Employment-Discrimination-Law-Caldwell-Sp05 - EMPLOYMENT...

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SPRING 2005, PROF. CALDWELL I. INDIVIDUAL DISPARATE TREATMENT DISCRIMINATION *Employer treats some people less favorably than others because of [some protected characteristic] *Proof of discriminatory motive is critical (in some situations it can be inferred from the mere fact of differences in treatment) MEANING OF DISCRIMINATORY INTENT Slack v. Havens (9 th Cir. 1975): Black employees told they must do janitorial assignment in their dept while a white woman was excused. Immediate supervisor explains “Colored people should stay in their places, they are hired to clean because they clean better” – black employees refuse assignment, were fired and sued. - Trier of fact makes determination based upon reasonable inferences drawn from totality of the facts, conglomerate of activities and entire web of circumstances presented by the evidence on the record as a whole. - Griggs v. Duke Power : mandates that court look beyond appellants’ alleged lack of intent to discriminate and consider the consequences of the employment practices in question. - This case = reasonable determination by court that found discrimination in terms and conditions of employment applied to appellees. - ALSO: this case offers test for SUCCESSOR CORPORATION LIABILITY. (p. 4, case printout) Hazen Paper v. Biggins (US 1993): Employee discharged (allegedly for doing business with competitors) weeks before pension was to vest. Brings suit under ADEA and ERISA. - HELD: Decision based on years of service is not necessarily age based – age and years of service are analytically distinct. Firing employee in order to prevent pension benefits from vesting does not, without more, violate ADEA (though does violate ERISA!) - Employer cannot rely on age as proxy for employee’s remaining characteristics, i.e. productivity, competency, etc. - For disparate treatment, liability depends upon whether the protected trait actually motivated employer’s decision and had determinative influence on outcome. - ALSO: liquidated damages for ADEA violation depends on whether the violation was willful. See Thurston – standard is “if employer knew or showed reckless disregard for the matter or whether its conduct was prohibited by the ADEA.” Congress aimed to create a “two-tiered” liability scheme under which some, but not all, violations would give rise to liquidated damages. So NOT standard of “whether employer knew that ADEA was in the picture” which would virtually obliterate any distinction between willful and nonwillful violations. If employer incorrectly but in good faith and nonrecklessly believes that the statute permits a particular age-based decision, then liquidated damages should not be imposed. 1
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This note was uploaded on 04/04/2008 for the course LAW ALL taught by Professor Multiple during the Fall '06 term at NYU.

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Employment-Discrimination-Law-Caldwell-Sp05 - EMPLOYMENT...

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