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Unformatted text preview: a pretext for discrimination. Conclusory and substantially
unsupported assertions of pretext are inadequate in this regard. See id. (citing Smith v.
American Express Co., 853 F.2d 151, 154-55 (2d Cir.1988)). To meet this burden, the
plaintiff may rely on "evidence constituting the prima facie case, together with
supportable inference to be drawn from the false or erroneous character of the employer's
proffered reason for the adverse action." Carlton v. Mystic Transportation, Inc., 202 F.3d
129, 135 (2d Cir.2000); see also Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Products, Inc., 530 U.S.
133, 142, 120 S.Ct. 2097, 147 L.Ed.2d 105 (2000). The plaintiff is not required to prove
that the prohibited motivation was the sole or even the principal factor in the decision, or
that the employer's proffered reasons played no role in the employment decision, but only
that the plaintiff's membership in a protected class contributed to the employer's decision.
See Holtz v. Rockerfeller & Co., 258 F.3d 62, 78-79 (2d Cir.2001); Renz v. Grey
Advertising, Inc., 135 F.3d 217, 220-22 (2d Cir.1997); Cronin v. Aetna Life Ins. Co., 46
F.3d 196, 203 (2d Cir.1995).
*10 Whether a plaintiff met her ultimate burden of proving discrimination should be
determined on a case-specific approach upon consideration of a number of factors,
including the strength of the prima facie case, the probative value of any proof that the
employer's stated reason for the adverse employment action is false, and any other
evidence that supports the employee's case and that properly may be considered in a
motion for summary judgment as a matter of law. See Zimmerman, 251 F.3d at 381
(citing Reeves, 530 U.S. at 148-49). Proof that the employer's proffered reason for the 174 adverse employment action is unworthy of belief constitutes "circumstantial evidence
that is probative of intentional discrimination." Reeves, 530 U.S. at 147. Evidence that
the employer's reason is false, combined with the prima facie case, could be sufficient to
allow the issue to g...
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- Spring '08