Just How Hard is it to Prove Pretext? SDTX Holds that EEOC “Cause” Finding and Allegations of Falsified Evidence are Not Enough
On August 30, 2022, the Southern District of Texas issued its opinion in Love v. University of St. Thomas, a case that highlights the significant burden that employees must overcome in the burden shifting analysis used by courts in employment discrimination and retaliation claims. In the absence of direct evidence of discrimination or retaliation, courts follow the United States Supreme Court’s McDonnell-Douglas framework to determine whether an employer engaged in illegal conduct. Under this framework, an employee challenging an adverse employment action must first establish a prima facie case of discrimination or retaliation before the burden shifts to the employer to provide a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for the action taken. Once the employer proffers such a reason, the burden shifts back to the employee to show that the stated reason is a pretext for discrimination or retaliation.