Mixed Motive Cases

News & Analysis as of

Causation In Federal Remedial Rights And Alternative Pleading

Several recent Supreme Court decisions have upended causation standards in the statutory alphabet soup of federal remedial rights. It is now clear that “but for” causation governs discrimination claims under the Age...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

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

Is the employer hijacking the case, or not?

The Labour Tribunal is a specialised court set up to provide a simple, inexpensive and informal means of resolving employment disputes in Hong Kong. The Tribunal has exclusive jurisdiction to deal with claims arising from a...more

Appeals court rules no pretext found in ADEA discrimination case

The Tenth Circuit recently ruled that pretext would not be found if an employer terminated an employee based on a genuine belief that the employee had violated company policy....more

Not following instructions will still get you fired, even when you engage in protected activity

In Meyers v. Eastern Oklahoma County Technology Center, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld judgment for the employer even though the plaintiff had engaged in legally protected activity because she disregarded her...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

Employment Law -- Oct 23, 2013

In California, Arbitration Agreement Valid Despite Lack of Rules - Why it matters: California employers scored a victory with the Peng decision, with the court making clear that a procedural error in failing to include...more

Governor Reinforces Mixed Motive Win For Employers In FEHA Cases

Earlier this year, in Harris v. City of Santa Monica, the California Supreme Court gave employers an unexpected win when it approved of the “mixed motive” theory of proof. As a result, in discrimination cases under the Fair...more

California Legislature Deliberating Changes to Remedies in Mixed Motive Cases

This past February, the California Supreme Court addressed the viability of a mixed-motive defense to employment discrimination claims brought under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) in the Harris v. City of Santa...more

A New Heightened Standard For Title VII Retaliation Claims

On June 24, 2013, the Supreme Court of the United States held that Title VII retaliation claims require a plaintiff to prove the more stringent “but for” causation standard, rather than the lesser “motivating factor”...more

A Summary of the U.S. Supreme Court Decisions This Week Which Will Affect Employers

Windsor v. United States - Issue: Can the federal government define marriage? Holding: No. Loser: The federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which was passed in 1996 and signed by President Clinton, was...more

Supreme Court Issues Two Employer-Friendly Title VII Decisions

The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday issued two Title VII decisions favorable to employers. One case examined the definition of a supervisor under the anti-discrimination laws, and the other dealt with an employee’s burden of...more

Supreme Court Limits Mixed-Motive Standard

On June 24, 2013, in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court clarified that an employee alleging unlawful retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 must prove that a retaliatory motive was the...more

"My Prior Complaint Was One Of The Reasons For The Adverse Employment Action": Mixed Motive Theories For Retaliation Claims Under...

Recently, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, which addresses the causation standard for retaliation claims under Title VII. The Supreme Court has already held...more

Attorney Fees Not Available In Mixed Motive Retaliation Claims Under Title VII, Seventh Circuit Rules

Under Title VII, in “mixed motive” discrimination cases (i.e., discrimination motivated in part, but not entirely, by an impermissible factor), an employer may limit Plaintiff’s recovery where it can show that it would have...more

Fifth Circuit: No Fee Shifting For Title VII Mixed-Motive Retaliation Claims

On April 3, 2013, the Fifth Circuit affirmed a ruling from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas that a plaintiff was not entitled to attorney’s fees and costs under Title VII (42 U.S.C. § 2000 e-5(g))...more

California Supreme Court Revises Jury Instructions And Trial Procedures In Discrimination Cases

Wynona Harris alleged her employment was terminated by the City of Santa Monica because of her pregnancy in violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. The city claimed Harris had been fired for poor job...more

The California Supreme Court Provides Mixed Result in Mixed Motive Terminations

In Harris v. City of Santa Monica, (2013) 56 Cal.4th 203, the California Supreme Court provided long-awaited clarification of the standards that apply when an employer terminates an employee for “mixed motives”—that is, when...more

California Supreme Court Rules "Mixed Motive" Is a Mixed Bag for Employers

The California Supreme Court recently clarified the defenses available to employers defending against claims of discrimination. In Harris v. City of Santa Monica, No. BC341469 (Cal. Feb. 7, 2013), the court ruled that, if a...more

Employment Flash - February 2013

In This Issue: - Ohio Supreme Court Reverses Decision on Surviving Merger Entity’s Ability to Enforce Noncompetition Agreements - “Sweet” Decision for California Employers: Court Approves Time Rounding in Case...more

California Supreme Court Issues Mixed Decision in Mixed-Motive FEHA Employment Discrimination Case

The California Supreme Court's recent decision in a closely watched Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) case should be of interest to employers around the country, even though — or perhaps because — it does not provide an...more

Supreme Court Rules that a State Court Has Jurisdiction over a Legal Malpractice Claim Involving a Federal Patent Issue

The Supreme Court of the United States, in Gunn v. Minton, determined that a Texas state court had jurisdiction over a legal malpractice claim, even though resolving the claim required the state court to address an issue of...more

California Supreme Court Eliminates Damages in FEHA Discrimination Cases Where Employer Proves Mixed Motive Defense

Earlier this month, the California Supreme Court issued a ruling clarifying details of the “mixed-motive” defense applicable to discrimination claims under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). Harris v....more

Supreme Court Holds That Patent Legal Malpractice Claims Do Not “Arise Under” The Patent Laws and May Be Heard in State Court

On February 20, 2013, the Supreme Court issued a decision addressing the critical question of where plaintiffs can or must sue when their claims implicate patent law but are not traditional patent law claims. See Gunn v....more

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