Hugh Lawson III

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In Wallace v. Dunn Construction Co. the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals faced an issue of first impression in the circuit: the role of after-acquired evidence in actions arising under federal employment discrimination statutes, namely Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act. The court held that after-acquired evidence cases in which an employer discovers evidence constituting a permissible reason for discharging an employee after that employee has already been discharged for an impermissible reason are distinguishable from mixed-motive cases in which an employer discharges an employee for several reasons, some permissible and some impermissible, but all known to the employer at the time of discharge. The court further held that different rules apply in each situation, and that the presence of after-acquired evidence may decrease the amount of attorney fees awarded to a prevailing employee. In so holding, the court devised a solution to the after-acquired evidence problem too complicated to be feasible.