June 24, 2013

Julie M. Strandlie, Legislative & Public Policy Director
(202) 898-2880 ext. 115; jstrandlie@nelahq.org


U.S. Supreme Court Weakens Workplace Protections Under Title VII
NELA Implores Congress To Act

(San Francisco, CA) – Terisa E. Chaw, Executive Director of the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), issued the following statement on today's 5-4 decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court in Vance v. Ball State University (Case No. 11-556) restricting the definition of supervisor to only those with the power to take a "tangible employment action," and University of Texas Southwest Medical Center v. Nassar (Case No. 12-484) requiring employees to show that retaliation was the "but-for" cause of the employer's actions:

"Today a slim majority of the U.S. Supreme Court demonstrated yet again a deep misunderstanding of the realities of the workplace by rejecting decades of interpretative guidance by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and raising the bar for employees who seek to be free from illegal employment discrimination and retaliation.

As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said from the bench: 'Both decisions dilute the strength of Title VII [of the Civil Rights Act of 1964] in ways Congress could not have intended....the ball again lies in Congress' court to correct this Court's wayward interpretations of Title VII.'

NELA calls upon Congress to pass legislation that reaffirms the original purposes of Title VII?to eradicate workplace discrimination and retaliation in all its forms, and to break down barriers erected by the courts that prevent workers from meaningfully redressing violations of their rights."

For more information on NELA's amicus briefs in both cases, visit the NELA website at: www.nela.org/amicus.

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The National Employment Lawyers Association advances employee rights and serves lawyers who advocate for equality and justice in the American workplace. NELA provides assistance and support to lawyers in protecting the rights of employees against the greater resources of their employers and the defense bar. It is the country's largest professional organization exclusively comprised of lawyers who represent individual employees in cases involving employment discrimination and other employment-related matters. NELA and its 68 circuit, state, and local affiliates have more than 3,000 members around the country.
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