Noyes v. Kelly Services, 2007 WL 1531824 (9th Cir. 2007)

Lynn Noyes alleged that her supervisor, who was a member of a small religious group called the “Fellowship of Friends,” had engaged in “reverse” religious discrimination when he selected another member of the Fellowship instead of Noyes for a promotion. The trial court granted summary judgment to the employer, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed on the ground that the trial court had misapplied the Supreme Court’s opinion in St. Mary’s Honor Ctr. v. Hicks, 509 U.S. 502 (1993). The Ninth Circuit held that a plaintiff may raise a genuine issue of material fact as to the pretext of the employer’s purported non-discriminatory reason for the termination either with (1) direct evidence of the employer’s discriminatory motive or (2) indirect evidence that undermines the credibility of the employer’s articulated reasons. Here, Noyes’s supervisor’s credibility “was severely undermined by conflicting evidence on the promotion process.”