A federal judge found that Amy Cooper failed to demonstrate that her former employer had wrongfully terminated her in response to the incident.
Amy Cooper, the New York City woman who called 9-1-1 on an African-American bird-watcher in Central Park, has lost a lawsuit accusing her former employer of terminating her without proper cause.
According to NBC News, U.S. District Judge Ronnie Abrams rejected Cooper’s claims that her former employer, investment management firm Franklin Templeton, defamed her by firing her and issuing repeated statements saying that it does not tolerate racism.
In her lawsuit, Cooper claimed that she had been an “exceptional employee” at Franklin Templeton, where she worked from 2015 to 2020.
Court documents filed on her behalf noted that she had been awarded “high performer bonuses” in 2016, 2017, and 2018.
Cooper told the court that her termination caused a “substantial loss of earnings and benefits,” arguing that Franklin Templeton should provide her with “back pay and [bonuses], loss of unvested funds and other benefits, front pay or reinstatements, emotional distress damages, attorneys’ fees and costs and interest and punitive damages in an amount to be determined at trial.”
In his decision, Abrams found that Cooper had been unable to demonstrate that Franklin Templeton discriminated against her on the bases of race or sex.
Additionally, Abrams dismissed Cooper’s claim that her former employer had not conducted the same kind of investigation that had been used to evaluate a similar employee misconduct claim.
Cooper, wrote Abrams, “cannot plausibly allege that she was subjected to a ‘company-wide double standard’ by merely identifying three male competitors who engaged in some – other – form of misconduct, but were not similarly fired.”
“The incident received heightened media and public scrutiny, in particular, because it took place ‘in the midst of a national reckoning about systemic racism,'” Abrams wrote, observing that the incident occurred on the same day as George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis.
“The contents of the viral video, as well as the dialogue surrounding it both in the media and on social media, were already matters of public knowledge when [Franklin Templeton’s] May 26 tweet was posted,” the judge added.
Cooper, adds NBC News, lost her job after bird-watcher Christian Cooper filmed her calling police to report that an “African American man” in Central Park had threatened her life and that of her dog.
Christian Cooper, who is not related to Amy Cooper, told NBC News at the time that he had simply asked the woman to put her dog on a leash, which is policy for the Ramble area of Central Park.