Monday, December 03, 2007

On proving discriminatory motive

ACS has this guest post, about the case before the Supreme Court called Sprint/United Management Co. v. Mendelsohn.

The issue is about whether in an employment discrimination case the plaintiff can attempt to prove discriminatory intent by the use of "'other supervisor' evidence — evidence that an employer's supervisors, other than the one who supervised the plaintiff, may also have engaged in acts of discrimination; and 'culture evidence' — evidence of a pattern and practice of discrimination."

Having litigated illegal motive a few times, part of me says - balderdash. Company-wide "culture" is as variable as anything else under the sun - some have it, some don't. A blanket rule on "culture" evidence as regards the intentional discrimination claims of individuals seems to me wrong, whichever way it goes, and the same goes for "other supervisor" evidence, except that I can't recall a case where the motives of some remote supervisor would have convinced me of anything.

The cert petition suggests there is dictum from the Fourth Circuit that comes down against the use of "me too" evidence, citing Honor v. Booz-Allen & Hamilton, Inc., 383 F.3d 180 (4th Cir. 2004). The brief in opposition questioned this reference.

No comments: