Disparate Treatment Employment Discrimination and an Employer’s Good Faith: Honest Mistakes, Benign Motives, and Other Sincerely Held Beliefs
60 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2010
Date Written: June 23, 2010
When does an employer’s “good faith” constitute a defense to a charge of intentional employment discrimination? Suppose an employer terminates an employee because of an honest, but mistaken, belief that the employee stole merchandise? Or suppose an employer desires to hire a female but truly believes that, if he does so, his customers will not patronize his business and the business will collapse? Or suppose an employer honestly believes that women are better drivers and therefore hires only women? Or suppose an employer fires a black employee because the employee is a Gemini and the employer genuinely believes that Geminis are bad employees? Or suppose an employer sincerely believes Geminis are better workers and therefore pays a (male) Gemini worker more than a (female) Capricorn? Or suppose an employer engages in intentional discrimination for a lofty, idealistic purpose?
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