Are Remarks That Work & Motherhood Are Incompatible Evidence Of Gender Discrimination?
For more than twenty years, our Citrus County employment lawyers have fought for the rights of employment discrimination victims. Through their decades of experience representing employment discrimination victims, our Inverness, Florida employment attorneys know that women continue to endure discrimination based on stereotypes about their alleged inability to combine work and motherhood. For example, a common and persistent gender stereotype is that a woman cannot be a good mother and have a job that requires long hours. Gender stereotypes that work and motherhood are incompatible are reinforced by stereotypes about the lack of domestic responsibilities for men. Indeed, a pervasive gender stereotype is that caring for family members is women’s work. In this article, our Citrus County employment lawyers explain how the decision in Dingman v. Fuji Japanese Steakhouse Sushi, Inc., Case No. 20-cv-4850 (S.D. N.Y. Sept. 30, 2022) demonstrates that remarks about how work and motherhood are incompatible are gender-based stereotypes and evidence of unlawful gender discrimination.
Gender Discrimination Lawsuit
In that case, a woman named Dingman brought a gender discrimination lawsuit against her former employer, Fuji Japanese Steakhouse Sushi, Inc. (Fuji), pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII). Under Title VII, employers are prohibited from discriminating against employees on the basis of gender. Dingman claims that Fuji violated Title VII by failing to promote her to the position of General Manager because of her gender.
In May 2011, Dingman was hired to work as a server at Fuji’s restaurant. From May 20, 2019 until July 29, 2019, Dingman was on maternity leave. On August 12, 2019, the restaurant’s General Manager, Mattiello resigned. Dingman was with Mattiello when she approached an owner of Fuji, Chen, to notify that she was resigning. Dingman told Chen that she was willing to take over the General Manager position. That same day, Chen promoted another employee to General Manager position. The promoted employee was childless.
Soon after learning of the promotion, Mattiello asked Chen why Dingman was passed over for promotion, and Chen said, “her brain is scrambled from having the baby.” Dingman also confronted Chen about not getting the General Manager position. Chen responded that Dingman was acting crazy and it was because of the baby. On August 14, 2019, a co-worker texted Dingman that Chen “said you have baby you have no time no more.” That same day, Dingman notified Chem that she was leaving her job at Fuji.
Fuji filed a motion with the trial court seeking dismissal of Dingman’s gender discrimination claim. In moving for dismissal, Fuji argued that Chen’s alleged comments that Dingman’s newborn baby had “scrambled” her brain and that Dingman would not have time for a role as General Manager were not gender-based stereotyped remarks but, instead, were based on “familial status,” which is not protected by Title VII. In other words, Fuji claimed that any discrimination Dingman experienced was based on “familial status” and Title VII does not prohibit discrimination based on “familial status.” The trial court denied Fuji’s motion for dismissal and ruled that Dingman was allowed to proceed to a jury trial on the issue of whether she was denied promotion because of her gender in violation of Title VII.
In denying Fuji’s motion for dismissal, the trial court determined that Chen’s alleged comments that Dingman’s newborn baby had “scrambled” her brain and that Dingman would not have time for a role as General Manager were gender-based stereotyped remarks. The trial court explained that “notions that mothers are insufficiently devoted to work, and that work and motherhood are incompatible, are properly considered to be, themselves, gender-based.” The trial court further determined that Chen’s comments “provide[ ] a strong showing that discriminatory motive factored into the adverse employment decision, and a reasonable fact finder could find that sex-stereotyping played a role in the employment decision.” Thus, the trial court concluded it was for a jury to decide whether Dingman was passed over for promotion because of her gender in violation of Title VII.
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Citrus County, FL Employment Lawyers
Based in Ocala, Florida and representing workers throughout Florida, our employment attorneys in Citrus County, Florida have dedicated their practice to fighting for the rights of employment discrimination victims. If you have experienced workplace discrimination or have questions about your protection from workplace discrimination under federal employment discrimination law, please contact our office for a free consultation with our employment lawyers in Citrus County, Florida. Our employee rights law firm takes employment discrimination cases on a contingency fee basis. This means that there are no attorney’s fees incurred unless there is a recovery and our attorney’s fees come solely from the monetary award that you recover.