But For Causation

News & Analysis as of

D.C. Circuit Reinforces Attorney-Client Privilege Applicable to Internal Investigations

On August 11, 2015, the United States Court of Appeals for the District Court of Columbia issued a decision of importance to all companies that seek to maintain privilege with respect to internal investigations. The D.C....more

Curing Cat’s-Paw

In a Title VII retaliation claim, a plaintiff has to prove protected conduct was the “but-for” cause of the materially adverse action. Can a plaintiff prove “but-for” causation relying on the supposed retaliatory animus of...more

Whither The Injury Standard?

Given the long history of the material injury standard and the numerous determinations made over the years using the standard in antidumping and countervailing duty investigations, one might expect that the nature of the...more

Seventh Circuit: Neiman Marcus Data Breach Victims Have Standing To Bring Class Action

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals decided on July 20, 2015, that individuals whose credit card information was exposed to hackers in the 2013 Neiman Marcus data breach have standing to sue the luxury department store in a...more

EEOC Encouraged to Address Social Media and “But-for” Causation in Revising Guidance on Retaliation

At a meeting of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, convened to address the explosive growth of retaliation charges last week, witnesses made a variety of recommendations, including that the agency revise its...more

Retaliation in the Fourth Circuit: Recent Decision Creates New Challenges for Employers

In May 2015, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (which has jurisdiction over federal courts in Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and South Carolina) issued an opinion with negative consequences for employers...more

The Fourth Circuit Asks What For, Answers with But For: The Determination that a Landmark United States Supreme Court Decision...

In 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States held that plaintiffs claiming retaliation under Title VII must prove that “but for” the retaliation they would not have been discharged. University of Texas Southwestern Medical...more

SuperVision Today - May 2015

In This Issue: - Notes from the Chair and Executive Editor - The Fourth Circuit Asks What For, Answers with But For: The Determination that a Landmark United States Supreme Court Decision Does Not Change Employment...more

Fourth Circuit Adopts Lower Burden for Plaintiffs to Survive Summary Judgment on Retaliation Claims

In its 2013 Nassar decision, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that plaintiffs who allege workplace retaliation under Title VII and related statutes must demonstrate that the retaliatory animus is a “but for” cause of the...more

Employment Retaliation Claims – Still Alive and Well (and Potentially Dangerous)

Federal law and most state laws protect employees who complain about discrimination and harassment from retaliatory adverse employment actions (such as demotion or termination). Because retaliation claims can succeed even...more

Fourth Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Age Discrimination Claim Despite Manager's Comments About Need to Retire

In order for a plaintiff to prove age discrimination, he/she must show that age is a “but for” reason for the termination or other employment action. In other words, but for the plaintiff’s age, the termination decision would...more

Second Circuit Reiterates: Bigger Hurdles For Employers Under Big Apple’s Anti-Discrimination Law

On February 13, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reiterated that courts must analyze claims under the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) “separately and independently from any [related] federal...more

Warning: An EEOC Position Statement Can and Will Be Used Against Your Company

Why was an employee fired? Was it the company’s change in business focus that rendered the employee’s skill set obsolete? A position statement to the EEOC or a state agency that articulates the employer’s reasons in a poorly...more

The Meaning of “But-For” Harassment: The Second Circuit Breaks Its Silence and it is not Good for Employers

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court held that Title VII retaliation claims must be proven according to traditional principles of “but-for” causation. Since Univ. of Tex. Sw. Med. Ctr. v. Nassar, 133 S. Ct. 2517 (2013), ...more

New Causation Standard for Title VII Retaliation Claims

It can be difficult for employers to decide how to address employee misconduct when that employee has reported discrimination and the investigation is ongoing. The fear of prompting a retaliation claim can create paralysis. ...more

Are Title VII Retaliation Claims Dead Post-Nassar?

This June, the U.S. Supreme Court announced the causation standard for Title VII retaliations claims in the landmark case of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, 133 S. Ct. 2517, 2533 (2013),...more

Supreme Court Update: University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar

The United States Supreme Court recently raised the bar for plaintiffs attempting to bring Title VII retaliation claims. In University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, 133 S.Ct. 2517 (2013), the Court...more

“Something More” Than “But For” Required In The Ninth Circuit

The Ninth Circuit recently reversed a ruling by the U.S. District Court of Nevada granting summary judgment in favor of the SEC in a case alleging violations of Section 5 of the Securities Act of 1933 in connection with the...more

Nassar’s “But For” Requirement Breaks the Chain for Retaliation Plaintiffs Relying on Temporal Proximity to Establish Causation

In a decision in favor of the University of Pennsylvania entered on August 7, 2013, the Third Circuit Court of Appeals reviewed the “but for” standard for liability under University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v....more

Supreme Court Delivers Victory To Employers, But Dissent Calls Upon Congress To Act

The Supreme Court recently delivered a victory for employers by holding that plaintiffs who sue their employers for alleged retaliation under Title VII must prove their claims according to the “but for” causation standard...more

Fenwick Employment Brief - July 2013: Employee Claiming Retaliation Must Meet Higher Standard of Proof

In another favorable ruling for employers, the Supreme Court in University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar clarified that employees must satisfy a higher “but for” standard of proof to prevail in a Title VII...more

A Review Of The Supreme Court’s 2012-2013 Term

As the United States Supreme Court’s 2012-2013 term drew to a close at the end of June, commentators observed a continuing gradual but perceptible shift to the right by the Court. The Roberts Court is generally viewed as...more

California Employment Law Notes - July 2013

Employee Must Prove That Illegal Retaliation Was The "But For" Cause Of Adverse Job Action Under Title VII - University of Tex. S.W. Med. Ctr. v. Nassar, 570 U.S. ___, 2013 WL 3155234 (2013) - The United States...more

Retaliation Under Title VII Must Be Proven Under Traditional “But For” Causation Doctrine

Where a person seeks compensation for injury resulting from wrongful conduct, there must be a demonstrated connection between the wrong alleged and the injury — i.e., causation. The default rule, developed in connection with...more

Employees Must Prove Retaliation Was “But-For” Cause of Employment Action

Employers are well aware that poorly performing employees may lodge baseless retaliation claims as a smokescreen to interfere with legitimate discipline....more

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