The U.S. Supreme Court completed its 2008-09 term. On the docket were five cases of interest dealing with employment law.  Here is a summary of the holdings in those cases.

  • Crawford v. Metropolitan Gov’t of Nashville and Davidson County, Tenn., (2009) An employee’s participation in an employer’s internal harassment investigation by responding to the employer’s questions may constitute protected oppositional activity under Title VII that would support a retaliation claim. 
  • 14 Penn Plaza LLC v. Pyett, (2009) Provisions in collective bargaining agreements that clearly and unmistakably require union members to submit statutory discrimination claims to the grievance and dispute resolution provisions of the agreement are binding and enforceable on the bargaining unit members.  More detail here.
  • AT&T Corp. v. Hulteen(2009) An employer does not necessarily violate the Pregnancy Discrimination Act when it calculates and pays pension benefits based on an accrual rule that applied only pre-PDA, and gives less retirement credit for pregnancy leave than for other medical leave.
  • Gross v. FBL Financial Services, Inc., (2009)  A plaintiff asserting an age discrimination claim under a disparate (i.e., intentional) treatment theory must prove that age was the “but for” cause of the challenged employment action and the burden of proof never shifts to the employer to show that it would have taken the same action regardless of the age of the plaintiff.  More detail here.
  • Ricci v. DeStefano, (2009)  An employer can avoid Title VII disparate-impact liability related to a promotional exam having a disparate impact on minorities if the employer can show a strong basis in evidence that, had it not certified the results, if would have been subject to disparate-treatment liability.  More detail here.