Employment Expert Witness Testimony Partially Allowed in Gender Discrimination Case

Summary: Employment Expert Witness testimony partially allowed even though the court ruled that the expert was qualified to offer an opinion on reduction in force because of her experience in human resources.

Facts:  This case (Self v. Perspecta Enterprise Solutions, LLC et al – United States District Court – Southern District of California – February 15, 2023) involves a claim of discrimination and wrongful termination.  The plaintiff, Kathleen Self, alleges that she was terminated by the defendant based on her gender and in retaliation for complaining about her manager,.  The defendant claims that the plaintiff was terminated due to a reduction in force at the company.  To help her with her claim, the plaintiff hired Employment Expert Witness Debra Reilly, J.D. to provide expert witness testimony on her behalf.  The defendant has filed a motion to exclude this expert from testifying.

Discussion: The defendant alleges that Ms. Reilly’s first opinion is not reliable because she did not review certain investigation reports and interview notes from a Mr. Gutierrez.  The court stated that even though Ms. Reilly did not have access to the investigation report or interview notes, she did review all of the available documents and that the holes in Ms. Reilly’s information relates to the defendant not providing the information.  However, the court did rule that Ms. Reilly will not be allowed to testify that the defendant’s not complying with good human resources practices is an indication of discrimination.  In addition, the court noted that Ms. Reilly will not be allowed to testify on the recommended steps needed to evaluate an inequitable pay claim.

Also, the defendant alleges that Ms. Reilly is not qualified to offer an opinion on the adequacy of a reduction in force as she has only done so on two other occasions.  The court opined that the defendant did not prove that Ms. Reilly’s experience in the field of human resources is not applicable to reduction in force.  Thus, the court said that Ms. Reilly is qualified to offer an expert witness opinion in this case.

Conclusion:  The expert witness testimony of Debra Reilly, J.D. is granted in part and denied in part.