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Garcia v. Barclays Capital, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. New York

November 15, 2017

MARIA GARCIA, Plaintiff,
BARCLAYS CAPITAL, INC., et al., Defendants

          Anne L. Clark Vladeck, Raskin & Clark, P.C. New York, New York Counsel for Plaintiff.

          Patrick W. Shea Emily R. Pidot Paul Hastings LLP New York, New York Counsel for Defendants.



         Plaintiff Maria Garcia (“Plaintiff” or “Garcia”) brings this employment discrimination action against Defendants Barclays Capital, Inc. and Barclays Bank PLC (together, “Barclays” or “Defendants”). Plaintiff asserts claims of unlawful employment discrimination in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. (“Title VII”), the New York State Human Rights Law, N.Y. Exec. Law § 290e et seq. (“NYSHRL”), the New York City Human Rights Law, N.Y. City Admin. Code §§ 8-101 et seq. (“NYCHRL”), and Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Act of 1866, 42 U.S.C. § 1981 (“Section 1981”). Plaintiff also asserts claims under the Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d) (“EPA”) and the New York State Labor Law § 194 (“NYLL”) related to Defendants' alleged failure to pay their male and female employees equal wages. Before me is Defendants' motion for summary judgment on all Plaintiffs claims. Because there is no genuine dispute of material fact relating to Plaintiffs employment discrimination claims and because Plaintiff has failed to demonstrate that her race or sex was a motivating factor in the adverse employment acts, Defendants' motion for summary judgment is GRANTED with respect to Plaintiffs causes of action under Title VII, NYSHRL, and Section 1981. Because there is no genuine dispute of material fact relating to Plaintiffs unequal pay claims and because Barclays has proven its affirmative defense that it relied on factors other than sex in determining compensation, Defendants' motion for summary judgment is GRANTED with respect to Plaintiffs causes of action under the EPA and NYLL. In light of the fact that Plaintiffs federal claims are dismissed, I decline to exercise supplemental jurisdiction with respect to Plaintiffs cause of action under the NYCHRL, and thus those claims are dismissed without prejudice to them being asserted in state court.

         I. Background

         A. Barclays Hires Garcia

         Garcia is a Latina woman, and was born and raised on Long Island, New York to a Dominican father and an El Salvadoran mother. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶¶ 40, 60.)[1] In August 1997, Garcia began her employment at Lehman Brothers (“Lehman”), an international investment bank, as a sales assistant on Lehman's Emerging Markets (“EM”) Sales desk. (Id. ¶¶ 41, 43.) Between 1997 and 2006, Lehman promoted Garcia three times: to Junior Salesperson in 1999; to Vice President in 2001; and to Director in 2006. (Id. ¶¶ 44, 45, 47.) During her final six years at Lehman, Garcia reported to Robert Koch, a managing director and the head of New York EM Sales. (Id. ¶ 50.)

         Lehman's holding company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on September 15, 2008, and Barclays, an international investment bank, acquired portions of Lehman's business, including Lehman's EM Sales group. (See Id. ¶ 42; The New York Times, (last visited Oct. 2, 2017).) In connection with Barclays's acquisition of Lehman's EM Sales group, Andrew Gold, a managing director at Barclays and the head of Barclays' New York EM Sales, interviewed Garcia for a position at Barclays and offered Garcia a position in EM Sales on the Nobramex[2] team at Barclays. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶¶ 1, 54.) In addition to Garcia, Barclays hired Koch to work as a salesperson on the U.S. EM Sales team; Koch reported to Gold from the time he joined Barclays in 2008 until Gold's departure in 2014. (Id. ¶ 55; Koch Decl. ¶ 1.)[3] In August or September 2009, Koch became the head of the U.S. EM Sales team, and Gold remained his direct manager. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 55.)

         In March 2009, Gold promoted Garcia to head of the Nobramex team, on a probationary basis. (Id. ¶¶ 4, 80.) In May 2009, Gold made the promotion permanent. (Id. ¶ 87.) In the summer of 2009, Gold nominated Garcia for Barclays' Woman of the Year Award; in support of his nomination of Garcia, Gold wrote that Garcia was “an outstanding leader and she continues to maintain an unwavering focus on her clients and her colleagues.” (Id. ¶ 6.) In response to being nominated, Garcia wrote to Gold, thanking him “so very much.” (Id.) Garcia was selected as one of fourteen finalists out of 411 nominees for the Woman of the Year Award. (Id. ¶ 7.)

         Gold rated Garcia's performance “A (mid)” in his 2009 mid-year evaluation of Garcia. (Id. ¶ 90.) In addition, Gold wrote that Garcia “has done extremely well taking over the Nobramex team . . . . She stepped up and has proven that she is an efficient manager as well as producer. She is looked up to by others on the desk and is viewed as extremely reliable . . . . I believe Maria is one of the most important resources on the desk . . . ” (Id.) In reviewing Garcia's work to set her compensation for 2009, Gold determined that Garcia had a good year in 2009, and that she was “off to a good start.” (Id. ¶ 97.) In his 2009 year-end review, Gold rated Garcia's performance “A (high), ” the highest possible rating. (Id. ¶¶ 97, 163.)

         B. Gold Reassigns Garcia's U.S. Accounts

         During her tenure at Lehman, the majority of Garcia's “accounts were with US-based clients.” (Garcia Decl. ¶ 4.)[4] When Garcia joined Barclays she continued to cover certain U.S. accounts that she had covered while at Lehman, but she did not continue to cover all of the accounts that she had when she was at Lehman. (Id. ¶¶ 6, 8, 9, 14.) For example, Garcia covered JP Morgan at Lehman, but never covered JP Morgan while at Barclays. (Id. ¶ 8.) In January 2010, Gold reassigned the hedge fund accounts Garcia had been covering to salespeople in U.S. EM Sales who worked under Koch. (Id. .; Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 99; Koch Decl. ¶¶ 2, 3.) Gold stated that the decision to reassign the U.S. accounts was based on the preference for keeping U.S. production and Nobramex production separate from one another. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 99.) Gold returned certain of these U.S. accounts to Garcia in or around January 2011, including Discovery, Fortress, QVT, and Traxis Partners. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶¶ 18, 25; Garcia Decl. ¶ 32.)

         C. Gold Nominates Garcia for Promotion to Managing Director

         In March 2010, Gold nominated Garcia for promotion to managing director. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 108.) Gold wrote that he nominated Garcia in 2010 because “he thought she was off to a great start in running Nobramex, she had made a lot of progress, and she deserved the nomination.” (Id.) Garcia was the only candidate Gold nominated for promotion to managing director in 2010, (id. ¶ 13), and was the only non-white nominee from EM Sales that year, (id ¶ 109). Garcia's candidacy advanced to the final round of the process; however, Garcia was not selected for promotion to managing director. (Id. ¶ 111.)

         The Global Partnership Committee (the “GPC”) was a group of senior Barclays managers who reviewed candidates for managing director, and at the time was composed of two women and only one non-white member, a non-Latino man. (Id. ¶ 119.) The GPC decided not to promote Garcia in 2010 because it concluded “she did not have enough production exclusively under her name” and she had “not yet had time to develop a revenue track record of performance against budget and she has not been able to prove her people management capabilities.” (Shea Aff Ex. 26; see Defs.' 56.1 ¶¶ 111, 119.)[5] When Gold told Garcia the GPC did not select her for promotion, he told her that he did not want a “pity party” from her, and no more “Mama Maria.” (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 115.)

         Gold again nominated Garcia for promotion to managing director in 2011; however, Garcia removed herself from consideration. (Id. ¶ 26.) Garcia spoke with a Barclays human resources representative and they agreed that Garcia should focus on getting her compensation higher in 2011 and then turn her attention to a higher corporate title. (Id.)

         In 2012, Gold placed Garcia on his preliminary “long list” of candidates for managing director, but he ultimately did not advance her for promotion “because she had not improved her production or performance, and he thought it was unlikely the committee would promote her.” (Id. ¶ 31.)

         D. Barclays Undergoes a Series of Reductions in Force

         In January 2011, Barclays underwent a reduction in force (“RIF”). (Id. ¶¶ 22, 165.) In connection with the 2011 RIF, Gold was required to select three roles in EM Sales for redundancy and layoff. (Id. ¶ 22.) Gold consulted Pamela Sinclair in Barclays' human resources department regarding whether to include Garcia in the 2011 RIF. (Gold Decl. ¶ 2.)[6] Sinclair worked in Barclays' human resources department from 1996 until 2013, and between 2005 and 2013 she was a Director in that department. (Sinclair Decl. ¶ 1.)[7] Sinclair supported the Markets division which included EM Sales where Gold and Garcia worked. (Id. ¶ 2.) Sinclair urged Gold to include Garcia in the 2011 RIF, (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 23), because in her opinion Garcia was not performing well, did not demonstrate potential for long-term success, and her belief that Garcia's role was not needed, (Sinclair Decl. ¶ 3).[8] Gold did not adopt Sinclair's recommendation to select Garcia's role for redundancy and did not include Garcia in the 2011 RIF. (Id. ¶ 3; Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 24.) Instead Gold presented Garcia with three options: (1) volunteer for the RIF and take a severance package; (2) transfer to the U.S. EM Sales team or look for other opportunities within Barclays; or (3) stay in her current role and improve her production and performance. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 24.) After considering these options, Garcia decided to remain in her role as head of the Nobramex team in EM Sales. (Id. ¶ 25.) In addition, Gold assigned Garcia some U.S. accounts to help her increase her production; the U.S. accounts that Gold assigned to Garcia included certain of the accounts Garcia had covered while she was at Lehman that had been reassigned to others in 2010, including Discovery, Fortress, QVT, and Traxis Partners. (Id. ¶¶ 18, 25.)

         Barclays underwent another RIF in February 2013. (Id. ¶ 32.) Gold selected Garcia's position for redundancy and included her in the 2013 RIF. (Id.) Gold stated that he based this decision on Garcia's low performance, low production, and his belief that her position was not necessary going forward. (Id.; Gold Decl. ¶ 5.) Garcia's position was not re-filled. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 34.) After Garcia's employment was terminated as part of the 2013 RIF, Gold assigned management of the Nobramex team to David Huerta, who was then the head of the Mexico EM Sales. (Id; Gold Decl. ¶ 5.) Huerta was also given management of Brazil. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 32.)

         In 2014, Barclays underwent another RIF; Gold's position was selected for redundancy and he was included in the 2014 RIF. (Gold Decl. ¶ 1.) As a result, Gold is no longer employed by Barclays. (Id.) As of May 2015, Koch-who continued to report to Gold until Gold's departure from Barclays-remains employed by Barclays as head of the U.S. EM Sales team. (Koch Decl. ¶ 1.)

         E. Barclays' Total Compensation Program and Garcia's Compensation

         Barclays compensates its employees based on a total compensation program consisting of base fixed pay, discretionary incentive awards, and benefits. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 37.) Discretionary incentive awards are determined at Barclays' sole discretion and are not guaranteed. (Id.) Barclays rewards eligible employees based on the following factors: individual and team performance, meeting or exceeding established goals, market competitiveness, and the overall success of each business, including Barclays' overall performance. (Id.) Specifically, with respect to the total compensation program, the Barclays employee handbook states:

Barclays goal is to offer a total compensation program that is competitive in its market and supportive of the business strategies in order to attract, retain, and motivate talented employees. Barclays pays for individual performance within the context of factors such as job position, business results, including the overall performance of the firm, and geography. Barclays compensation is designed to support these goals by ensuring that employees receive fair, equitable and competitive pay for the job that they perform.

(Shea Aff. Exs. 16-20.)

         Pursuant to the terms of her offer letter, (Shea Aff. Ex. 5), Garcia was paid $700, 000 in total compensation for her work in 2008. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 3.) This compensation consisted of a $200, 000 annual salary and $500, 000 in cash and stock incentive payments. (Id.) Garcia's 2008 bonus was guaranteed from Lehman. (Id.) For the 2009 performance year, Barclays paid Garcia $1, 000, 000 in total compensation, which was comprised of $200, 000 in salary, $35, 000 in a one-off payment, and $765, 000 in discretionary incentive awards. (Id. ¶ 10.) For the 2010 performance year, Barclays paid Garcia $605, 000 in total compensation, which was comprised of $200, 000 in salary, $85, 000 in fixed payments, and $320, 000 in discretionary incentive awards. (Id. ¶ 20.) For the 2011 performance year, Barclays paid Garcia $720, 000 in total compensation, which was comprised of $200, 000 in salary, $85, 000 in fixed payments, and $435, 000 in discretionary incentive awards. (Id. ¶ 29.) For the 2012 performance year, Barclays paid Garcia $285, 000 in total compensation, which was comprised of $200, 000 in salary and $85, 000 in fixed payments. (Id. ¶ 35.)[9]

         Garcia's total production in 2009 was $10, 102, 134. (Id. ¶ 8.) Garcia's total production in 2010 was $3, 603, 858. (Id. ¶ 16.) In light of the 64% decrease in Garcia's production from 2009 to 2010, Gold instructed Garcia to focus on her personal and the Nobramex team production, and set a goal of $20 million for Garcia's total personal production in 2011. (Id. ¶ 18.) Garcia's total personal production in 2011 was $8, 669, 090. (Id. ¶ 27.)[10] Garcia's total production in 2012 was $3, 799, 215. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 33.)[11] According to Garcia, Gold had a narrow focus on individual production in determining discretionary incentive awards for the employees he managed. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶ 117.) Garcia understood this and asked Gold, on several occasions, to help her reconfigure or reallocate the sales production revenue for the Nobramex desk so that the production totals more accurately reflected her contribution. (Id. ¶ 116.)

         IL Procedural History

         Plaintiff commenced this action by filing her Complaint on July 30, 2013. (Doc. 1.) Plaintiff filed her Amended Complaint on November 18. (Doc. 12.)

         Defendants filed their motion for summary judgment on May 19, 2015, (Doc. 57), along with Defendants' Local Civil Rule 56.1 Statement, (Doc. 58), a memorandum of law in support of the motion, (Doc. 59), the affirmation of Patrick W. Shea with exhibits, (Doc. 60), and declarations of Andrew Gold, Robert Koch, and Pamela Sinclair, (Docs. 61, 62, 63). On July 21, 2015, Garcia filed Plaintiffs memorandum of law in opposition to Defendants' motion for summary judgment, (Doc. 73), Plaintiffs Local Civil Rule 56.1 Statement, (Doc. 70), the declaration of Anne L. Clark with exhibits, (Doc. 72), and the declaration of Maria Garcia, (Doc. 71).[12] On July 23, 2015, Defendants filed their reply memorandum of law in further support of the motion for summary judgment, (Doc. 78), the affirmation of Patrick W. Shea with exhibits, (Doc. 79), and the declaration of Robert Koch with exhibit, (Doc. 80), at which point the motion was fully submitted.[13]

         III. Legal Standard

         Summary judgment is appropriate when “the parties' submissions show that there is no genuine issue as to any material fact and the moving party is entitled to judgment as a matter of law.” Fay v. Oxford Health Plan, 287 F.3d 96, 103 (2d Cir. 2002); see Fed. R. Civ. P. 56(a). “[T]he dispute about a material fact is ‘genuine[]' . . . if the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). A fact is “material” if it “might affect the outcome of the suit under the governing law, ” and “[f]actual disputes that are irrelevant or unnecessary will not be counted.” Id.

         On a motion for summary judgment, the moving party bears the initial burden of establishing that no genuine factual dispute exists, and, if satisfied, the burden shifts to the nonmoving party to “set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial, ” id. at 256, and to present such evidence that would allow a jury to find in his favor, see Graham v. Long Island R.R., 230 F.3d 34, 38 (2d Cir. 2000). To defeat a summary judgment motion, the nonmoving party “must do more than simply show that there is some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.” Matsushita Elec. Indus. Co. v. Zenith Radio Corp., 475 U.S. 574, 586 (1986). “A party asserting that a fact cannot be or is genuinely disputed must support the assertion by . . . citing to particular parts of materials in the record, including depositions, documents, electronically stored information, affidavits or declarations, stipulations (including those made for purposes of the motion only), admissions, interrogatory answers, or other materials . . . .” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(c)(1). In the event that “a party fails . . . to properly address another party's assertion of fact as required by Rule 56(c), the court may, ” among other things, “consider the fact undisputed for purposes of the motion” or “grant summary judgment if the motion and supporting materials-including the facts considered undisputed-show that the movant is entitled to it.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(e)(2), (3).

         Additionally, in considering a summary judgment motion, a court must “view the evidence in the light most favorable to the non-moving party and draw all reasonable inferences in its favor, and may grant summary judgment only when no reasonable trier of fact could find in favor of the nonmoving party.” Allen v. Coughlin, 64 F.3d 77, 79 (2d Cir. 1995) (internal citations and quotation marks omitted); see also Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 587. “[I]f there is any evidence in the record that could reasonably support a jury's verdict for the non-moving party, ” summary judgment must be denied. Marvel Characters, Inc. v. Simon, 310 F.3d 280, 286 (2d Cir. 2002).

         The Second Circuit “has repeatedly emphasized the need for caution about granting summary judgment to an employer in a discrimination case where . . . the merits turn on a dispute as to the employer's intent.” Gorzynski v. JetBlue Airways Corp., 596 F.3d 93, 101 (2d Cir. 2010) (internal quotation marks omitted). This is “[b]ecause direct evidence of [an employer's] discriminatory intent is rare and such intent often must be inferred from circumstantial evidence.” Holtz v. Rockefeller & Co., 258 F.3d 62, 69 (2d Cir. 2001). “Even in the discrimination context, however, a plaintiff must provide more than conclusory allegations to resist a motion for summary judgment, and show more than ‘some metaphysical doubt as to the material facts.'” Gorzynski, 596 F.3d at 101 (quoting Matsushita, 475 U.S. at 586) (internal citation omitted). The ultimate inquiry is “whether the evidence can reasonably support a verdict in plaintiffs favor.” James v. N.Y. Racing Ass'n, 233 F.3d 149, 157 (2d Cir. 2000).

         IV. Discussion

         A. Discrimination Claims Under Title VII, Section 1981, and NYSHRL

         Employment discrimination claims under Title VII, Section 1981, and NYSHRL are analyzed using the familiar three-step burden-shifting framework set forth by the Supreme Court in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973). See, e.g., Brown v. City of Syracuse, 673 F.3d 141, 150 (2d Cir. 2012). At the first step of the McDonnell Douglas analysis, a plaintiff must present evidence supporting a prima facie case of discrimination. McDonnell Douglas Corp., 411 U.S. at 802. To meet this burden, a plaintiff must show that: (i) she belongs to a protected class; (ii) she was qualified for the position at issue; (iii) she suffered an adverse employment action; and (iv) the action occurred under circumstances giving rise to an inference of discriminatory intent. See id; Holcomb v. Iona Coll., 521 F.3d 130, 138 (2d Cir. 2008). The Second Circuit has emphasized that the “burden of establishing a prima facie case is de minimis” Abdu-Brisson v. Delta Air Lines, Inc., 239 F.3d 456, 467 (2d Cir. 2001) (collecting cases).

         If a plaintiff successfully presents a prima facie case of discrimination, the burden shifts to the defendant to proffer legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for the adverse employment action. Id. at 466, 468-69. The defendant's burden at this stage is also “light.” Greenway v. Buffalo Hilton Hotel, 143 F.3d 47, 52 (2d Cir. 1998). It “is one of production, not persuasion; it ‘can involve no credibility assessment.'” Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Prods., Inc., 530 U.S. 133, 142 (2000) (quoting St. Mary's Honor Ctr. v. Hicks, 509 U.S. 502, 509 (1993) (“Hicks”)).

         At the third step of the McDonnell Douglas framework, the burden shifts back to the plaintiff to demonstrate, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the proffered reason is a pretext for discrimination. See United States v. City of N.Y., 717 F.3d 72, 102 (2d Cir. 2013); Holcomb, 521 F.3d at 141. However, a “plaintiff is not required to show that the employer's proffered reasons were false or played no role in the employment decision, but only that they were not the only reasons and that the prohibited factor was at least one of the ‘motivating' factors.” Holcomb, 521 F.3d at 138 (quoting Cronin v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 46 F.3d 196, 203 (2d Cir. 1995)); see Henry v. Wyeth Pharm., Inc., 616 F.3d 134, 156 (2d Cir. 2010) (noting that “a plaintiff need only show that the defendant was in fact motivated at least in part by the prohibited discriminatory animus”). In other words, to defeat summary judgment, “the plaintiff's admissible evidence must show circumstances that would be sufficient to permit a rational finder of fact to infer that the defendant's employment decision was more likely than not based in whole or in part on discrimination.” Stern v. Trs. of Columbia Univ., 131 F.3d 305, 312 (2d Cir. 1997); see Weinstock v. Columbia Univ., 224 F.3d 33, 42 (2d Cir. 2000), cert. denied, 540 U.S. 811 (2003) (“[T]he question [on summary judgment is] . . . whether the evidence, taken as a whole, supports a sufficient rational inference of discrimination. To get to the jury, it is not enough to disbelieve the employer; the factfinder must also believe the plaintiff's explanation of intentional discrimination.” (internal quotation marks omitted)); Schnabel v. Abramson, 232 F.3d 83, 90-91 (2d Cir. 2000) (holding summary judgment in favor of defendant was appropriate where plaintiff failed to present evidence upon which a reasonable jury could conclude that age was a “determinative factor” in adverse employment action). “Though the plaintiff's ultimate burden may be carried by the presentation of additional evidence showing that ‘the employer's proffered explanation is unworthy of credence, ' it may often be carried by reliance on the evidence comprising the prima facie case, without more.” Cronin v. Aetna Life Inc. Co., 46 F.3d 196, 203 (2d Cir. 1995) (quoting Tex. Dep't of Cmty. Affairs v. Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 256 (1981)); see Back v. Hastings on Hudson Union Free Sch. Dist., 365 F.3d 107, 124 (2d Cir. 2004) (noting that in support of her claim of sex discrimination “plaintiff may, depending on how strong it is, rely upon the same evidence that comprised her prima facie case, without more”).

         1. Prima Facie Case

         It is undisputed that Garcia is a Latina woman and was qualified for the positions she held at Barclays. (Defs.' 56.1 ¶¶ 40, 43.) Therefore, Garcia satisfies the first and second elements of her prima facie claim. With respect to the third element, it is undisputed that Garcia experienced the following adverse employment acts: (i) failure to promote to managing director; (ii) low discretionary incentive awards; (iii) reassignment of her U.S. accounts; and (iv) selection for redundancy in the 2013 RIF. The parties dispute, however, whether Garcia has demonstrated her prima facie claim with respect to the fourth element-that these adverse employment acts occurred under circumstances giving rise to an inference of discrimination. Garcia argues that numerous comments allegedly made by Gold during her tenure at Barclays give rise to an inference of ...

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