Brown v. Wal-Mart Stores East, LP
Opinion Date: August 14, 2020
Judge: Stephen Andrew Higginson
Areas of Law: Civil Rights, Constitutional Law, Labor & Employment Law
Plaintiff filed suit against Wal-Mart for retaliation and wrongful termination and an assistant manager at Wal-Mart for tortious interference with an employment contract. Plaintiff alleged that she was fired after she reported her supervisor for sexually harassing other Wal-Mart employees. Wal-Mart alleged that plaintiff was terminated because she violated Wal-Mart’s Investigation and Detention of Shoplifters Policy. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants, holding that plaintiff has met her prima facie burden of causation by showing close enough timing between the protected activity and the adverse employment action. However, the temporal proximity between plaintiff's protected activity and her termination is relevant to, but not alone sufficient to demonstrate, pretext. The court also held that a reasonable jury could not find that the supervisor's actions were the but-for cause of Wal-Mart's termination of plaintiff based on the record.
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