was transferred to a store where she better matched the “demographics” because she was “old” and the customers who shopped there were also “older.” This employee remained assigned to the fitting room and was ignored by her younger co-workers who referred to her as “Mom.” When this employee sought a promotion, the manager purportedly told her it was “completely impossible” because she lacked the “energy” and “stamina” for the position. After she complained about these comments, her work environment became even more hostile.
Her claims were dismissed on summary judgment but the Second Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed with how the district court viewed the case. First, the district court refused to consider incidents occurring beyond the 300-days limitation period for filing an administrative charge with the EEOC. The appellate court noted that for hostile work environment allegations, the entire scope of the claim may be considered in assessing liability provided one act occurs within the statutory period.
Furthermore, the district court accepted the employer’s proffered testimony that the employment decisions were age-neutral and non-retaliatory over the employee’s assertions to the contrary. Judges must avoid weighing the evidence, which is the job of a jury, according to the decision. The district court was required to “draw in her favor all inferences that could reasonably be drawn from that evidence” and “disregard the contrary statements from Anthropologie managers that a jury would not be required to believe.” The lawsuit will go forward.