In a ruling that has broad favorable implications for
In its unanimous, 20-page opinion in Rosenfeld v.
"In its opinion, the court basically said that if a plaintiff fails to take advantage of an employer's reasonable internal grievance procedures, then a jury should be able to consider this when assessing whether the plaintiff suffered damages in a discrimination case," Robison said. "Prior to this ruling, it was more difficult for employers to argue that a jury should consider such information in discrimination suits, as opposed to harassment suits. The opinion arguably broadens the value of a good policy to cover a wider range of claims."
The Court also clarified when plaintiffs can make use of the so-called "disparate impact" legal theory of discrimination, he said.
"Under this theory, counsel for employees often say it doesn't matter whether the employer had intent to discriminate," Robison explained. "Rather, they argue that the employee belongs to a 'protected class' and that the employers' policies or actions simply impacted the employee negatively, regardless of intent. Because intent to discriminate is more difficult to prove, the theory arguably offer employees an advantage. "
Here, the Court agreed that plaintiff resorted to a disparate impact theory late in the case after initially relying on a more conventional approach. As Robison successfully argued during the seven-week trial, this constituted a failure to provide the defendant with fair notice.
"The appeals court agreed with us and, in so many words, said to plaintiff, 'You can't cloak a disparate impact claim within a traditional disparate treatment suit. You must plead it and give notice, so the employer has a chance to defend itself,'" Robison said. "This opinion is valuable because there's heightened scrutiny of employment practices for potential disparate impact in
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Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/06/prweb11959998.htm
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