In the case of University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center v. Naiel Nassar, Nassar sued the university for discrimination and retaliation.
Nassar, who was a physician and faculty member at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, claims that his boss, Dr. Beth Levine, harassed him because of his Muslim religion and Arab ethnic heritage.
Nassar complained about the alleged harassment to another supervisor and eventually resigned his faculty position and tried to get a job as a staff physician at the medical center where he would not have to report to Levine.
Nassar sent a letter to a number of colleagues explaining that he was resigning because of Levine’s alleged harassment.
The University subsequently rescinded its offer to Nassar on the grounds that the job offer was not consistent with the affiliation agreement’s requirement that all medical center staff physicians need to also be faculty members of the University of Texas.
Nassar claims that the withdrawal of his job offer was retaliation for complaining about the harassment, and a jury found for Nassar and awarded him $400,000 in back pay and over $3 million in compensatory damages. The compensatory damages were later reduced to $300,000.
An appeals court upheld the jury’s decision, and the university appealed the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court ruled for the university, deciding that an employee suing for retaliation must prove that the employee’s allegation of discrimination was the cause of the alleged retaliation and not just a motivating factor in the alleged retaliation.
[Image: Rob Crawley]