In case you slept late this morning, you missed a flurry of activity in the world of employment law. The U.S. Supreme Court issued a trio of decisions which affect workplace relations. In Vance v. Ball State University, the Court held that a supervisor for purposes of vicarious liability under Title VII is a someone whom the employer empowers to take tangible employment actions against the victim. In University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Nassar, the Court found that retaliation claims under Title VII require proof of “but for” causation, rather than the lower standard of proof the plaintiff’s bar offered. Finally, in Fisher v. University of Texas At Austin, the Court found that affirmative action in education was still permissible, but nonetheless remanded the case to the Fifth Circuit because the appeals court did not apply the appropriate test for strict scrutiny of race-based decisions.
In other significant news, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the Noel Canning decision from the D.C. Circuit which had found that the President’s recess appointments to the NLRB were invalid and that the Board did not have a proper quorum. And, last week, the Court continued its assault against class actions in American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, finding that contractual waivers of class arbitration continue to be enforceable, even if the plaintiff’s cost of litigation exceed her potential recovery.
Stay tuned to the blog for updates on these recent developments in the upcoming days.
- Dan Handman