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Paula Casamento had worked for years in a variety of functions for Boston’s mass transit agency, but wanted to be promoted. When the agency posted a new supervisory position, she applied.

A male employee had been performing most of the new job’s functions for several years. After several outside candidates applied, the agency decided to rescind the job opening and have the man continue unofficially performing its duties.

Casamento sued for sex discrimination. Because she is female, was qualified, and the person performing the job was male, she met the first three requirements for a successful sex discrimination suit. In the end, however, she couldn’t prove the fourth key element: actual evidence of sex discrimination. Casamento couldn’t point to any statistics showing male-female disparities or management statements indicating sex bias. The court threw out her case. (Casamento v. MBTA, No. 06-10181, DC MA, 2008)

Think through the ramifications of posting a not-so-essential position. The agency could have avoided the time and expense of defending a lawsuit if it hadn’t posted the position in the first place.

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