The U.S. District Court of Maine has denied a motion filed by national employment defense firm Littler Mendelson in which Littler attempted to persuade the court to make it more difficult for workers to bring discrimination lawsuits. The case involves allegations that Modula, Inc. discriminated against the Maine Employee Rights Group’s (MERG) client on the basis of her sex and age and also that it retaliated against her for opposing the company’s discrimination. Littler argued that the Court should dismiss the sex and age discrimination claims because the allegations in the Complaint were not sufficient to state a claim for relief on those claims.
The court rejected Littler’s argument and ruled that the Complaint alleged sufficient facts to state a claim for relief. The court clarified that when a Complaint alleges facts sufficient to state a “prima facie case” of discrimination, that is enough to state a claim and for the case to move forward.
The court found that the Complaint in this case sufficiently alleged a prima facie case of age discrimination because it included allegations that (1) MERG’s client was 49 years old when she was fired, (2) she was qualified for the position she held, (3) she was fired, and (4) Modula hired a 33-year old person with less experience to replace MERG’s client. The court found that the Complaint sufficiently alleged a prima facie case of sex discrimination because it included allegations that (1) MERG’s client is a woman, (2) she was qualified for the position she held and was an exemplary employee, (3) she was fired, and (4) Modula hired a man with less experience to perform the job. The court found that these facts were more than sufficient to state a claim for relief and permit the case to move forward.