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U.S. Supreme Court Limits Employee Rights Under Title VII.

gavelYesterday, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two opinons limiting an employee’s rights under Title VII.

Title VII retaliation claims must be proved according to traditional principles of but-for causation, not the lessened causation test stated in §2000e–2(m).

In University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, the Court held that in retaliation cases – as opposed to discrimination cases – the employee’s protected activity must be the “but-for” cause of the adverse employment action. Thus, if it were not for the This is in comparison to the “motivating factor” standard – where the protected status need only be one of many factors contributing to the adverse employment action – used in discrimination cases since Congress amended Title VII in 1991.

An employee is a “supervisor” for purposes of vicarious liability under Title VII only if he or she is empowered by the employer to take tangible employment actions against the victim.

In Vance v. Ball State, the Court held that an employer is only vicariously liable for the actions of a supervisor if that supervisor had the power to take a tangible employment action (e.g., demoting, terminating, etc.) against the employee bringing the claim.

At least we have the 75th anniversary of the Fair Labor Standards Act to celebrate today.


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