Daily Labor Report®

Search Firm Off Hook in Gender Bias Suit Over Visteon GC Job

Dec. 11, 2018, 9:29 PM

An attorney who says she was denied a shot at Visteon Corp.'s general counsel position based on her gender can’t pursue discrimination claims against the executive search firm that told her she wouldn’t be interviewed.

Ileana Simplicean alleged SSI (US) Inc. recruited her for the job opening and told her she was a “perfect candidate.”

But employees for SSI, which does business as Spencer Stuart, later allegedly told her Visteon didn’t view her as a leader and had opted to only interview two male candidates.

Simplicean alleged discrimination by Visteon, which she said has never had a female GC, sued SSI for its role in the hiring process.

But Simplicean didn’t adequately support any of the theories she advanced to try and hold the search firm liable, Judge Gershwin A. Drain of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan said Dec. 11.

Simplicean couldn’t be held liable for aiding and abetting Visteon’s alleged discrimination. No allegations said SSI made personnel decisions, controlled a term of her employment, or had “significant control” over Visteon’s hiring process.

The job candidate also didn’t offer any evidence that the agency refused to recruit or place her for a job because of her gender. Simplicean alleged SSI recruited her, but Visteon decided not to hire her, the court said.

And Visteon, not SSI, decided to remove her name from the original list of three candidates it would speak with, the judge said.

The judge denied Simplicean leave to amend her complaint, which he had dismissed on Aug. 14.

Gasiorek Morgan Greco McCauley & Kotzian P.C. represented Simplicean. Winston & Strawn LLP and Howard & Howard represented SSI.

The case is Simplicean v. SSI (US), Inc., 2018 BL 457277, E.D. Mich., No. 18-cv-11297, 12/11/18.

To contact the reporter on this story: Patrick Dorrian in Washington at pdorrian@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com; Steven Patrick at spatrick@bloomberglaw.com

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