Slicing & Dicing of Individual Disparate Treatment Law
Louisiana Law Review, Vol. 61, p. 577, 2001
28 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2009
Date Written: September 1, 2001
This article discusses the decision of the Supreme Court in Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Products, Inc., which may be an even more important individual disparate treatment case than the Supreme Court's 1993 decisions in Hazen Paper and St. Mary's Honor Center v. Hicks. After Hicks, the court had not yet seemed to set the prima facie case thresh hold high enough to permit the proven prima facie case to support a sufficiently strong inference of discrimination to mandate judgment for the plaintiff when combined only with disbelief of the employer's stated justification. The Court has still not resolved that question. The evidence supporting the prima facie case plus evidence that defendant's reason is false does support a fact finder drawing the inference of intent to discriminate. Further, in reviewing that evidence for the purpose of deciding motions for summary judgment and judgment as a matter of law, the Court indicated that every inference must be drawn in favor of the non moving party, typically the plaintiff. Still, judgment for the plaintiff is not mandated. Alternatively, Reeves may be important, but more limited, overturning the pretext plus rule further narrowed in Hazen Paper and Hicks, but leaving intact the common practice of courts in slicing and dicing the evidence supporting a plaintiff's case in order to grant motions for summary judgment and judgment as a matter of law.
Keywords: individual disparate treatment discrimination, employment discrimination, summary judgment
JEL Classification: J7, J70, J71, K31, K4, K41
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation