Essentially, the Court made it harder for employees to sue their employers over alleged retaliation and harassment in the workplace at a time when more people are finding their voices to speak up for themselves.
New York, New York (PRWEB) July 04, 2013
In two employment cases, the Supreme Court decided by a 5-to-4 majority to make it more difficult for workers to demonstrate that they suffered job discrimination in their workplace, reported The New York Times (6.25.13). New York civil rights violation lawyer David Perecman agrees with the minority position in both cases.
“Essentially, the Court made it harder for employees to sue their employers over alleged retaliation and harassment in the workplace at a time when more people are finding their voices to speak up for themselves,” said Perecman.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 lets harassment victims hold employers responsible for supervisors' improper conduct. However, the law never defined what a supervisor was. To be a supervisor, the court said, an individual must have specific supervisory authority and functions in order for an employer to be held liable.
In Vance v. Ball State University, an African-American banquet worker at Ball State University accused the white woman she considered to be her supervisor of racial harassment. The court ruled that the person she accused of harassing her was considered a co-worker and not a supervisor. This distinction requires a higher burden of proof for the worker’s employer to be found liable for harassment, reported the New York Times. The burden of proof is lower when a supervisor rather than a co-worker committed the harassment.
In a dissent Perecman agreed with, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg warned that the decision would relieve employers of responsibility for the behavior of many of their supervisors.
In University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, a physician of Middle Eastern descent claimed that he faced hostile treatment from a hospital superior because of his religion and ethnic heritage. He also claimed that he had been retaliated against because he had complained of discrimination. The court held that the plaintiff must prove that "but for" having enforced his rights, retaliation would not have happened.
Writing the dissent, Justice Ginsburg said the tougher standard for retaliation cases would undercut efforts to fight employment discrimination. She also warned of jury confusion, reported The New York Times. Perecman agreed with the dissent.
“Disappointingly, these two recent Supreme Court decisions appear to favor businesses, over people,” said Perecman.
The New York TImes article cited is "Supreme Court Raises Bar to Prove Job Discrimination."
Individuals who believe they have been victims of a New York civil rights violation, including sexual harassment or religious discrimination in the workplace can contact The Perecman Firm at 212-977-7033.
About David Perecman and The Perecman Firm, PLLC:
For the past 30 years, the New York civil rights violation, medical malpractice, construction accident, and auto accident lawyers at The Perecman Firm, PLLC have handled all types of civil rights violation cases including harassment and discrimination in New York. David Perecman, founder of the Firm, has been recognized for his achievements as an Honoree in the National Law Journal's Hall of Fame, in New York Magazine's "The Best Lawyers in America" and The New York Times Magazine "New York Super Lawyers, Metro Edition" for the years 2007-2010. The prestigious U.S. News & World Report ranks The Perecman Firm among the top 20 personal injury firms in New York City for 2011-2012 and 2012-2013.
The Firm has recovered millions of dollars for its clients. Among the more recent victories, Mr. Perecman won a $15 million verdict** for a construction accident (Index 112370/03) Supreme Court, New York County, a $5.35 million dollar verdict*** for an automobile accident (Index 2749/04) Supreme Court, Kings County, and a $40 million dollar structured settlement for medical malpractice (Index 2146/03)****Supreme Court, Kings County.
The Perecman Firm serves Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Long Island, Westchester, Upstate NY, Morris County, and Rockland County.
**later settled while on appeal for $7.940 million
*** later settled for $3.5 million
**** total potential payout
"Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome."