Legal Memorandum: Retaliatory Discharge Claims in LA

Issue: What facts must be proved in order to establish that a termination was for legitimate, non-retaliatory reasons in Louisiana?

Area of Law: Uncategorized
Keywords: Termination of employee; Legitimate, non-retaliatory reasons
Jurisdiction: Federal, Louisiana
Cited Cases: None
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 05/01/2010

The framework for analyzing such retaliatory discharge claims is set forth in Mt. Healthy City Sch. Dist. Bd. of Educ. v. Doyle, 429 U.S. 274 (1977), and is summarized in Click v. Copeland, 970 F.2d 106 (5th Cir. 1992):

Under Mt. Healthy, the employee has the initial burden of demonstrating (1) that his conduct was protected by the First Amendment, and (2) that this conduct was a “substantial” or “motivating” factor in the employer’s action.  If the employee survives this threshold, the burden then shifts to the employer (3) to show, by a preponderance of the evidence, a legitimate reason for which it would have taken the same action against the employee even in the absence of this protected conduct.  The employee can then refute this assertion by showing that the employer’s proffered explanation is merely pretextual.


Id. at 113.  Budgetary concerns, poor performance, excessive absenteeism and numerous other employee failings have been deemed legitimate reasons for termination. 


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