Editor’s Note: This sponsored column is written by Mathew B. Tully of Tully Rinckey PLLC, an Arlington firm that specializes in federal employment and labor law, security clearance proceedings, and military law.
Q. Is it harder for men to prove sex discrimination than women?
A. Generally, men should not face a heavier burden for proving sex discrimination than women. Discrimination complaints or lawsuits filed by a member of a majority class, such as male, are referred to as “reverse discrimination” cases, and they are not uncommon. In fact, one-third of sex discrimination complaints filed in the federal sector in FY 2012 were filed by men, according to Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) statistics.
For standard discrimination cases in which a member of a minority class, such as female, black or disabled, courts require plaintiffs to initially show the following:
- they are members of a class protected under laws such as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act;
- they were qualified for the position for which they applied; and
- the employer’s rejection of their application gave “rise to an inference of discrimination.”
These factors form the basis of what is known as the McDonnell Douglas framework, so-named after the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court decision in which these factors were outlined, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals noted in McNaught v. Virginia Community College System (2013).
Over the years, as the 4th Circuit further noted in McNaught, appellate courts have reached differing opinions as to whether this standard framework — or a framework that placed a greater burden on majority class plaintiff — should be applied to reverse discrimination cases.
On one side there were five circuit courts, including the U.S. Circuit Court for the District of Columbia, that held majority class plaintiffs to a higher standard, requiring them to show “background circumstances that demonstrate that a particular employer has reason or inclination to discriminate invidiously against [majority groups]…or evidence that there is something ‘fishy’ about the facts at hand.”
Meanwhile, three other circuit courts just required majority class plaintiffs to show they satisfied the standard McDonnell Douglas framework.
For years, the 4th Circuit, which has jurisdiction over Virginia district courts, declined to pick a side in this standard-versus-enhanced framework debate. But that ended with the court’s decision in McNaught. The 4th Circuit decided to apply the standard framework, noting that the “application of the same test to both ‘ordinary’ discrimination plaintiffs and ‘reverse’ discrimination plaintiffs better reflects overarching principles expressed by the Supreme Court,” namely “that Title VII prohibited reverse discrimination ‘on the same terms’ as discrimination against minority groups.”
The bottom line is discrimination based on race, color, sex, gender, national origin, religion, disability, and age is unlawful. Employees who believe they have been subjected to discrimination based on any of these factors should immediately consult with an experienced employment law attorney.
Mathew B. Tully is the founding partner of Tully Rinckey PLLC. Located in Washington, D.C., Tully Rinckey PLLC’s attorneys practice federal employment law, military law, and security clearance representation. To speak with an attorney, call 703-525-4700 or to learn more visit fedattorney.com.
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The 44th Leeway Overlee Community Day and Yard Sale will be along the John Marshall Drive/Ohio Street greenway on Saturday, June 3 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. The community will be out in force to exchange information and greetings, sell unneeded household items, and pick up a few bargains.
About 100 families set up tables for the festivities, which take place along the six-block stretch of the greenway from near Langston Blvd. to Washington Blvd. Attendance is free, but a $10 fee will be collected from individuals and families selling household items during the event. Ensure that all goods and rubbish are removed from the greenway by 1 p.m. Leave dogs at home.
For more info, call 703-532-6101. If planning to sell, start labeling your items for sale NOW! Event will take place as long as there is not active rain. Rain date is June 10.
36TH FESTIVAL ARGENTINO
ARLINGTON JUNE 3RD, 2023
Sat, June 3rd I 3:30 pm / Shows 5:50 pm I Kenmore Auditorium I Glencarlyn
The 36th Festival Argentino USA celebrates Argentine Day and Cultural Freedom. The folkloric group Los 4 de Córdoba and 25 more artists from Argentina, World, and Solidarity Tribute, 200 years of friendship between USA and Argentina!.
Homebuying 101: Steps to Getting Pre-Approved
Are you ready to jump into homeownership or started considering it but don’t know where to start? Financial preparation is key when thinking about purchasing your first home and the first step to getting pre-approved.
Join ACFCU’s mortgage loan officers
4th of July Celebration & Fireworks
Treat yourself this Independence Day with a world-class, private 4th of July extravaganza at the Military Women’s Memorial – a premier National Capital Region site.
Great food, fun, and the best views of Washington DC’s spectacular fireworks display. Relax, enjoy,