Factual Background

At the Madison County (New York State) Veterans Service Agency,the position of director became vacant. The County Board ofSupervisors created a committee of five men to hold interviews forthe position. The committee interviewed Maureen E. Barbano and fourothers. When she entered the interview room, she heard someone say,“Oh, another woman.” At the beginning of the interview, DonaldGreene said he would not consider “some woman” for the position.Greene also asked Barbano some personal questions about her familyplans and whether her husband would mind if she transported maleveterans. Ms. Barbano answered that the questions were irrelevantand discriminatory. However, Greene replied that the questions wererelevant because he did not want to hire a woman who would getpregnant and quit. Another committee member, Newbold, agreed thatthe questions were relevant, and no committee member said thequestions were not relevant.

1. Madison County contended that Barbano needed to provide“direct evidence” of discrimination that had played a motivating orsubstantial part in the decision. What would such evidence looklike? Is it likely that most plaintiffs who are discriminatedagainst because of their gender would be able to get “directevidence” that gender was a motivating or substantial factor?

2. The “clearly erroneous” standard is applied here, as it is inmany cases where appellate courts review trial courtdeterminations. State the test, and say why the appellate courtbelieved that the trial judge’s ruling was not “clearlyerroneous.”