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Supreme Court: Title VII Retaliation Claims Require ‘But-For’ Causation

In University of Texas Southwestern Medical Ctr. v. Nassar, a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on June 24, 2013 that retaliation claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 must be proven using a “but-for” causation standard, rejecting an employee’s argument that the lower standard of “motivating factor” should be used.  The Court refused to defer to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s guidance manual on this issue on which the employee relied. This is a helpful decision for employers as they continue to be confronted with increasing numbers of retaliation claims and could help get retaliation claims disposed of much quicker and with limited expense.

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