Posts Tagged ‘vicarious liability’
Wednesday, June 26th, 2013
The U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) is done for the year. Decisions have been rendered. The court gutted the civil rights movement by neutering the Voting Rights Act (Shame on them!) . The court granted LGBT proponents unprecedented rights (Yea!). Two decisions regarding employment law clearly sided with employers and once again stuck it to working men and women.
Case #1: Retaliation Changed to Suit Employer Defendants
In the Univ of Texas v. Nassar (No 12-484), SCOTUS (in a 5-4 vote on June 24, 2013) limits retaliation claims to situations in which the plaintiff can show that the the only employer motivating factor is the desire to retaliate. Justice Kennedy opined that there are two standards — lessened causation and but-for. In cases where the practice of retaliation was motivated by several factors, one of which was race, color, religion, sex or national origin, lessened causation applies. In reality, many factors do apply. The Court called these “mixed-motive” cases.
In this case, a woman supervisor at the University of Texas Medical School, Beth Levine, MD (pictured on the left), harassed Naiel Nassar, MD, a physician of Middle Eastern descent. Nassar was working at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas and was an Associate Professor at the UT Southwestern Medical Center. In 2004, he inherited a new department head, Levine, known to comment “MiddleEasterners are lazy.” He was promised a post at the hospital even after he resigned his academic job. Nassar’s resignation letter cited Levine’s harassment as the reason. A Dr. Fitz who received the Nassar resignation letter felt he had to defend and exonerate his colleague Levine. Fitz convinced the hospital to withdraw its job offer to Nassar. Nassar filed two claims — discrimination by Levine and retaliation by the University that cost him his hospital position.
The five conservative justices actually stated that the lessening causation standard “could contribute to the filing of frivolous claims.” The opinion cites EEOC statistics about the “nearly doubled” frequency of retaliation claims in the past 15 years. They equate retaliation claims with baseless claims. They seem motivated, on behalf of corporations against which these retaliation claims are filed, to reduce those numbers that bother corporate defendants.
Tags: antidiscrimination laws, Ball State, discrimination, dissenting opinion, employer responsibility, Justice Kennedy, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Nassar, retaliation, supervisor defined, Title VII, University of Texas, US Supreme Court, Vance, vicarious liability
Posted in Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Rulings by Courts, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education, Workplace Bullying Laws | No Archived Comments | Post A Comment (
Sunday, December 2nd, 2012
As bullied targets learn quickly, civil rights laws rarely apply in bullying situations. The magic combination of a target being a member of a protected class and the bully not being a member happens in only 1 in 5 cases. With all other combinations the target must overcome legal obstacles too great for most attorneys to tackle.
On Nov. 26, the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) heard oral arguments in the case brought by a black woman Maetta Vance against Ball State University. The case is not about whether or not she suffered racial discrimination at the hands of Saundra Davis, a white woman, but whether Davis was her supervisor.
The University is not liable for Davis’ conduct if the court deems Davis a coworker. Vance contends that Davis acted as her supervisor. That’s the crux of the case. The final decision affects the liability of employers in harassment cases and could make it even tougher to sue employers for one of their employee’s wrongdoing.
Tags: Ball State University, employer liability, harassment, Maetta Vance, status-protected group, supervisor definition, vicarious liability
Posted in Fairness & Social Justice Denied, Rulings by Courts, Tutorials About Bullying, WBI Education, Workplace Bullying Laws | 1 Archived Comment | Post A Comment (