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Swierkiewicz v. Sorema, N.A.

United States Supreme Court
534 U.S. 506 (2002)


Swierkiewicz (plaintiff) was an employee of Sorema, N.A. (defendant), a reinsurance company based in New York. Sorema, while based in the United States, is owned by a French parent company. In 1995, Francois Chavel, a French national, became the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sorema. At the time, Swierkiewicz, a Hungarian, was the Chief Underwriting Officer (CUO) for Sorema as well as a senior vice president. Upon Chavel’s elevation to CEO, he transferred many of Swierkiewicz’s responsibilities to Nicholas Papadopoulos, another French national who had far less experience in underwriting than Swierkiewicz. Eventually, Swierkiewicz was stripped of his title as CUO. Swierkiewicz attempted to meet with Chavel, but was unsuccessful. Swierkiewicz eventually wrote a memo to Chavel outlining his grievances and requesting a severance package so he may resign. The next day, Sorema’s general counsel offered Swierkiewicz the option of resigning without a severance package or being fired. Swierkiewicz chose not to resign and was fired. Swierkiewicz filed suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York for workplace discrimination. Sorema argued that Swierkiewicz had not included enough facts in his complaint and that it was therefore deficient. The district court agreed and dismissed the case. The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed.

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