An ADA discrimination plaintiff must show that the adverse employment action would not have occurred

An employee plaintiff bringing a disability discrimination claim under 42 U.S.C. §12112 must show that an adverse employment action would not have occurred but for the disability. (Murray v. Mayo Clinic - filed Aug. 20, 2019 - 2019 S.O.S. 17-16803.)

The Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has affirmed a district court’s judgment, after a jury trial, in favor of the defendants in an employment discrimination action under Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Court of Appeals held that the district court correctly instructed the jury to apply a but for causation standard, rather than a motivating factor standard. The panel concluded that Head v. Glacier Northwest, Inc., 413 F.3d 1053 (9th Cir. 2005), holding that ADA discrimination claims are evaluated under a motivating factor causation standard, is no longer good law because its reasoning is clearly irreconcilable with the Supreme Court’s rulings in Gross v. FBL Fin. Servs., Inc., 557 U.S. 167 (2009), and Univ. of Texas Southwestern Med. Ctr. v. Nassar, 570 U.S. 338 (2013). Agreeing with other circuits, the panel held that an ADA discrimination plaintiff bringing a claim under 42 U.S.C. § 12112 must show that the adverse employment action would not have occurred but for the disability.


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