February 8, 2013
San Francisco, Calif. – The California Supreme Court has narrowed employers’ liability in employment discrimination suits Thursday, a news report said.
In the decision, if employers can prove that the fired employee would have been terminated anyway for legitimate reasons, the latter cannot collect damages.
This victory for employers is not absolute, however. According to the unanimous ruling, employers can still be required to pay attorneys’ fees if the defendant can prove that discrimination was a “substantial motivating factor” for the termination.
Employment lawyer Paul Crane claims that the decision is a “welcome improvement” for employers because it will prevent “a windfall to persons who lost their jobs for legitimate reasons.”
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Kristen of the San Francisco Legal Aid Society’s Employment Law Center said that the decision was “a victory that employers didn’t get everything.”
She added that similar standards, which the U.S. Supreme Court had established in 1991 for federal civil rights suits, have been proven workable.