University of Texas v. Nassar

Issue: Labor/Employment
Court: U.S. Supreme Court

Term: October 2102
Oral Argument: April 2013
Vote: 5-4
Opinion: Justice Kennedy
Lower Court: U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Question Presented:
Whether Title VII's retaliation provision and similarly worded statutes require a plaintiff to prove but-for causation (i.e., that an employer would not have taken an adverse employment action but for an improper motive), or instead require only proof that the employer had a mixed motive (i.e., that an improper motive was one of multiple reasons for the employment action).

RLC's Position:
The RLC asked the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse the Fifth Circuit’s decision and find that Title VII’s anti-retaliation provision requires a plaintiff to prove but-for causation and that a “mixed motive” is insufficient for employer liability.

Case Outcome:
The Court held that Title VII retaliation claims must prove but-for causation, and not the lesser mixed-motive test. Case vacated and remanded.

Procedural History and Case Documents:



 

 


 

 

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