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Law Offices of Dan A. Atkerson

5 Very Important Workplace Discrimination Cases Americans Should Know

By Dan Atkerson on December 18, 2015

Group of Multiethnic Diverse Business PeopleOver the years, there have been a great number of workplace discrimination cases that have affected equality in employment. Many of these cases set precedents that still protect employees today. Here are five very important cases every employee should know.

  • McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green – The Supreme Court ruled in this case that a plaintiff may prove indirect workplace discrimination if:
    • They are covered by Title VII protected classes
    • They are qualified for the position for which they applied
    • They are not offered the job
    • The employer continues to seek candidates with similar qualifications

 The employer must have a legitimate reason for not hiring the qualified    candidate. If they cannot give a reason that is not discriminatory, then the    employee may sue for discrimination.

  • Espinoza v. Farah Manufacturing Co. – According to a Supreme Court decision, non-citizens are also protected under Title VII. In addition, requiring proof of citizenship may constitute national origin discrimination.
  • Trans World Airlines, Inc. v. Hardison – The Supreme Court rules that employers must make reasonable accommodations for an employee’s religious practices, unless doing so would cause undue hardship, which the court defines as anything more than minimal cost.
  • O’Connor v. Consolidated Coin Caterers Corp. – A Supreme Court judgement states that plaintiffs in an age discrimination case are not required to show that they were replaced by someone under 40 after being terminated.
  • Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services – A unanimous decision from the Supreme Court rules that sex discrimination by same-sex harassment is prohibited under Title VII. The court holds that a plaintiff must show discrimination based on sex and the harassment was extreme.

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