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Negative Comments About Leave By Supervisor Result in Denial of Summary Judgment

Mary Jo May began working for PNC Bank in 2009. She started as a bank teller and worked her way up to branch manager. Each employee was required to sign a Code of Ethics as a condition of employment. In April of 2017, May took Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave following a pregnancy she had to terminate because of complications. In June 2017, May notified PNC Bank that she was pregnant again; this pregnancy was high-risk.
May has alleged that her supervisor, Raymond DiSandro, discriminated against her because of her pregnancies. She alleged that during the leave for her first pregnancy, DiSandro gave a transfer she had been seeking to another employee. DiSandro claimed he could not interview May while she was on leave. For her second pregnancy, May asserted that she notified DiSandro that she would need to take intermittent leave to attend medical appointments. In response, May alleged that DisSandro complained daily about her being out, asking her how frequently and for how long. He also expressed concern that the success of the branch could be an issue for her and asserted her career would be impacted if the branch failed. In July or August, May discussed needing FMLA in preparation for the birth of her child. Around the same time, an employee complained that May misused her authority in violation of the bank’s code of ethics. As a result of an investigation, May was terminated and the employee was issued a warning.
A federal district court found that May had alleged sufficient evidence to go forward on a pregnancy discrimination claim. DiSandro’s comments about her pregnancy-related leave, including the statement that he offered the branch manager position to another because she was on FMLA leave as well as the continuing nature of the comments between her first pregnancy and her termination during the second pregnancy could reflect pretext as the basis of her termination. There was additional evidence that the PNC had provided inconsistent statements on the reasons for its decision to terminate which also suggested pretext. PNC had claimed that several individuals were involved in the decision to terminate her while DiSandro testified that it was solely his decision.