Employment-Second Circuit Upholds The Plaintiff’s Claim Of Retaliation Under Title VII And New York State And City Law

In Kwan v. The Andalex Group LLC, Docket No. 12-2493-cv (2nd Cir. 2013), the plaintiff, Zann Kwan (“Kwan”), was appealing the judgment of the district court, which granted summary judgment to the defendant, The Andalex Group LLC (“Andalex”), dismissing various claims including retaliation in violation of Title VII and New York State and City law.
In this case Adalex terminated Kwan’s employment, after Kwan complained to Andalex that she was being discriminated against because of her gender. Kwan alleged that the termination was in retaliation for so complaining.

In analyzing the case, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals (the “Court”) affirmed the district court’ summary judgment, except that it overturned the judgment against and dismissal of the retaliation claim. The Court found that, based on the discrepancies between an EEOC statement and subsequent testimony, a reasonable juror could infer that the explanation given by Andalex for the termination was pretextual, and that, coupled with the temporal proximity (3 weeks) between the complaint and the termination, Kwan’s complaint to Andalex about the discrimination was a but-for cause of Kwan’s termination. Viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to Kwan, as required on a motion for summary judgment, there is sufficient evidence to require denial of the summary judgment motion on the retaliation claim.