The EEOC has issued a press release announcing a big victory for sexual harassment cases. These cases are often dismissed. For instance, according to EEOC 2011 statistics, the EEOC received 11,364 sexual harassment complaints. Of these, 53% were found to have no reasonable cause. This is an increase from 2010, where the percentage was of 50.1%. Since 1997, the percentage of cases dismissed has been in an upwards trend.
In the EEOC case against New Breed Logistics (Civil Action No. 2:10-cv-02696-STA-tmp), the jury awarded $177,094 in back pay, $486,000 in compensatory damages, and $850,000 in punitive damages.
Following the 7-day trial, the jury found that the warehouse supervisor subjected 3 temporary workers to unwelcome sexual touching and lewd, obscene and vulgar sexual remarks at the company’s Avaya Memphis area warehouse facility. Further, the jury found that a supervisor fired the three temp workers because they complained about the harassment.
via Jury Awards More Than $1.5 Million in EEOC Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Suit against New Breed Logistics | U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – JDSupra.
On Friday, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar to address mixed motives in retaliation cases.
The question the Supreme Court will address is:
Whether the retaliation provision of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(a), and similarly worded statutes require a plaintiff to prove but-for causation (i.e., that an employer would not have taken an adverse employment action but for an improper motive), or instead require only proof that the employer had a mixed motive (i.e., that an improper motive was one of multiple reasons for the employment action).
Plainly, the Supreme Court will opine about who has the burden of proof (who has to prove that retaliation was/or-is-not improper).
- If the worker has to prove that the retaliation was improper, the worker has to show that the employer retaliated only due to the improper motive/reason (i.e. filing a lawsuit, making a complaint with HR, having a disability, due to race, gender, religion, etc.).
- If the employer has to prove that the tangible employment action (i.e. discipline, firing, transfer, demotion) was not retaliation, the employer has to show that the improper motive/reason was part of many reasons.
The SCOTUSblog file with links to documents is here.
via Workplace Prof Blog: SCOTUS grants cert in retaliation mixed motives case.
This is from Workplace Prof Blog:
Dellinger v. Science Applications Int’l Corp. The court held, 2 to 1, that the FLSA does not reach retaliation against prospective employees. Given the Supreme Court’s expansive reading of antiretaliation clauses, this case may be ripe for a cert grant.
The EEOC’s Press Release provides,
Federal employees and applicants filed 17,583 complaints of employment discrimination during fiscal year 2010, a 3.75 percent increase over the previous year, according to the U. S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s (EEOC) Annual Report on the Federal Work Force Part I: EEO Complaints Processing for Fiscal Year 2010. The report, issued today, assesses federal agencies’ equal employment opportunity complaints program statistics. The full text of the report is available on the agency’s web site at http://www.eeoc.gov/federal/reports/fsp2010/index.cfm.
As with private sector charges of discrimination, retaliation was the most common allegation of discrimination, and registered a 2.7 percent increase over the prior fiscal year. Age and race (African-American) discrimination were the next most frequently alleged bases and each registered 5.1 percent increases. Federal employees and applicants are also protected against employment discrimination on the bases of color, sex, national origin, religion, disability, equal pay and genetic information