Supreme Court Makes Defending Title VII Cases Easier For Employers; Decides To Review Noel Canning, Will Rule On NLRB Recess Appointments

more+
less-

On June 24, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court issued opinions in two cases which are clear victories for employers. First, in Vance v. Ball State University, the Supreme Court held that “an employer may be vicariously liable for an employee’s [i.e. supervisor’s] unlawful harassment only when the employer has empowered that employee to take tangible employment actions against the victim, i.e., to effect a significant change in employment status, such as hiring, firing, failing to promote, reassignment with significantly different responsibilities, or a decision causing a significant change in benefits.”  The Supreme Court rejected the “nebulous definition” of a “supervisor” advocated by the EEOC and substantially adopted by several courts of appeals, which ties supervisor status only to the ability to exercise significant direction over another’s daily work.  Second, in University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, the Supreme Court held that plaintiffs in Title VII retaliation claims must prove that their employers would not have taken an adverse employment action against them but for their exercise of a protected activity.  This ruling represents a rejection of the more lenient “motivating factor” test previously used by some federal circuits, which only required an employee to show that the motive to retaliate was one of the employer’s motives, even if not the decisive factor.   These two decisions will significantly aid employers in defense of harassment and retaliation claims.  Finally, to little surprise, the Supreme Court also agreed to review Noel Canning, which invalidated three of President Barack Obama’s recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.  We previously wrote about the impact of Noel Canning, as well as the similar decision by the Third Circuit in New Vista Nursing and Rehabilitation, here.  The appeal will likely be argued in the fall, with a decision expected thereafter.

Written by:

Published In:

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

© Laner Muchin, Ltd. | Attorney Advertising

Don't miss a thing! Build a custom news brief:

Read fresh new writing on compliance, cybersecurity, Dodd-Frank, whistleblowers, social media, hiring & firing, patent reform, the NLRB, Obamacare, the SEC…

…or whatever matters the most to you. Follow authors, firms, and topics on JD Supra.

Create your news brief now - it's free and easy »

All the intelligence you need, in one easy email:

Great! Your first step to building an email digest of JD Supra authors and topics. Log in with LinkedIn so we can start sending your digest...

Sign up for your custom alerts now, using LinkedIn ›

* With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name.
×
Loading...
×