(The Return of) Ignatz, by Sam Heldman

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

law blogging
Two good employment-related decisions from the Supreme Court in the last couple of days.

In Jackson v. B'ham Bd. of Ed., the Court held that a coach may sue if he suffers retaliation by his employer for complaining about unequal treatment of girls' sports teams. More generally (and more technically), there is such a thing as a claim for retaliation under Title IX. This had been a question, because the statute only speaks in terms of outlawing "discrimination," whereas some other statutes specifically outlaw retaliation as well. However, the Court held that the word "discrimination" in Title IX encompasses retaliation, especially because not long before the enactment of Title IX the Supreme Court had interpreted the word "discrimination" in another civil rights statute as encompassing retaliation. If Congress didn't mean to adopt that interpretation when enacting Title IX, says the Court, they would have said so. This just goes to show that the impact of Supreme Court Justices can live on, in direct and indirect ways, long after they are gone.

In Smith v. City of Jackson, the Court held that employees may bring suit under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act not only for intentional discrimination (where the boss is in fact motivated by the employee's age) but also for disparate impact discrimination (where the employee is subjected to some test, standard, rule, etc., that impacts older workers more heavily than younger workers). In so ruling, the Court did make some qualifications and "but"s and "still"s, and so such cases will not be easy (for instance, the Court said that the particular claim in this case would fail) -- but they can be brought. Blogger and Supreme Court expert advocate Tom Goldstein handled the case for the employees and did a great job.

posted by sam 11:49 AM 1 comments


Thanks. Thanks very much. Although I've not actually looked for such, yours is the only blog I know of focusing almost solely on legal issues. Since law is one of those informational areas "owned" by those trained in it's ways, I find reading this very enlightening. BTW, I work in IT so I know a bit about knowledge "owned" by it's practitioners...just ask my family when they need computer help. Keep up the great work, and thanks again for taking the time to share it with us.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:20 PM  

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