Gagliardi v. Sacred Heart Univ., No. 3:17-cv-857 (VAB), 2020 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8337 (D. Conn. Jan. 17, 2020).
01/21/2020Paul Gagliardi sued Sacred Heart University for sex discrimination under Title VII, Title IX, and the Equal Pay Act. On July 16, 2019, the Court granted Sacred Heart’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed the case. Mr. Gagliardi subsequently filed a motion for reconsideration under Rule 59(e) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Generally, Courts will only grant a motion for reconsideration when the moving party can point to controlling decisions or data that the court overlooked. Here, the Court denied Mr. Gagliardi’s motion for reconsideration because it simply reiterated the same arguments the Court had already considered.
Mr. Gagliardi argued that Sacred Heart had retaliated against him for complaining about gender discrimination. However, the Court had already rejected this argument because Sacred Heart rehired Mr. Gagliardi as the men’s tennis coach for the upcoming school year despite his complaints about gender discrimination. Mr. Gagliardi had failed to explain why Sacred Heart would rehire him and then suddenly decide to fire him based on his gender discrimination complaints. Instead, Sacred Heart had put forward nondiscriminatory reasons for dismissing Mr. Gagliardi, namely that he was late to every practice, missed several practices, and missed competitions. Gagliardi failed to show his complaints about gender discrimination were the but-for cause of his termination.
Concerning Mr. Gagliardi’s discrimination claims, the Court reiterated its holding that Mr. Gagliardi was unable to show that he was comparable to any other employee, and therefore he could not establish a prima facie case of discrimination. Comparing coaches of different sports teams is different from comparing professors. Courts are reluctant to find an equality of work between coaches of different sports. Here, Mr. Gagliardi attempted to compare himself with the male coach of the women’s tennis team, Mr. Guastelle. In addition to both coaches being men, Mr. Guastelle was not an adequate comparator for Mr. Gagliardi’s discrimination claims because Mr. Guastelle was also the senior associate athletic director, and director of tennis; which would account for the disparity in the two individuals’ salaries. Without a peer to compare himself with, Mr. Gagliardi’s discrimination claims were properly dismissed by the Court.