Thursday, April 25, 2013

Supreme Court Hears Arguments In Title VII Retaliation Case Brought By Doctor Claiming Ethnic and Religious Discrimination

The U.S, Supreme Court yesterday heard oral arguments in University of Texas Southwest Medical Center v. Nassar, a Title VII retaliation case. (Transcript of oral arguments.)  42 USC 2000e-3(a) prohibits discrimination against an employee because that employee has opposed a discriminatory employment practice. As explained by Kevin Russell, recapping the argument on SCOTUS Blog, the issue in the case is whether an employee who claims retaliatory action must show that retaliation was the "but for" cause of his termination, or whether it is enough that it was one of several motivating factors. In this case, as summarized by Reuters, a physician of Middle Eastern descent, who was a medical school faculty member and a physician at an affiliated AIDS clinic, resigned his faculty position, complaining of discriminatory comments by his direct supervisor about his ethnic and religious background.  He sought to be employed directly by the AIDS clinic, but the medical school prevented the hiring, claiming that an existing policy required clinic employees to have a university affiliation. SCOTUS Blog has links to all the briefs in the case.

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