Trop v. Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., 129 Cal. App. 4th 1133 (2005)

Anne Trop was terminated from her position as an assistant to Betty Thomas, a movie producer and director for Tall Trees Productions, a motion picture production company with a “first look” deal with Columbia Pictures (a division of Sony). Prior to her termination, Trop had discussed her pregnancy (and her efforts to become pregnant) with two other employees of Tall Trees (whom she swore to secrecy), but she never directly mentioned it to Thomas. Thomas decided to terminate Trop shortly after her performance began to deteriorate and after she took a lengthy vacation to England. After her termination, Trop sued for pregnancy discrimination. The trial court granted summary judgment to defendants, and the Court of Appeal affirmed, holding that Trop could not prove that Thomas knew she was pregnant at the time of the termination. Further, the Court held that in any event Sony had produced sufficient evidence that it had a legitimate nondiscriminatory reason for the termination – Trop’s “job performance did not meet Thomas’ demanding standards.”