Fourth Circuit affirms award of summary judgment to defense in employment discrimination case

In Mascone v. American Physical Society, Inc., the Fourth Circuit affirmed the District Court's award of summary judgment to the defendant, and the District Court's denial of the plaintiff's motion for reconsideration.

The Court affirmed summary judgment on the wrongful termination claim, finding that the plaintiff failed to demonstrate that the employer used a forbidden consideration with respect to any employment practice. Further, she failed to show that the employer's proferred reasons for her dismissal were pretextual.

Further, the Court affirmed summary judgment on the plaintiff's pre-termination, gender-based disparate treatment claim. The plaintiff could not establish a prima facie case because she could not show that the other employee in question was similarly situated.

The Court rejected the plaintiff's mixed-motive claim under Title VII, because the plaintiff did not show that the protected trait actually motivated the employer's decision.

Finally, the Court affirmed the award of summary judgment on the plaintiff's retaliation claim. The plaintiff hired a firm to contact the employer pretending to be a potential employer. Plaintiff contended that she was given negative references in retaliation for engaging in protected activity. The Court found that plaintiff could not prove dissemination of false reference information that a prospective employer would view as material to its hiring decision.