Judge Grants Trial for Former Glass Company Employee
U. S. District Judge Leo Glasser of the Eastern District of New York has granted in part and denied in part a glass company’s motion for summary judgment in a case brought forth by a former employee alleging that the company created a hostile work environment, wrongfully terminated him and retaliated over his sexual orientation.
Christopher Rosalie alleged that, while working as a purchaser at Supreme Glass Co. in Queens, New York, from November 2014 to June 2017, he was harassed and, eventually, wrongfully terminated due to identifying as gay and gender non-conforming.
Judge Glasser granted Supreme’s motion for summary judgment as to Rosalie’s retaliation claims but denied them as to his hostile work environment and wrongful termination claims. A jury will hear the case in regard to the latter two claims.
Judge Glasser wrote that while Supreme claims the alleged harassment did not occur because of Rosalie’s sexual orientation or gender, a reasonable jury could infer that he was subject to a hostile work environment because of his sexual orientation and gender. Thus, he denied Supreme’s motion for summary judgment in relation to this matter.
In regard to the wrongful termination claim, Judge Glasser wrote that because there is evidence suggesting that Supreme created “after-the-fact explanations” of why Rosalie was fi red, a jury could infer pretext, where an employer presented a new basis for termination after litigation began.
Judge Glasser granted Supreme’s motion for summary judgment in regard to Rosalie’s retaliation claim, citing that because Rosalie’s April 2017 complaint to Supreme Glass Co. president Mark Eschelbacher did not signal that Rosalie was complaining of discrimination, Eschelbacher should not have interpreted as much.
“The onus is on the speaker to clarify to the employer that he is complaining of unfair treatment due to his membership in a protected class and that he is not complaining merely of unfair treatment generally,” reads the order.
While a jury trial could occur, both parties have agreed to a settlement conference before a judge, which could resolve the dispute.
Supreme Glass Co. had not responded to USGlass magazine’s request for comment as of press time.
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