Publication Date


Document Type

Survey Article


The field of Employment Discrimination continued to be alive and well during the 2016 survey period. Although the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit continued its recent trend of issuing the vast majority of its employment discrimination cases as unpublished opinions (often per curiam opinions affirming a summary judgment for the employer), the court of appeals rendered far more published opinions during the survey period than has recently been its practice. The Eleventh Circuit issued six published Title VII opinions, and fifteen published employment discrimination opinions overall. For instance, in Villarreal v. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., the Eleventh Circuit, en banc, held that job applicants cannot sue an employer for disparate impact discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. In Peppers v. Cobb County, the court of appeals rendered a significant opinion on the concept of joint employers for purposes of Title VII and the various employment discrimination statutes. Finally, in Quigg v. Thomas County School District, the Eleventh Circuit rejected the utilization of the familiar McDonnell Douglas model of proof at the summary judgment stage in Title VII mixed motive actions.

The Supreme Court of the United States also made its contribution during the survey period. In Green v. Brennan, the Court decided when the statute of limitations begins to run in the context of a constructive discharge claim. In CRST Vann Expedited, Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the high court, in the midst of affirming a $4 million attorney fee award to the defendant employer, decided that a defendant does not need to obtain a favorable ruling on the merits in order to become a "prevailing party" under Title VII.