To prevail on a Title VII employment discrimination claim, a plaintiff-employee must prove three elements: (1) she is a member of a protected class; (2) she has been subjected to an adverse employment action; and (3) that the employer took the adverse job action on account of the employee's membership in the protected class.The applicable legal standard is whether the evidence, in its totality, would permit a jury to conclude that the plaintiff's race, ethnicity, sex, religion, or other proscribed factor caused the employment termination or other adverse employment action. Usually, the burden-shifting approach established in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973) is used as the method of proof, but that is not the only way for a court to assess circumstantial evidence of discrimination. The 7th Circuit concluded that the plaintiff in this case presented no evidence to support an inference that he was suspended and terminated as a result of race or sex discrimination.
The Eighth Circuit reverses in part. The plaintiff's principal argument for reversal was that once she presented "direct" evidence of her boss's motive (the threat to fire her), then under McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973), she was entitled to a trial. The court rejects this, noting that - while the circuit law was somewhat inconsistent - Mt. Healthy and not McDonnell Douglas provides the rule of decision.Nevertheless, the district court erred by holding that defendants must win, as a matter of law, on the same-decision defense.
The Court concludes that Plaintiff did not meet this burden because his evidence was purely anecdotal and conclusory. Next, the Court conducts the three-part burden shifting analysis developed in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973), in which Plaintiff must first make a prima facie case that he is a member of a protected group, that he was subjected to an adverse employment decision, that he was qualified for his position, and that he was replaced by a person outside of the protected class. The parties agreed that Plaintiff met that initial burden, shifting the burden to JPMS to show a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for the termination.
Sunderman v. Westar Energy, Inc., 10th Cir., No. 08-3059, Jan. 14, 2009.To establish retaliation under Title VII, an individual’s evidence must withstand the three-part analysis established by the U.S. Supreme Court in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973). Under that test, the plaintiff first bears the burden of establishing a prima facie case: (1) that he engaged in a protected activity; (2) that he suffered a materially adverse employment action; and (3) that a causal connection existed between the protected activity and that action.
8 To this point, the court overturned the precedent in its jurisdiction that (1) requires plaintiffs to come forward with a “convincing mosaic” of evidence, treating this as an additional legal standard; and/or (2) separates “direct” from “indirect” evidence and subjects the two to different legal standards.9 Initial commentators on Ortiz speculate that the Seventh Circuit is attempting to abolish the McDonnell Douglas framework. But on this point, the appellate court explained: The burden-shifting framework created by McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 93 S. Ct. 1817, 36 L. Ed. 2d 668 (1973), sometimes is referred to as an “indirect” means of proving employment discrimination. Today's decision does not concern McDonnell Douglas or any other burden-shifting framework, no matter what it is called as a shorthand.
The Court’s analysis. The Court noted that the three-step process set forth in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green (1973) 411 U.S. 792, 93 S.Ct. 1817, 36 L.Ed.2d 668 (https://bulk.resource.org/courts.gov/c/US/460/460.US.711.81-1044.html) applies to non mixed motive cases. Under that process, if the employee makes a prima facie showing of discrimination it creates a presumption of discrimination.
at *17-18. McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 93 S. Ct. 1817, 36 L. Ed. 2d 668 (1973) Id. at *19 (internal marks and citations omitted).
[vi]Davis v. Chevron, USA, Inc. (5th Cir. 1994) 14 F.3d 1082, 1085 (alterations in original, quotations and citations omitted).[vii]McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green (1973) 411 U.S. 792, 802; see also Miller v. Fairchild Industries, Inc. (9th Cir. 1986) 797 F.2d 727, 731-32 (Stating "[t]he order and allocation of proof for Title VII suits outlined in [McDonnell], also covers actions for [retaliation].").
The First Circuit becomes the latest U.S. Court of Appeals to reject defense efforts to expand Gross v. FBL Fin. Servs., Inc., 129 S. Ct. 2343 (2009), beyond its banks.Velez v. Thermo King de Puerto Rico, No. 08-1320 (1st Cir. Oct. 16. 2009): Continuing in the vein of yesterday's post, the First Circuit issues a published opinion signalling its intention to continue to use the McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973), method of proof in ADEA cases.The district court granted summary judgment, holding as a matter of law that the employee was fired for a valid reason that the plaintiff could not rebut, i.e., accepting, and selling for personal gain, promotional items given to him by vendors, such as knives. The plaintiff had also been under investigation for stealing paint, knives and other equipment, but the employer did not immediately advance this as the reason for his termination.The panel reverses, and begins by stating that Gross did not demand departure from the unbroken chain of cases applying the McDonnell Douglas inferences to the ADEA:"In Gross, the Supreme Court noted that it 'has not definitively decided whether the evidentiary framework of McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973), utilized in Title VII cases is appropriate in the ADEA context.
[Zive v. Stanley Roberts, Inc., 867 A.2d 1133 (N.J. 2005).]All LAD claims follow the analytical steps articulated by the U. S. Supreme Court in the landmark decision, McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 93 S. Ct. 1817, 36 L. Ed. 2d 668 (1973). In a claim for wrongful discharge, this framework shifts the burden of proof from the plaintiff, to the employer, then back to the plaintiff as the litigation progresses.Initially, to make the case, the plaintiff must demonstrate (1) she was a member of a protected class, (2) she was meeting her employer's legitimate expectations, (3) she was nevertheless discharged, and (4) the employer sought another employee for the same position.