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Jun 26, 2013

Eisenberg Comments on High Court Ruling on Retaliation Suits

David Eisenberg’s commentary on the significance of the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 24 ruling in University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar was included in a Law 360 article (Lawyers React to High Court Ruling on Retaliation Suit) regarding the significance of the ruling, which requires workers bringing Title VII retaliation claims to show their employer would not have taken action against them had they not filed a complaint. David commented:

This 5-4 ruling on “mixed-motive” retaliation claims, holding that Title VII retaliation claims (like federal age discrimination claims) require “but for” causation, was long-awaited and not unexpected.  However, practitioners need to be aware that some state courts, interpreting their state human rights laws, apply less stringent standards to state law retaliation claims.  See, e.g., the Missouri Supreme Court decision in Hill v. Ford Motor Co., 277 S.W.3d 659, 664-65 (2009) (applying “contributing factor” standard).  In such states, plaintiffs’ counsel will generally pursue a state law remedy, rather than the federal counterpart, to take advantage of the more lenient burden of proof.

Additional attorney comments are available online to Law360 suBaker Sterchiibers.