Bloomberg BNA Quotes Pratik Shah on SCOTUS Title VII Decision

Akin Gump Supreme Court practice head Pratik Shah was quoted by Bloomberg BNA for its article “High Court's Title VII Rulings Pose Problems For Plaintiffs,” on two 2013 U.S. Supreme Court rulings interpreting Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Regarding the Court’s decision in Vance v. Ball State University, which held that “an employee is a ‘supervisor’ for purposes of vicarious liability under Title VII only if he or she is empowered by the employer to take tangible employment actions against the victim,” Shah said the result was not surprising, but the breadth of opinion was startling. He noted that this “incredibly aggressive” decision, written by Justice Samuel Alito, gave the employer “more than it asked for” by using the 7th Circuit standard for consideration as a Title VII supervisor.

Shah also noted that the Court seemed to give “no deference” to previous Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Department of Labor interpretations in subjecting the EEOC’s interpretation in Vance what he characterized as a “purely de novo review.

Shah’s remarks were given as a speaker at the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law’s National Conference on Equal Employment Opportunity.