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DAILEY v. SOCIETE GENERALE

June 20, 1995

ANNE DAILEY, Plaintiff, against SOCIETE GENERALE, Defendant.

JOHN G. KOELTL, United States District Judge


The opinion of the court was delivered by: JOHN G. KOELTL

JOHN G. KOELTL, District Judge:

 The plaintiff, Anne Dailey ("Dailey"), brought this action against her former employer, Societe Generale ("the Bank"), on March 10, 1994. Dailey alleged that the Bank had intentionally discriminated against her by paying her less compensation than it paid male employees for work of substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions. She also alleged that the Bank intentionally retaliated against her by terminating her because of her complaints to people at the Bank about discrimination. Dailey brought her claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. ("Title VII"), the New York State Human Rights Law, Executive Law § 296 et seq. ("Human Rights Law"), and the Administrative Code of the City of New York § 8-101 et seq. ("Administrative Code"). She sought compensatory and punitive damages as well as declaratory and injunctive relief.

 Following a five-day trial, the jury rendered a special verdict for the plaintiff under Title VII and the Human Rights Law, finding that the Bank had intentionally retaliated against the plaintiff for her complaints of discrimination and awarding her $ 300,000 in back pay and $ 100,000 in compensatory damages for pain, suffering, humiliation and mental anguish. The jury also found, under both statutes, that the Bank did not discriminate against the plaintiff. *fn1"

 The parties have made several applications to the Court in connection with the judgment to be entered. The issues related to the judgment include: first, whether the Court is required to make independent findings with respect to back pay under Title VII; second, whether to deduct the unemployment compensation that Dailey has received from the damages award; and third, whether to award prejudgment interest.

 I.

 Societe Generale is a French bank with offices in New York City. Dailey was hired by the Bank in the Fall of 1990 in the position of Vice President in the Financial Institutions Group and Manager of the Correspondent Banking Group. In the discussions preceding her joining the Bank, Dailey asked for a salary of $ 85,000 and the Bank agreed to her request. She did not request a sign-on bonus and she did not receive one. Dailey commenced her employment on November 26, 1990 and remained at the Bank until the beginning of January, 1993.

 From November 26, 1990 to August 20, 1992, Dailey reported to Alan White ("White"), the First Vice President and Manager of the Financial Institutions Group. During her first two years at the Bank, while under the supervision of White, Dailey received two performance appraisals, both ranking her performance as superior. She also received an eight percent salary increase shortly before her one year anniversary at the Bank and she received a discretionary performance bonus of $ 18,900 based on her performance in 1991, both indicating that the plaintiff was performing well.

 White's employment at the Bank was terminated on August 29, 1992 in connection with a transaction known as Amerifund. At that time, Jay Sands ("Sands") replaced White and became Dailey's supervisor. On approximately November 30, 1992, Sands gave Dailey a written performance appraisal rating Dailey's overall performance as falling below expectations.

 At trial, Dailey testified about the discrimination she perceived at the Bank, focusing on the fact that the Bank paid two male vice presidents in the Financial Institutions Group greater compensation for work that she believed required substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility under similar working conditions. Accordingly, there was extensive testimony pertaining to the job responsibilities of the plaintiff and the two male employees, their performance, their educational backgrounds, their training, their employment experience and the circumstances surrounding each of their joining the Bank.

 The plaintiff and the defendant painted radically different pictures of Dailey's performance at the Bank, making credibility a crucial issue at trial. While Dailey testified about what she believed to be her significant contributions to the Bank and her good working relationship with her staff, the defendant presented numerous witnesses to refute Dailey's testimony on all counts. The Bank's witnesses testified not only that the plaintiff's performance was seriously deficient in some respects, but also that the plaintiff had made material misrepresentations to the Bank in connection with her application for employment and that the plaintiff had a relationship with her staff that was difficult, at best. The plaintiff and the defendant also presented totally contradictory versions of the circumstances surrounding the plaintiff's being placed on disciplinary probation in connection with the Amerifund transaction for which White had been terminated.

 With respect to the plaintiff's retaliation claim and the circumstances surrounding the plaintiff's departure from the Bank, the parties, again, presented competing versions of events to the jury. Dailey claimed that on several occasions, she complained to people in senior positions at the Bank, including the Manager of Human Resources, Kevin Hughes ("Hughes"), that there was a gender-based disparity in compensation that resulted in her being paid lower compensation than similarly situated male employees. The Bank's witnesses denied these allegations.

 Dailey testified that following her receipt of the negative evaluation from Sands, she spoke with Hughes regarding her perception that the evaluation was unjustified and her belief that it was the result of sex discrimination. She testified that following the meeting in which she complained, Hughes told her that he had negotiated an arrangement with senior management whereby she would leave the Bank in exchange for six months of salary continuation and outplacement services. Under this arrangement, the plaintiff was to sign a release, giving up her right to take any legal action against the Bank. The plaintiff testified that she had not wanted to leave the Bank, but that she considered the offer and decided that six months of salary continuation would not be sufficient because she would not be able to find another job in that period of time. Hughes then was able to work out an arrangement whereby Dailey's salary would be extended month by month, for an additional six months, provided that the Bank got reports that Dailey was doing her best to find another job.

 According to Dailey, after Hughes communicated this second offer to her, he told her that he would not negotiate with management any further and that, if she did not take the offer, he would pull her out of outplacement and "cut her off at the knees." Dailey testified that Hughes then set her final day at the Bank and told her to report to outplacement. Following approximately two and a half weeks of outplacement, Dailey was told, by the outplacement firm, that she was not ...


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