Lewis Rice Attorneys Win Summary Judgment for Graybar in Gender Suit Alleging Discrimination Based upon Alleged Enforcement of “Traditional Notions of Civility”

A United States District Judge for the District of Massachusetts recently entered judgment in favor of Graybar Electric Company, Inc. in a gender discrimination lawsuit filed by Michael Granger. Mr. Granger asserted gender discrimination claims under the Massachusetts Anti-Discrimination Law against Graybar, his former employer. He alleged that his termination from employment was motivated by a genderized and paternalistic desire to protect a female co-worker and was, therefore, unlawful. Mr. Granger pointed out that his female co-worker was not terminated for her involvement in an argument Mr. Granger initiated with her. He also contended that, if the argument had been between two men, instead of between a man and a woman, he would not have been disciplined and ultimately terminated. The Court rejected these arguments, and noted:

Granger contends that “[i]n this case, the record suggests that Graybar was enforcing traditional notions of civility which more easily tolerate a man yelling profanities at another man or a woman making threats against a man than they do a man yelling profanity at a woman.” *** I disagree. The record suggests that this was a case of an out of control, angry employee who acted in a highly inappropriate and unprofessional manner toward a co-worker and was terminated for that conduct.

Lewis Rice attorneys Neal F. Perryman and Sarah E. Mullen successfully represented Graybar; Neal argued the summary judgment motion in the District Court. The case is reported at Granger v. Graybar Electric Company, Inc., 335 F. Supp. 3d 188 (D. Mass. 2018).