U.S. Supreme Court raises bar on retaliation in medical school case
- The U.S. Supreme Court's 5-to-4 ruling Monday in the case University of Texas at Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar (No. 12-484) raised the bar for workers wishing to prove employer retaliation.
- In the case, Dr. Naiel Nassar, a former assistant professor at the medical school, alleged that he was discriminated against because he was a Muslim and of Middle Eastern ancestry and sought a staff physician job at Parkland Hospital to escape the harassment.
- He later found that the job offer from Parkland was withdrawn following his resignation letter accusing his former supervisor of discrimination, and he sued for retaliation.
- A trial-court jury ruled in favor of Nassar, awarding him over $3 million in damages, and that verdict was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, but the Supreme Court's decision now requires "but for" causation--proof that the retaliation wouldn't have happened without the alleged wrongful actions--and sends the case back to the Fifth Circuit.
From the article:
... But in the opinion handed down on Monday, a majority of the Supreme Court justices held that plaintiffs like Dr. Nassar can't just show that retaliation was a motivating factor for an employer's action against them, as the Fifth Circuit court had allowed. Instead, wrote Justice Anthony M. Kennedy for the majority, retaliation claims filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 require "proof that the unlawful retaliation would not have occurred in the absence of the alleged wrongful action or actions of the employer." ...
- Chronicle of Higher Education Read More
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