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Total Articles: 5

Eleventh Circuit Opinion Clarifies Definition of ‘Similarly Situated’ Comparators

On March 21, 2019, finding in favor of an employer seeking summary judgment, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, in Lewis v. City of Union City, clarified the definition of “similarly situated” comparators for claims of intentional discrimination, jettisoning the commonly cited “nearly identical” and “same or similar” standards in favor of a test asking whether comparators are “similarly situated in all material respects.” Although the appellate court—which covers Florida, Georgia, and Alabama—acknowledged that this new test still requires an inquiry into the specific facts of each case, it offered some guideposts that may help inform employers’ business decisions regarding employees.

Eleventh Circuit Clarifies Standard for Identifying Comparators in Title VII and ADA Discrimination Cases

Executive Summary: On March 21, 2019, in Lewis v. Union City, No. 15-11362, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit (1) clarified the proper standard for the comparator analysis in intentional discrimination cases under the McDonnell Douglas burden-shifting framework and (2) held that a qualitative comparator analysis remains part of the initial prima facie stage of the McDonnell Douglas framework.

Second Circuit Refines Title VII Pleading Standard

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently remanded a former employee’s racial discrimination lawsuit brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In Littlejohn v. City of New York, No. 14-1395 (August 3, 2015), the court held that the “plausibility” standard for pleadings espoused in Twombly and Iqbal applies to Title VII claims, insofar as the plaintiff need only provide “plausible support to a minimal inference of discriminatory motivation.”

Insubordinate Employee Does Not Meet Employer’s Legitimate Expectations.

Unless an individual can prove that she is meeting the expectations of her employer, that individual cannot set forth the prima facie case necessary to support a claim of workplace discrimination. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has found that an employee who was fired for insubordination was not meeting an employer’s legitimate business expectations after she engaged in arguments with her co-workers, the general manager, and the owner of the business. The Court further found that the insubordination was a non-discriminatory reason that overcame the employee’s claim that her termination for insubordination was a “pretext” for discrimination.

Professor's Claim of Unequal Funding Does Not Implicate Title VII (pdf).

Third Circuit also rejects retaliation claim.
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