Ortiz overrules 10 Seventh Circuit cases

This post continues our discussion of Ortiz. In Ortiz, the Seventh Circuit worried that the direct and indirect frameworks distract trial court judges away from the real substantive issue in a disparate treatment case: whether a protected trait played a role in a negative employment action.

Ortiz recognizes that the core question of discrimination law had been lost in the morass of frameworks the courts created to evaluate discrimination cases. The opinion now requires judges in the Seventh Circuit to focus on a more straightforward approach to discrimination cases. Looking at the evidence as whole could a reasonable jury find that the worker’s protected trait played a negative role in the challenged employment decision?  If the answer to this question is yes, a jury should determine whether discrimination occurred. If the answer is no, then summary judgment is appropriate.

The Ortiz case overrules 10 Seventh Circuit cases to the extent that those cases segregated facts into the direct and indirect tests and treated those tests as if they established the elements of a discrimination claim.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s