A federal appeals court has reinstated a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by a woman after a male colleague was promoted ahead of her.
Berwyn, Pennsylvania-based conglomerate Ametek Inc. hired Amy Brown as head of its finance department in 2008, two years after it hired Robert Virelli as head of financial reporting in the same department, according to Tuesday’s ruling by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia i Amy Brown v. Ametek Inc.
Each was promoted to senior manager in 2011. In 2018, Ametek again promoted Mr Virelli but not Ms Brown.
Brown sued Ametek in US District Court in Philadelphia, alleging gender discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act.
The district court granted Ametek summary judgment dismissing the case and was reversed by a unanimous three-judge appeals court.
Ametek said Virelli assumed “substantial responsibilities beyond the normal scope of his position,” while Brown “relieved assignments and did not take on the special projects necessary for promotion to director,” the ruling said.
“A reasonable trier of fact could find that Ametek’s stated reasons for not promoting Brown … were pretextual,” the ruling said
“First, the contemporaneous record undermines the reasons Ametek’s witnesses offered for her promotion decision. Brown’s immediate supervisor rated her as ‘promotable’ for 2015-2018,” it said.
But in 2017, other higher-ups downgraded her potential from “promotional” to “expandable” just months before Virelli’s promotion without explanation, which “presents a genuine dispute as to whether the stated reasons for the decision not to promote Brown were pretextual,” it said in the judgment when the district court’s decision was vacated and the case was remanded for further proceedings.
Attorneys in the case did not respond to requests for comment.