court that the stated purpose was the actual reason for its
decision." Id. Plaintiff is then required to show that the
employer's proffered reasons are a pretext for discrimination.
A. PRIMA FACIE CASE
A prima facie case of gender discrimination under Title VII
consists of four elements: (1) membership in a protected class;
(2) qualification for the position; (3) an adverse employment
decision or termination; and (4) that the discharge or adverse
decision took place under circumstances giving rise to an
inference of discrimination.*fn2 See Austin, 149 F.3d at 152;
Shumway v. United Parcel Serv., Inc., 118 F.3d 60, 63 (2d Cir.
1997); Luciano v. Olsten Corp., 110 F.3d 210, 215 (2d Cir.
1997); McLee v. Chrysler Corp., 109 F.3d 130, 134 (2d Cir.
1997); Fitzgerald v. Henderson, 36 F. Supp.2d 490, 503 (N.D.N Y
1998); Cleveland v. Int'l Paper Co., 1998 WL 690915, at *3
(N.D.N.Y. 1998); Passonno v. State Univ. of New York at Albany,
889 F. Supp. 602, 606 (N.D.N.Y. 1995); and Harker v. Utica
College of Syracuse Univ., 885 F. Supp. 378, 387 (N.D.N.Y. 1995).
While it is a close question, the court finds that plaintiff
made out a prima facie case. Plaintiff testified that she was
treated differently than her male co-workers, not allowed to
attend a certification test and training courses, targeted for
termination, exposed to hostile attitudes of her male colleagues,
and not given the same support as male co-workers to get jobs
done. Anthony Maiurino, though equivocating, testified that
Meashey was particularly tough on plaintiff, and forced him to
"mentor" plaintiff. Mary Delay broadly accused Meashey of
targeting plaintiff and other females, and testified that Meashey
questioned females to a higher degree. Frank Collis testified
that plaintiff was the focus of much more intense treatment by
Meashey than other employees. He also testified that both he and
plaintiff received identical poor ratings, and were placed on
nearly identical performance improvement plans, though plaintiff
was fired and he was not. While the vast majority of this
evidence failed to show that plaintiff was treated differently
because she was a woman, the evidence, taken together, allowed
plaintiff to narrowly make out a prima facie case. It should be
noted, however, that "[t]he fact that a plaintiff is judged to
have satisfied these minimal requirements is no indication that,
at the end of the case, plaintiff will have enough evidence of
discrimination to support a verdict in h[er] favor." Fisher,
114 F.3d at 1337.
B. ARTICULATION OF LEGITIMATE, NON-DISCRIMINATORY REASON FOR
As the court concludes that plaintiff has established a prima
facie case, the
burden shifted to defendants to articulate a legitimate,
non-discriminatory reason for plaintiff's termination. See
Austin, 149 F.3d at 153; Fisher, 114 F.3d at 1335-36.
Defendants presented evidence that plaintiff was fired because
she either would not, or could not, adjust the level of her
responsibility and performance to the expectations of her new
supervisor after repeated warnings to do so. Poor work
performance is a legal, non-discriminatory reason for terminating
an employee; defendants have therefore met this burden. See
Austin, 149 F.3d at 153; Fisher, 114 F.3d at 1336.
C. PRETEXT FOR DISCRIMINATION
Once defendants offer a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason
for the discharge, plaintiff has the final burden of showing that
the termination occurred because of a discriminatory motive. See
Austin, 149 F.3d at 153; Fisher, 114 F.3d at 1336. Plaintiff
"must put forth adequate evidence to support a rational finding
that the legitimate non-discriminatory reasons proffered by the
employer were false, and that more likely than not the employee's
sex  was the real reason for the discharge." Holt v.
KMI-Continental, Inc., 95 F.3d 123, 129 (2d Cir. 1996), cert.
denied, 520 U.S. 1228, 117 S.Ct. 1819, 137 L.Ed.2d 1027 (1997).
See also Austin, 149 F.3d at 153; Fisher, 114 F.3d at 1339.
Plaintiff failed to meet her burden in this regard. The vast
majority of the evidence put forth by plaintiff demonstrated that
she was treated differently than both her male and female
colleagues. Noticeably lacking from this showing was evidence
demonstrating that plaintiff was treated differently because of
her gender. Rather, the court finds that although Meashey on
many occasions treated plaintiff differently than her co-workers,
he ultimately singled her out for termination because of her
resistance to taking over the leadership or "ownership" role he
was requiring of all employees in her category. Even if
plaintiff's performance was equal to other poor performers,
unlike the other employees, she challenged Meashey's authority
and appraisals on multiple occasions, and refused to accept that
she might have a performance problem. The question is not whether
Meashey's appraisals of plaintiff's performance were correct, or
even fair. "This court does not sit as a super-personnel
department that reexamines an entity's business decisions" in the
absence of discriminatory motivations. Scaria v. Rubin,
117 F.3d 652, 655 (2d Cir. 1997) (quoting Dale v. Chicago Tribune
Co., 797 F.2d 458, 464 (7th Cir. 1986)). Rather, the ultimate
issue before the court is whether Meashey gave plaintiff poor
performance appraisals and ultimately had her terminated because
of her gender.*fn3
There was a complete paucity of evidence in this regard. The
only evidence plaintiff submitted showing she was discriminated
against because of her gender were her own bald assertions, and
those of her coworker, Delay. Both women claimed that Meashey
treated females and plaintiff differently than other male
employees. Both in their direct and cross examinations, however,
neither witness was able to specify how women were treated
differently. As Delay herself admitted, she had no performance
problems with Meashey. This admission casts significant doubt on
her adamance that women were treated differently by Meashey. The
fact that Delay and other women who worked for Meashey were not
given poor performance reviews or fired is solid evidence that
plaintiff was ultimately terminated for
reasons other than her gender. In fact, there was ample evidence
that Meashey was acting in a non-discriminatory manner when he
sought out and procured a replacement for plaintiff by a female,
and when he retained all of plaintiff's female co-workers — and
plaintiff — upon assuming his new position as head of EHS.
Consequently, the court finds that plaintiff failed to meet her
burden of showing that her treatment and discharge were the
result of a discriminatory motive. As such, her Title VII claim
This is not to say the court does not sympathize with
plaintiff. Various witnesses testified that Meashey was a
difficult supervisor to work for, and ultimately, the evidence
revealed that a great number of plaintiff's male co-workers
resigned, rather than continuing to work under Meashey's harsh
and aggressive supervision, and face possible termination. It may
very well be that plaintiff was subjected by Meashey to worse
behavior than her co-workers, but subjecting her to such
questionable treatment was not, in and of itself, a violation of
federal law, without a showing that this behavior was motivated
by an impermissible animus, such as gender.
Having failed to prove that the legitimate, non-discriminatory
reason set forth by defendants was a pretext for sexual
discrimination and discharge, the court determines that plaintiff
has not prevailed in this matter. Accordingly, the court
dismisses plaintiff's action, and instructs the Clerk of the
Court to enter judgment in accordance herewith.
IT IS SO ORDERED.