Employment Discrimination: U.S. Supreme Court Cases
Created by FindLaw's team of legal writers and editors | Last reviewed July 28, 2017
Making a living is vital not only to our survival needs, but steady employment can also contribute to self worth and confidence. When employees are treated differently due to a personal characteristic such as sex, it is unfair and unjust. Therefore, it is not surprising that employment discrimination is a major civil rights violation. The U.S. Supreme Court has tackled this issue on various occasions and strives to promote working conditions that allow employees to work without the threat of unfair treatment.
Below is a list of U.S. Supreme Court cases involving employees' rights and employment discrimination, including links to the full text of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions.
- Griggs v. Duke Power Co. (1971) In this case, the Supreme Court decided that certain education requirements and intelligence tests used as conditions of employment acted to exclude African American job applicants, did not relate to job performance, and were prohibited.
- Cleveland Bd. of Ed. v. LaFleur (1974) The Supreme Court found that Ohio public school mandatory maternity leave rules for pregnant teachers violate constitutional guarantees of due process.
- Meritor Savings Bank v. Vinson (1986) The Court held that a claim of "hostile environment" sexual harassment is a form of sex discrimination that may be brought under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- Johnson v. Transportation Agency (1987) The Court decided that a county transportation agency appropriately took into account an employee's sex as one factor in determining whether she should be promoted.
- Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins (1989) The Supreme Court ruled that employment discrimination based on sex stereotypes is recognized as unlawful sexual discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- Burlington Industries, Inc. Ellerth (1998) In this case the Court held that an employee who refuses unwelcome and threatening sexual advances of a supervisor (but suffers no real job consequences) may recover against the employer without showing the employer is at fault for the supervisor's actions.
- Faragher v. City of Boca Raton (1998) The Court decided that an employer may be liable for sexual discrimination caused by a supervisor, but liability depends on the reasonableness of the employer's conduct, as well as the reasonableness of the plaintiff victim's conduct.
- Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Serv., Inc. (1998) In this case, the Court held that sex discrimination consisting of same-sex sexual harassment can form the basis for a valid claim under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
- Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Abercrombie & Fitch Stores, Inc. (2015) The Court ruled that a job applicant does not have to explicitly request an accommodation to obtain protection from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits religious discrimination in hiring.
Contact an Attorney about Your Employment Discrimination Claim
The Supreme Court employment cases encourage a discrimination-free work place. Are you an employee who has been denied promotions, harassed on the job, or otherwise discriminated against on the basis of your nationality, race, sex, or some other protected trait? Protect your rights and find out if you have an employment discrimination claim. Get started by contacting an attorney well-versed in discrimination claims.
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