Quaratino v. Tiffany & Co., No. 1619

CourtU.S. Court of Appeals — Second Circuit
Writing for the CourtBefore CARDAMONE, MINER, and JACOBS; CARDAMONE
Citation71 F.3d 58
Parties69 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. (BNA) 507, 67 Empl. Prac. Dec. P 43,795, 64 USLW 2383 Mary C. QUARATINO, Plaintiff-Appellant, v. TIFFANY & CO., Michael Eiring, and David Wright, Defendants-Appellees. ocket 94-9268.
Decision Date20 November 1995
Docket NumberNo. 1619,D

Page 58

71 F.3d 58
69 Fair Empl.Prac.Cas. (BNA) 507,
67 Empl. Prac. Dec. P 43,795, 64 USLW 2383
Mary C. QUARATINO, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
TIFFANY & CO., Michael Eiring, and David Wright, Defendants-Appellees.
No. 1619, Docket 94-9268.
United States Court of Appeals,
Second Circuit.
Argued May 5, 1995.
Decided Nov. 20, 1995.

Page 60

Anne Golden, New York City, for Plaintiff-Appellant.

Louis R. Satriale, Jr., New York City (Daniel A. Rizzi, Jason P. Isralowitz, Townley & Updike, New York, New York, of counsel), for Defendants-Appellees.

Before CARDAMONE, MINER, and JACOBS, Circuit Judges.

CARDAMONE, Circuit Judge:

We have before us an employment discrimination case based on pregnancy. Plaintiff alleges that her termination from employment in 1992 at the end of her maternity disability leave was discrimination in violation of Title VII's Pregnancy Discrimination Act contained in the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Her employer, the defendants, say that plaintiff's discharge came about as a result of a corporate restructuring, which eliminated a number of positions, including plaintiff's, after the net income of its business declined five million dollars in fiscal year 1991 (ending January 31, 1992) from the prior year.

Plaintiff asserts that her employer apparently believes an employee who takes a maternity leave is on a track that puts her career second to her responsibilities as a mother. No studies or testimony in the record support the view that pregnancy is incompatible with professional ambitions; and, that belief may be more a reflection of an individual employer's attitude than objective reality. Whether or not it has any validity is not our task to decide because Congress,

Page 61

whose view is the one we must heed, has expressly stated in Title VII that pregnant women shall be treated equally for all employment related purposes and that nothing in the law shall be construed to permit otherwise.

Plaintiff Mary C. Quaratino appeals from a grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants Tiffany & Co. (Tiffany), Michael Eiring, and David Wright in her action alleging pregnancy discrimination and from a denial of her motion to file a supplemental complaint to add a new cause of action against the same defendants alleging unlawful retaliation. Judgment was entered November 22, 1994 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Martin, J.). Defendant Wright was plaintiff's immediate supervisor; he reported to defendant Eiring, who was Tiffany's vice president of corporate operations. Plaintiff held the post of manager of corporate sales support and administration until her position was terminated at the conclusion of her maternity leave. She was later rehired as a showroom coordinator, a position she currently holds.

The issues presented are whether the trial court properly dismissed plaintiff's complaint alleging employment discrimination in violation of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000e(k), contained in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. Sec. 2000e et seq. (1988), as amended by the Civil Rights Act of 1991, and the New York State Human Rights Law, N.Y. Exec. Law Sec. 290 et seq. (McKinney 1993), and properly denied her motion to file a supplemental complaint. Defendants contend there are no genuine issues of material fact regarding plaintiff's claim of pregnancy discrimination because her job was eliminated as part of a department-wide reorganization and that the motion to file a supplemental complaint was properly denied because plaintiff was rehired to a position newly-created for her.

BACKGROUND

Mary Quaratino began her employment with Tiffany & Co., Manhattan's world famous Fifth Avenue jewelry store, in 1984 as a second assistant account executive in the operations department, having been previously employed by J.C. Penney & Co. where she performed inventory functions. By 1991 she had been promoted several times and had attained the position of manager of corporate sales support and administration at an annual salary of $39,398.90. In January 1991 Quaratino discovered she was pregnant and was due to give birth in October; she did not tell anyone at work of her condition.

Four months later, in April 1991, defendant Wright, Quaratino's immediate supervisor, gave her a favorable evaluation on her annual performance report and expressed no criticisms of her except he thought she should be more punctual. During plaintiff's evaluation, Wright told her that he had asked her co-worker Shelley Rajman and now was asking her, "Are you really serious about your career, or are you just going to go home and get pregnant?" Plaintiff chose not to confide in Wright that she was pregnant. Instead, she said, "David, I'm very serious about my career." Quaratino compared notes with Rajman--the only other married woman in the department--who reported that Wright had asked her the same question. When Rajman and Quaratino both inquired of Denise Felder, a manager, whether she had been asked about her maternal aspirations she said, "No. Probably because I'm 40 and past my prime."

In late May 1991, on the Memorial Day weekend, plaintiff told James E. Quinn, Tiffany's executive vice president, that she was pregnant. She then informed Wright of her condition. His immediate response to this news was an expletive and he avoided her throughout the following week. At a subsequent staff meeting, when Wright announced the "wonderful" news that plaintiff was going to have a baby, she did not believe his "comment" was genuine. Quaratino further asserts that after Wright learned of her pregnancy, he became highly critical of her, continuing not only to avoid her, but also acting unfriendly even when he had to speak to her. In July 1991 he sent plaintiff a memo accusing her of "consistently poor performance with regard to tardiness" and threatening "more serious action." When Quaratino requested specific examples of tardiness,

Page 62

Wright described six alleged episodes. Plaintiff insists all but one of them were based on inaccurate information and that she pointed this out to him in a memo, to which he never responded.

A few months before plaintiff took maternity leave, her responsibilities were expanded to include the planning and organization for a move of the sales staff from Fifth Avenue to 600 Madison Avenue. Defendants described this move as the "reorganization" in which plaintiff's job--or, as plaintiff believes, her job title--was eliminated.

In another conversation that took place prior to Quaratino's maternity leave, defendant Eiring told plaintiff not to worry and that her job in the corporate department would be waiting when she returned. At the same time he took occasion to express his view that a mother should stay home with her child, and explained how his wife had quit working and stayed home with their child. Plaintiff explained to him that she was in favor of a mother remaining at home with her baby, but that her financial circumstances did not afford her that luxury; she told defendant Eiring that she had to work in order to care for her child.

Due to complications with the pregnancy, Quaratino left her employment on September 18, 1991, about ten days earlier than planned. On October 18, 1991 her baby was born. During her leave, Quaratino communicated on a regular basis with her employer. Defendants allege that while plaintiff was out, the operations department to which she reported underwent a reorganization due to the relocation of the sales force and the moving of inventory to Madison Avenue. The sales department was closely connected with the operations department, which provided it with both operational and logistical support.

Defendants assert the restructuring eliminated three manager positions in plaintiff's department: plaintiff's manager position was eliminated and her responsibilities plus other inventory functions were combined to create a new, higher level managerial job. Manager positions held by Donald Salvato and Shelley Rajman were also allegedly eliminated. Quaratino declares, to the contrary, that her employer did not eliminate three department managers; that is, Salvato, was not a manager but a supervisor who remained at Tiffany. Nor was Rajman's job eliminated. Rajman testified her position was demoted from manager to supervisor. Thus, facts regarding how the reorganization was accomplished are in dispute, particularly whether Ms. Quaratino was the only person terminated since both Salvato and Rajman remained employed at Tiffany.

In January 1992 Quaratino contacted the human resources department to advise that she would be returning to work at the end of the month. She asked where to report as she had heard that Mary Anne Jackson was using her office. She was told to speak with the director of human resources, who in turn told her to speak with defendant Eiring. But he never returned her calls. Instead, on January 30, 1992, plaintiff was notified by mail that she had been discharged.

Only after Wright's deposition did plaintiff learn that he had interviewed Mary Anne Jackson--a single woman without children--at about the time he learned plaintiff was pregnant and before she had gone...

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400 practice notes
  • Bradley v. Laclair, No. 07-CV-6445L.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court of Western District of New York
    • February 25, 2009
    ...of the amendment, futility of amendment" as valid reasons for denying leave to amend)); accord, e.g., Quaratino v. Tiffany & Co., 71 F.3d 58, 66 (2d Cir.1995); Weeks v. New York State Div. of Parole, 273 F.3d 76, 88 (2d Cir.2001); Marchi v. Board of Coop. Educ. Servs. of Albany, 17......
  • Commodari v. Long Island University, Civil Action No. CV-99-2581 (DGT).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • March 31, 2000
    ...by someone outside his protected group, see Kerzer v. Kingly Mfrg., 156 F.3d 396, 401 (2d Cir.1998); Quaratino v. Tiffany & Co., 71 F.3d 58, 64 (2d Cir.1995). Thus, the requirements for establishing a prima face case are "minimal." St. Mary's Honor Ctr. v. Hicks, 509 U.S. 502,......
  • Lacoparra v. Pergament Home Centers, Inc., No. 95 Civ. 8568(WCC).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • October 10, 1997
    ...Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 802 & n. 13, 93 S.Ct. 1817, 1824, 36 L.Ed.2d 668 (1973); Quaratino v. Tiffany & Co., 71 F.3d 58, 64 (2d Cir.1995).10 Establishment of a prima facie case creates an initial presumption of unlawful discrimination. Burdine, 450 U.S. at 254, 101 S.C......
  • Morris v. Northrop Grumman Corp., No. CV 95-3335 ADS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • February 17, 1999
    ...and draw all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion. See Quaratino v. Tiffany & Co., 71 F.3d 58 (2d Cir.1995); Twin Laboratories, Inc. v. Weider Health & Fitness, 900 F.2d 566, 568 (2d Cir.1990); Knight v. U.S. Fire Ins. Co., 804 F.2d 9, 1......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
400 cases
  • Bradley v. Laclair, No. 07-CV-6445L.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court of Western District of New York
    • February 25, 2009
    ...of the amendment, futility of amendment" as valid reasons for denying leave to amend)); accord, e.g., Quaratino v. Tiffany & Co., 71 F.3d 58, 66 (2d Cir.1995); Weeks v. New York State Div. of Parole, 273 F.3d 76, 88 (2d Cir.2001); Marchi v. Board of Coop. Educ. Servs. of Albany, 17......
  • Commodari v. Long Island University, Civil Action No. CV-99-2581 (DGT).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • March 31, 2000
    ...by someone outside his protected group, see Kerzer v. Kingly Mfrg., 156 F.3d 396, 401 (2d Cir.1998); Quaratino v. Tiffany & Co., 71 F.3d 58, 64 (2d Cir.1995). Thus, the requirements for establishing a prima face case are "minimal." St. Mary's Honor Ctr. v. Hicks, 509 U.S. 502,......
  • Lacoparra v. Pergament Home Centers, Inc., No. 95 Civ. 8568(WCC).
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. Southern District of New York
    • October 10, 1997
    ...Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 802 & n. 13, 93 S.Ct. 1817, 1824, 36 L.Ed.2d 668 (1973); Quaratino v. Tiffany & Co., 71 F.3d 58, 64 (2d Cir.1995).10 Establishment of a prima facie case creates an initial presumption of unlawful discrimination. Burdine, 450 U.S. at 254, 101 S.C......
  • Morris v. Northrop Grumman Corp., No. CV 95-3335 ADS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 2nd Circuit. United States District Court (Eastern District of New York)
    • February 17, 1999
    ...and draw all reasonable inferences in the light most favorable to the party opposing the motion. See Quaratino v. Tiffany & Co., 71 F.3d 58 (2d Cir.1995); Twin Laboratories, Inc. v. Weider Health & Fitness, 900 F.2d 566, 568 (2d Cir.1990); Knight v. U.S. Fire Ins. Co., 804 F.2d 9, 1......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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