Best Gender Discrimination Attorney Answers: Can employers refuse to promote men? What is reverse gender discrimination? Can employers destroy evidence of gender discrimination? How do I find the best gender discrimination attorney in Ohio?
We recently blogged about reverse discrimination cases under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Ohio R.C. § 4112.99. We discussed that these laws do not protect a particular race, religion, sex or national origin, but simply prevent employers from making decisions bases on an applicant’s or employee’s race, gender, or religion, whatever that might be. In that blog, our employment discrimination lawyers gave an example based on “reverse” race discrimination.
Today, we have an example of “reverse” gender discrimination courtesy of Ventura Corp., which is a wholesaler of makeup, beauty products, jewelry and other personal care items. According to the gender discrimination complaint, Ventura engaged in a pattern of rejecting male candidates as Zone Managers and Support Managers. One of those men passed over for a promotion was Erick Zayas. But, after so very loud complaining Ventura promoted Zayas to Zone Manager, but then failed to support him in that role and terminate him shortly thereafter. So, Zayas filed a complaint for gender discrimination, retaliation, and for wrongfully terminating him.
This is where the case got interesting. In discovery, Ventura was asked in discovery to produce applications from men that applied for the positions at issue and e-mails from managers involved in the decisions. But, Ventura’s HR representative told the court that requested documents “were either “taken to a warehouse or shredded as a result of an office restructuring in 2009.” Ventura then blamed a “software migration project” for missing electronic documents, such as résumés sent by e-mail. But, because Zayas was able to produce at least one e-mail between managers relating to his termination, the trial court held it was probable that similar additional e-mails had existed but had been destroyed. The judge recognized that such spoliation of evidence placed Zayas at a severe disadvantage:
As a result of the Defendant’s failure to preserve all of the relevant job application materials, the EEOC and Zayas are unfairly disadvantaged. The EEOC and Zayas are now hindered in their ability to establish that the testimony of Ventura’s officials who state that male applicants for the Zone and Support Manager positions were either unqualified or less qualified than women has no basis. In addition, as a result of the destruction of the e-mail accounts in question, the EEOC and Zayas may not be able to adequately challenge the testimony of Ventura officials who will testify that Zayas was discharged because of his poor performance. They are also at a disadvantage in their ability to establish that Ventura’s proffered reason for Zayas’ termination is a pretext for discrimination and retaliation. As a result of the foregoing, the Court must sanction Ventura for the prejudice it caused the EEOC and Zayas.
As a result, the judge held that should the case go to trial, Ventura would be precluded from presenting witness testimony about the number of men who had applied for the sales positions. The judge also said he would give an adverse inference instruction telling the jury that they could infer that the lost e-mails would have been favorable to the employees.
In doing so, the court held that law did not require bad faith or a comparable bad motive to warrant spoliation sanctions. It continued, noting the court may impose sanctions, even “[i]f such evidence is mishandled through carelessness.”
Following this decision, Ventura agreed to pay $354,250 to settle the “reverse” gender discrimination case. So, the two takeaways are this: (1) men can prevail in gender discrimination cases; and (2) there can be harsh penalties to employers that destroy or even “fail to preserve” key evidence.
If you feel that you are being discriminated based on your gender or sex, then call the right attorney. It is never appropriate to discriminate against female employees. Discrimination against women includes being harassed, fired, wrongfully terminated, discriminated against, demoted, wrongfully disciplined, denied a promotion, and denied wages or not receiving equal pay. When you call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation at 866-797-6040, you will meet with an attorney from Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm to discuss wrongful discrimination claims and help you determine the best way to pursue your gender/sex discrimination claims.
The materials available at the top of this page and on this employment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Your best option is to contact an Ohio attorney to obtain advice with respect to gender discrimination questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.