had all approved a promotion for her which Halbrook herself had
described as "a huge move. They were making me an officer. They
sent me letters congratulating me and I considered it a big
step." Tr. 432.
Moreover, in October 1984, after the seminar and less than two
months before the birth of her child, Dixon and Powell both
signed a "1984 Career Development" form describing Halbrook as
"ready in 1-2 years for increased responsibilities" giving every
indication that they expected her to return to a successful
career at Reichhold. PX 8. She also received her 1984 annual
review in October, which was signed by both Powell and Dixon and
was complimentary of her. DX D.
In addition, Halbrook's own testimony makes Dixon's concerns
appear quite reasonable. At the same time that Dixon was asking
Halbrook whether she would return from maternity leave, Halbrook
was speaking frequently with Rosalie Lawlor, an associate general
counsel who was already out on maternity leave, and was actively
encouraging her to return to work. Tr. 591. Halbrook called
Lawlor, visited her in the city, brought her work and offered
advice on how to obtain child care. Tr. 593-94. Halbrook noted
that Dixon too was concerned about Lawlor coming back, and
admitted that she saw nothing inappropriate about his concern.
Tr. 594-95. When Lawlor eventually decided not to return to
Reichhold from her leave, Halbrook was disappointed, and told
Lawlor so. Tr. 592. Halbrook did not feel that any of her actions
with respect to Lawlor were offensive. Tr. 592-95. Nor did she
find the "headhunter" Ruth Miles's question about her intent to
return from a maternity leave she took in 1980 to be offensive.
Tr. 591. As Halbrook conceded, such information is "absolutely" a
legitimate interest of a placement person or employer. Id.
We find Dixon's concern about Halbrook's return from maternity
leave not only wholly benign, in the context of a claim of
illegal discriminatory intent, but a positive indication of the
professional regard in which Reichhold held Halbrook. Indeed,
this is further evidence that Dixon and Reichhold did not wish to
be rid of an employee who, according to Halbrook, needed to be
threatened and gagged at the seminar.
c. Pogue's statements
Halbrook also cites statements she attributes to Pogue. In
1984, when she was seeking a place on one of the company's
management committees, she was, according to her testimony,
"belittled" by Pogue, Tr. 453, and told that she was experiencing
"some kind of a syndrome about failure of success that women were
having . . . and he referred me to a book . . . about women
fearing success, failure based on fear of success." Tr. 454.
Halbrook asserted that this reference arose in the context of
Pogue's comment about a former female superior of his at a
different company. Tr. 453-54.
Pogue emphatically denied that he had ever belittled,
reproached or reprimanded her, Tr. 884, and, indeed, Halbrook
conceded that such conduct as she described was totally out of
character with the manner in which he treated her during the five
years they worked together. Tr. 674. Pogue, who was a credible
and convincing witness, stated that he did have a female superior
at Diamond Shamrock, but that he "absolutely [did] not" discuss
her with Halbrook. He also denied talking with Halbrook about
fear of success in connection with this superior, as this
superior had none, was then very successful, and still is so. Tr.
We do not find in the evidence of this isolated and almost
fragmentary exchange, which occurred more than three years prior
to the promotion of Lorelli, any evidence of a discriminatory
motive on the part of Reichhold.
d. statistical evidence
The statistical evidence put forth by the plaintiff is
manifestly inadequate to demonstrate pretext and need not be
discussed at length. Halbrook produced no comparative statistics
showing the incidence of women at companies in the petrochemical,
inorganic chemical, industrial chemical or related industries.
Halbrook's numbers, they are not statistics in the formal
sense, showing that she was the only woman in the top echelon at
Reichhold, and that only 15% of "managers and officials" at
Reichhold are women, prove nothing.
Having examined Halbrook's proffered evidence in support of her
charge that Reichhold's decision to promote Lorelli was motivated
by a gender bias, we find the evidence insufficient and
unconvincing. Thus, we conclude that Halbrook has failed to
demonstrate that the legitimate business reasons given by
Reichhold for the choice of Loreili are pretextual.
In the face of this record, we simply cannot find that the
reasons proffered by Reichhold as the basis for Lorelli's
selection as General Counsel are pretextual or unworthy of
credence. Nor can we conclude that Reichhold had a discriminatory
motive for promoting Lorelli instead of Halbrook.
Accordingly, the Clerk of the Court is directed to enter
judgement in favor of the defendant, and the complaint is
dismissed. No costs or attorneys fees to the defendant.