Alert
Close

Multiemployer pension cuts and what you need to know about pension provisions in 2015. Learn more

Donate

Be part of the solution.

Help AARP Foundation win back opportunity for struggling Americans 50 and over.

Charity Rating

AARP Foundation earns high rating for accountability from a leading charity evaluator. Read

about
Foundation

AARP Foundation is dedicated to serving vulnerable people 50+ by creating solutions that help them secure the essentials and achieve their best life. Read

 

Foundation Overview
Governance
Executive Leadership
Financial Information
Diversity Practices

Staub v. Proctor Hospital Amicus Brief

2010-11 preview of the U.S. Supreme Court

This case provides the Court with an opportunity to ensure that Congress’s intent in enacting USERRA will be implemented, and that an employer can be held liable for the bias of an official, even if that official did not make the final decision, if the plaintiff proves that the bias was a motivating factor for an adverse employment practice.

Under USERRA, a plaintiff establishes an unlawful employment practice by demonstrating that an individual’s military service was a “motivating factor” for an adverse employment practice, even though other factors also motivated the action. Amici ask the Court to hold that an employer can be held liable under the express language of USERRA for the bias of a supervisor, even when the ultimate decision-maker harbored no discriminatory motive toward the affected employee. An employer can—and should—be held liable whenever unlawful animus is a “motivating factor” in an employment decision, provided that applicable agency requirements are met.

Clarifying this principle will further USERRA’s primary purpose of encouraging military service by protecting service members from employment discrimination. For, in order for the “motivating factor” language to be meaningful, USERRA must provide for employer liability for the biased actions of employees.

Well-established agency principles impute to an employer the actions of an employee committed within the scope of employment, or those that are “aided by” the agency relationship. Accordingly, an employer may be held liable for acts committed by biased supervisors if such actions result in an adverse employment practice against an employee in a protected class. This finding of agency does not hinge on whether the biased supervisor is the ultimate decision-maker.

USERRA also gives employers a defense. Even if the jury concludes that a person’s individual military service was a motivating factor, an employer still avoids liability under the statute if the employer can prove that it would have taken the same action “in the absence of” the employee’s military service, which is an issue of fact that must be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Topic Alerts

You can get weekly email alerts on the topics below. Just click “Follow.”

Manage Alerts

Processing

Please wait...

progress bar, please wait

Search Legal Advocacy

Find
Legal Cases

Find the most recent cases in which AFL has advocated in courts nationwide for the rights of older persons, and filed AARP’s amicus curiae (“friend of the court”) briefs that help courts decide precedent-setting cases.

Make a Difference. Donate.

Make a Difference — support programs that help vulnerable seniors who are struggling to make ends meet.