Saturday, September 14, 2013

Pentecostal Employee Loses Retaliation Claim As 5th Circuit Applies Recent Supreme Court Precedent

As previously reported, in a decision last January a Mississippi federal district court held that Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act did not require a Mississippi county to allow a female juvenile detention officer who had converted to the Pentecostal faith to wear a skirt rather than pants at work.  However the court allowed plaintiff to proceed with her claim that her dismissal was in retaliation for her filing an EEOC complaint.  Now, on appeal, the 5th Circuit in Finnie v. Lee County, Mississippi, (5th Cir., Sept. 12, 2013), dismissed the retaliation claim.  The 5th Circuit applied the U.S. Supreme Court's decision from last year in University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar holding that in Title VII retaliation claims, plaintiff must show but-for causation, not merely a mixed motive. (See prior posting.) The 5th Circuit held that plaintiff failed to show that she would not have been terminated for violating the uniform requirement, if she had not filed an EEOC complaint.