Case Law Update
Because employers have taken it on the chin recently by the courts and the Legislature, it's important to celebrate the occasional employer victories. In a case decided on March 21, 2019, arising out of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals , the Court ruled that in race or gender bias suits, the aggrieved employee must prove that whomever they use as a comparison to demonstrate bias must be "similarly situated in all material respects." This seemingly obvious conclusion clarifies (at least in the 11th Circuit) something that most employers understand. Many factors are involved in evaluating employee performance and compensation. These other factors tend to counter an employee's subjective belief about bias as the basis for an adverse employment decision. The Court reasoned that the "all material respects" comparison standard gives employers "necessary breathing space" to make business decisions, and a shot at early summary judgment.
Let's hope that this continues a trend in the Court's favoring of rational employment policy that benefits employees and employers.
Stephanie M. Stringer, Hall Griffin, Associate
John A Cone, Jr., Hall Griffin, Of Counsel
1 Lewis v. City of Union City, Georgia, et al No. 15-11362