Legal Memorandum: Rebuttal of Evidence in Adverse Employment Case

Issue: Under federal case law, how does an employee rebut evidence that an adverse employment action was taken for legitimate business reasons?

Area of Law: Employee Law, Litigation & Procedure
Keywords: Adverse employment action; Rebuttal of evidence; Legitimate business reasons
Jurisdiction: Federal
Cited Cases: 509 U.S. 502; 304 F.3d 63
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 05/01/2004

To rebut an employer’s evidence that an employment action was taken for legitimate business reasons, an employee must prove that the reason is false and discrimination is the real reason.  St. Mary’s Honor Ctr. v. Hicks, 509 U.S. 502, 515 (1993).  However, a court or administrative agency cannot “sit as a super-personnel department that reexamines an entity’s business decisions. . . . No matter how medieval a firm’s practices, no matter how high-handed its decisional process, no matter how mistaken the firm’s managers, the [law] does not interfere.”  Michnig v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 864 F.2d 1359, 1365 (7th Cir. 1988) (citations omitted) (ADA case), cited in Gonzalez v. El Dia, Inc., 304 F.3d 63, 69 (1st Cir. 2002) (ADEA case).


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