in Ima Shewin’s Case
Professor Carolyn Dragseth
June 5, 2012
LEGAL M E M O R A N D U M
TO: Carolyn Dragseth, Attorney
FROM:Taressa Wise, Legal Analyst
DATE:June 5, 2012
RE:Legal Memorandum, causes of action for presenting a prima facie case
for Ima Shewin.
File: #4591_NEW MATTER__________
STATEMENT OF FACTS
Our client Ima Shewin is a 45-year-old African American and has asked us to represent her in filing a prima facie discrimination case and applicable causes of action on her behalf. Shewin has advanced degrees in English and journalism from the University of Chicago and have been employed by The Blabber, a newspaper company in Atlanta, Georgia, for 10 years. Shewin started as an entry-level researcher. Two years later, she was promoted to a junior-level reporter position, and two years after that, to a senior-level reporter position. Shewin has now been a senior-level reporter for the last six years.
During the first eight years of her employment, Shewin reported to George Doright. Two years ago, The Blabber reorganized and Doright was moved to another division in the company. Since then, Shewin has reported to Arthur King, The Blabber's senior editor. Following the reorganization, two editors have retired. Although Shewin applied for these positions, they were not offered to her. In fact, she was only invited to interview for one of the positions, although she believes she met the qualifications for both.
Last month, Shewin applied for a junior-editor position that she has been after for several years now. Based upon the qualifications that were identified in the job's classified ad, she felt she was a shoo-in. Shewin applied and was interviewed. The interview with Mr. King did not go as well as she had hoped which took place over lunch in a restaurant. King started out the conversation by engaging in seemingly harmless social banter, but Shewin was uncomfortable with his personal questions about her relationship with her boyfriend. A few weeks after the interview, the company announced that it was hiring Gene Whiz, someone from outside the company. Whiz is 26 years old and recently earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of Chicago. Whiz has worked as a reporter for a small local newspaper.
Shewin believes a number of factors may have been held against her. Only three women are in the upper levels of management, and all were promoted prior to the reorganization. King was not involved in the promotion decisions for any of the three women.
King has a reputation for making sexist comments, which several women in the company find offensive, as do a number of men. King, described one pregnant reporter as "barefoot and pregnant." King has also asked Shewin out to "discuss business," invitations that she has declined. Shewin feels that rejecting him may have something to do with her not getting the job. Another possible factor is that there are only five African-American senior managers in the company. Shewin has heard through the rumor mill that Whiz is part African-American.
Prior to Mr. Doright’s transfer, Shewin filed a complaint against some of her male colleagues. Apparently the men whose cubicles were surrounding Shewin's area had a habit of discussing their weekend dates in graphic detail on Monday mornings. Although they did not make these comments directly to Shewin, the conversations were quite loud and she overheard them regularly. After several months of hoping they would stop, Shewin brought this matter to Mr. Doright, who sternly told the employees to stop such behavior. Since Arthur King became the senior manager, her coworkers have reverted to their old behavior, and King...