Appellate Judges Reinstate Gender Discrimination Claims

April 10, 2007 ( - A federal appellate court has ruled that a worker can prove unlawful discrimination even if they were replaced by someone also protected under the law.

The 4 th  US Circuit Court of Appeals, ruling in a case involving a female sales manager for an i nternational data and voice telecommunications services supplier, also asserted that a discrimination claim can still stand even if a replacement employee was hired by a different manager than the person who exhibited the original alleged discriminatory behavior.

So, in writing for the appellate court, Circuit Judge M. Blane Michael dismissed two lower court rulings against L orraine Lettieri by Senior U.S. District Judge James C. Cacheris of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia but upheld a third.

Thrown out were Cacheris’ rulings against Lettieri over the basic discrimination claim and a second allegation she was retaliated against for complaining about her treatment. Michael upheld a ruling dismissing Lettieri’s demand for $50,000 in unpaid sales commissions.

Because the motives of the ultimate corporate decisionmaker who hired a new worker to replace Lettieri could not be imputed back to the manager who she claimed exhibited discriminatory behavior, the appeals court ruled that Lettieri no longer had to prove that part of her case.

In her lawsuit against Equant Inc., Lettieri  alleged wrongful termination based on her gender and offered as proof what she said were negative/sexist comments about women, chauvinistic behavior and examples of gender stereotyping.

The ruling in Lettieri v. Equant Inc., 4th Cir., No. 05-1532 (March 26, 2007 is  here .