Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Monday, July 8, 2013


Page 3


C.A. Tosses Bias Claim by Woman Given Promotion, Pay Hike


By a MetNews Staff Writer


A woman who was promoted and given a boost in salary could not successfully claim employment discrimination when she was fired after foundering in her new post, the Court of Appeal held Friday.

The employee, Sylvie Drimmel, had been an operations manager for SettlementOne Credit Corporation in San Diego, earning an annual salary of $75,000. She was elevated to the post of vice president of corporate development, and her pay was boosted to $100,000 a year.

After failing to perform adequately in the new role, Drimmel’s employment was terminated, and the marketing program she was managing was discontinued.

SettlementOne sued Drimmel for various torts, later dismissing its action—but not before she cross-complained for age and sex discrimination. The person who replaced her as operations manager was younger than she and a male, she stressed.

In an unpublished opinion, Justice Patricia Benke of the Fourth District’s Div. One said:

“In her first and principal argument on appeal, Drimmel challenges the trial court’s finding that in offering Drimmel the position of vice-president of corporate development, with a pay raise, SettlementOne was in fact offering Drimmel a bona fide promotion. In making this finding, the trial court rejected Drimmel’s contention the new position was an adverse employment action designed to replace her as director of operations with a younger male employee.

“The trial court’s finding that the new position was a bona fide promotion is fully supported by the record.”

Benke pointed to an e-mail exchange in which Drimmel expressed delight over her new position.

The jurist also wrote:

“In a related argument, Drimmel contends the evidence shows that in her new position she was given an unattainable goal and thus set up for failure in a larger scheme to terminate her because of her age and sex….The difficulty with this argument is that prior to commencing her new job, Drimmel helped develop the business plan which set forth the goals of the program and thereafter was not able to meet those goals. Drimmel’s active participation in setting the goals for the multi-level marketing project undermines her contention that as a matter of law she was set up for failure.”

The case is Drimmel v. SettlementOne, D060144.


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