In some New Jersey discrimination and retaliation cases, the employer’s action may be motivated plainly by discriminatory intent. In a lot of cases, though, employers are motivated in the actions they take by a mixture of discriminatory bases and legitimate bases. An important new decision from the federal Third Circuit Court of Appeals, whose decisions cover New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, decided that an employee could use a mixed-motive theory in his case alleging that his employer discriminated against him for using Family and Medical Leave Act leave. Understanding all of the methods for pursuing your discrimination case and properly employing the right ones is just one of a wide array of areas in which your New Jersey discrimination attorney can provide invaluable aid to your case.
The plaintiff in the recent federal case was a man who took a job as a projects manager in 2008. At that time, he had suffered from migraines for 13 years, dating back to a 1995 accident. In March 2012, the employer transferred the manager to its engineering department. The job transfer almost immediately triggered a spike in the manager’s migraine problems. Just one month later, he applied for FMLA leave and was approved for intermittent FMLA leave.
By the following October, the employer terminated the manager. The manager sued, asserting a claim that, among other things, the employer discriminated against him for his seeking and using FMLA leave. The manager’s case asserted that the employer was motivated by a mixture of legitimate and discriminatory reasons, which is known as a “mixed-motive” theory of liability. In some situations, an employee’s case may assert that the employer’s motivation was completely discriminatory, but, in many cases, the employer is driven by a mixture of legitimate and improper impulses.