Wednesday, April 14, 2004

Suspension without pay followed by reinstatement with pay is still adverse employment action

In White v. Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co., the majority of the Sixth Circuit sitting en banc concluded that the employer's actions in suspending the plaintiff without pay then reinstating her and paying back wages was enough of an adverse employment action to be actionable as a retaliation claim under Title VII.

Also, the en banc court ruled that the burden of proof for punitive damages under Title VII and 1981a is simply the usual preponderance of the evidence, rather than clear and convincing evidence. The dissent on the burden of proof issue attaches a lengthy appendix summarizing state law cases dealing with the burden of proof for punitive damages.

Well, I got the "clear and convincing" language in a section 1983 case some years ago, and the issue was not even litigated whether that was proper, but maybe state law is incorporated somehow into section 1983 cases by means of section 1988(a), which wouldn't be true of Title VII cases under 1981a (or something like that).

No comments: