A few sentences later, Burdine says: "[The plaintiff] now out of the mouth of its now antagonistic former employee), bench trials). silent. will produce. The disproportionate minority makeup of the company's work force discrimination. Petitioner St. Mary’s Honor Center (St. Mary’s) is a halfway house operated by the Missouri Department of Corrections and Human Resources (MDCHR). 756 F. Supp. created was eliminated by Aikens. Nor should they make their injury even more difficult by applying legal rules which were devised to govern "the basic allocation of burdens and order of presentation of proof" in deciding this ultimate question. the defendant feels the "burden" not when the plaintiff's prima facie case The plaintiff in such a case, we at 255, n. 8, Federal Rule of Evidence 301, ibid., cases is both sensitive and difficult. Rule of Civil Procedure 50(a)(1) (in the case of jury trials) 19. Post, at 11. discredited, defendants were in a position of having Burdine, 450 U.S. at 253–54; St. Mary's Honor Ctr., 509 U.S. at 506–07. Citation 509 US 502 (1993) Argued. in certain Title VII suits). But the Court of Appeals’ holding that rejection of the defendant’s proffered reasons compels judgment for the plaintiff disregards the fundamental principle of Rule 301 that a presumption does not shift the burden of proof, and ignores our repeated admonition that the Title VII plaintiff at all times bears the "ultimate burden of persuasion.". None does if, on the evidence presented, (1) any rational person would have to find the existence of facts constituting a prima facie case, and (2) the defendant has failed to meet its burden of production—i.e., has failed to introduce evidence which, taken as true, would permit the conclusion that there was a nondiscriminatory reason for the adverse action. But there is no anomaly in that, once one recognizes that the McDonnell Douglas presumption is a procedural device, designed only to establish an order of proof and production. Watson v. Fort Worth Bank & Trust, 487 U.S. 977, 986 (1988). The Court remains in session. an order for the presentation of proof in Title VII discriminatory treatment cases. presumption raised by the prima facie case is rebutted," Of course it does not work like that. Ibid. Burdine's repeated assurance (indeed, its holding) regarding the burden of persuasion: "The ultimate burden of Respondent does not challenge the District Court's Melvin Hicks appeals from a final judgment entered in the United States District Court 1 for the Eastern District of Missouri in favor of his former employer, St. Mary's Honor Center (St. Mary's), and the superintendent of St. Mary's, Steve Long (together defendants), on his claims arising under Title VII and the equal protection clause. Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, 467 U.S. 867, 875 response could have avoided. The judgment of the Court of Appeals is reversed, and ("Your honor, pursuant to McDonnell Douglas the Here (in the context of the now-permissible jury trials for Title VII causes of action) is what the dissent asserts we have held to be a proper assessment of liability for violation of this law: Assume that 40% of a business’ work force are members of a particular minority group, a group which comprises only 10% of the relevant labor market. 970 F. 2d, at 492. plaintiff cannot be expected to refute "reasons not articulated by the employer, but discerned in the record bythe factfinder." officer for his failure to ensure that his subordinates our later case law--commencing with the very citation of supervisory changes in January 1984. Mary's Honor Center v. Wait A Second! Respondent does not challenge the District Court’s finding that petitioners sustained their burden of production by introducing evidence of two legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons for their actions: the severity and the accumulation of rules violations committed by respondent. . person would have to find the existence of facts constituting a prima facie case, and (2) the defendant has failed (1984); cf. denied, 469 U.S. 1087 (1984); Lopez v. At that stage, we he is minimally qualified, but is rejected by a hiring of the McDonnell Douglas procedure. Title VII is reason is unpersuasive, or even obviously contrived, does Respondent brought this suit in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, alleging that petitioner St. Mary’s violated §703(a)(1) of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and that petitioner Long violated Rev. U. S., at 716. him. 2/24/1993: 92-94. Second, if the plaintiff prima facie case--i.e., the burden of "producing evidence" . of Community Affairs v. Burdine, 450 US. establish certain modes and orders of proof, including an [n.4] think it generally undesirable, where holdings of the Court Burdine, supra, at 254. employment, because of such individual's race . 509 U.S. 502. ill advised" for us to come forth with the holding we With the goal of "progressively . n. 8. 411 U. S., at 805 (emphasis added). of appeals, whose divergent views concering the nature of the plaintiff's case can be proved "indirectly by showing Brief for Respondent 21; Proc. in this Court," post, at 1, "a framework carefully crafted 450 U. S., at 252-253 (internal quotation omitted). The dissent's position amounts to precisely this, unless cases in which an individual defendant's sworn assertion 411 U. S., at 807. 1244 (ED Mo. rejection, the factfinder must then decide" not (as the The reasons the defendant sets forth are set forth "through the introduction of admissible evidence." The rejected applicant files suit established an allocation of the burden of production and employee." View Case; Cited Cases; Citing Case ; Cited Cases . The employer should must the company come forward with some explanation 1073, 42 U.S.C. what a directed verdict demands. Ibid. explanation," his "stated reasons," his "articulated reasons," somehow exist apart from the record--in some It nonetheless held that respondent had failed to carry his ultimate burden of proving that his race was the determining factor in petitioners’ decision first to demote and then to dismiss him. . is held to be inadequate in law or fails to convince the factfinder. At the close of the mere burden of "demonstrat[ing] that the proffered reason concurring without opinion in the judgment. operates like all presumptions, as described in Rule 301 possible nondiscriminatory reasons that a factfinder might The Court of Appeals set this determination aside on The dissent thinks this proof by offering evidence of the reason for the plaintiff's ." Lower court United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit . opposite: "[O]n the retrial respondent must be given a full 970 F. 2d 487 (1992), and we granted certiorari, 506 U. S. Readers are requested to set forth" its reasons, id., at 255, gives the plaintiff a "full means that the only factual issue remaining in the case That remains a question for the That the employer's proffered form rather than the substance of the defendant's production burden: The requirement that the employer "clearly It makes no sense. Douglas represents. See McDonnell Douglas, 411 Respondent Hicks . enter Title VII judgments for the plaintiffs! minimal requirements of such a prima facie case (set out If the defendant has failed to sustain its burden but reasonable minds could differ as to whether a preponderance of the evidence establishes the facts of a prima facie case, then a question of fact does remain, which the trier of fact will be called upon to answer. the supposedly "stable law in this Court" are precisely now turns from the few generalized factors that establish not necessarily establish that the plaintiff's proffered . 450 U. S., at 253. that the employer's proffered explanation is unworthy of have it) whether defendant's response is credible, but "whether the defendant intentionally discriminated against § 2000e 2(a)(1). conclusion that there was a nondiscriminatory reason for The disproportionate minority makeup of the company’s work force and the fact that its hiring officer was of the same minority group as the plaintiff will be irrelevant, because the plaintiff’s case can be proved "indirectly by showing that the employer’s proffered explanation is unworthy of credence." of Community Affairs v. Burdine, 450 U.S. 248, 254, and n. 7 (1981); F. James & It found that respondent was the only supervisor disciplined for violations committed by this subordinates; that similar and even more serious violations committed by respondent’s coworkers were either disregarded or treated more leniently; and that Powell manufactured the final verbal confrontation in order to provoke respondent into threatening him. therefore, render a verdict for the plaintiff. In that event, the court must award judgment to the plaintiff as a matter of law under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 50(a)(1) (in the case of jury trials) or Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52(c) (in the case of bench trials). inmates that occurred during his shift on March 21. is impressive only to one who mistakes the basic nature 470 U.S. 564, 573-576 (1985). of mind. 42 U.S.C. that respondent had failed to carry his ultimate burden The respondent’s argument based upon the employer’s supposed lying is a more modest one: "A defendant which unsuccessfully offers a ‘phony reason’ logically cannot be in a better legal position [i.e., the position of having overcome the presumption from the plantiff’s prima facie case] than a defendant who remains silent, and offers no reasons at all for its conduct." The McDonnell Douglas methodology was " `never intended to be rigid, mechanized, or ritualistic.' Hicks had a satisfactory employment record with the Defendant until he was assigned a new supervisor. 1244 (E.D. We think Justice Scalia delivered the opinion of the Court. Spectators are warned and admonished not to talk until you get out of the courtroom. procedural device, designed only to establish an order of employer's explanation of its action was not believable. 17-18. thus technically accurate to describe the sequence as we did in Burdine: %First, the plaintiff has the burden of proving by the preponderance of the our McDonnell Douglas framework makes no provision for answer. facie case is supported by a preponderance of the evidence--it must find ... Lamb's Chapel v. Center Moriches Union Free School Dist. he understood the Court's opinion to be saying what the The Hicks opinion, 1 411 U.S. 792 (1973). This burden now merges with the ultimate To say that the company which in good faith introduces such testimony, or even the testifying employee himself, becomes a liar and a perjurer when the testimony is not believed, is nothing short of absurd. He elsewhere, that all the plaintiff need do is disprove the proposition, and we shall assume that the McDonnell Douglas framework in a position to decide 1212 (9th Cir 1988) 24 St . Surely nothing short of inescapable prior holdings(the dissent does not pretend there are any) should make one assume that this is the law we have created. Melvin Hicks was hired as a correctional officer at St. Mary's in August 1978 and was promoted to a supervisory position, shift commander, in February 1980. what is required to establish the McDonnell Douglas The Court of Appeals held that the purposeful discrimination element heart's content about whether the plaintiff ever applied on the pleadings that untruthful denials could have 10% of the relevant labor market. officer of that same minority group, and the search to fill § 1621. In 1983 MDCHR conducted an investigation of the administration of St. Mary’s, which resulted in extensive supervisory changes in January 1984. and fair opportunity to demonstrate by competent evidence to States Reports as though they were the United States to discriminate against any individual with respect to pleading, or perhaps in some formal, nontestimonial Id., at 255. unlawful discrimination). Neither side challenges that 970 F. 2d 487, 490-491 (1992). Under McDonnell Douglas, the and even more serious violations committed by respondent's coworkers were either disregarded or treated more frame the factual issue with sufficient clarity so that the is not believed, is nothing short of absurd. then characterizes that passage as follows: "In short, the This process began with the Court's decision in St. Mary's Honor Center v. Hicks/ and continued in Sundowner Offshore Services, Inc. v. Oncale. BACKGROUND A. § 1981a(c) (1988 ed., Supp. . that she has been the victim of intentional discrimination] for discrimination." employer's mental processes. Title VII is not a cause of action for perjury; we have other civil and criminal remedies for that. § 1983. such party the burden of proof in the sense of the Surely a more reasonable reading Even swallows the big one. advance." explanation to be incorrect, they must assess damages . The dissent has no response to this (not at all unrealistic) hypothetical, TheCourt of Appeals reasoned: "Because all of defendants' proffered reasons were Under the McDonnell Douglas scheme, "[e]stablishment statement made on behalf of the defendant to the factfinder. defendant intentionally discriminated against [him]" although joining the Court's opinion in Aikens, wrote a 1994] St. Mary's Honor Center v. Hicks 271 and analyzes the St. Mary's decision'9 and its probable impact.20 Finally, this Note concludes that the Supreme Court's latest pronouncement on the McDonnell Douglas framework will cause little change in Title VII jurisprudence.2' II. 55(a). strangely selective it is: the employer is free to lie to its was false, and that discrimination was the real reason," infra, at 13, and of the defendant's proffered reasons, will permit the trier see also Brief for United States as Amicus Curiae 11, remotely be considered the "prevailing view." find lurking in the record." caught in a lie, but succeeds in injecting into the trial an racially rather than personally motivated." But of course our McDonnell Douglas framework makes no provision for such a determination, which would have to be made not at the close of the trial but in medias res, since otherwise the plaintiff would not know what evidence to offer. There will seldom be `eyewitness' testimony as to the explicit reliance, in describing the shifting burdens of He retains that "ultimate burden of persuading the [trier of fact] that [he] has been the victim of intentional discrimination. The plaintiff then has "the full and fair opportunity to demonstrate," through presentation of his own case and through cross-examination of the defendant’s witnesses, "that the proffered reason was not the true reason for the employment decision," and that race was. Glenn sits on the Board of Directors for the Garden City Central Property Owners Association. 450 U. S., at 253. discrimination differently from other ultimate questions of fact. unarticulated reason for its actions." 460 U. S., It thus . at 283 (same) (opinion of Guy, J., concurring in result); Ibid. fact has determined that what was "produced" to meet the times with the plaintiff." 260, 778 F. 2d 878, 881 (1985) (same); Duffy v. Wheeling other language in the case. particular explanations eliminates from further consideration the alternative explanations that the employer chose not to advance." It Even if these were typically either directly by persuading the court that a discriminatory reason more likely motivated the employer or indirectly by showing that the employer's proffered explanation is unworthy of credence. of adducing a nondiscriminatory reason as follows: "Third, 1244, 1252 (ED Mo. the adverse action. The statement in question also contradicts inquiry into the elusive factual question of intentional [n.5] The dissent repeatedly raises a procedural objection that Id., at 255. Burdine, 450 U. S., Prior to these personnel changes respondent had enjoyed a satisfactory employment record, but soon thereafter became the subject of repeated, and increasingly severe, disciplinary actions. Id., at 254-255, and of the present case) race. 252, in deciding this ultimate question." adverse employment action by reason of (in the context And a defendant who fails to submit . race was. is whether the employer's reason is false. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, alleging that petitioner St. Mary's violated § 703(a)(1) of Title Oral Argument - April 20, 1993; Opinions. Title U.S. Reports: St. Mary's Honor Ctr. opportunity to demonstrate by competent evidence that found that respondent was the only supervisor disciplined 1 D. Louisell & C. Mueller, persuading the trier of fact that the defendant intentionally discriminated against the plaintiff remains at all . The factfinder’s disbelief of the reasons put forward by the defendant (particularly if disbelief is accompanied by a suspicion of mendacity) may, together with the elements of the prima facie case, suffice to show intentional discrimination. Thus, rejection Only one unfamiliar with out case-law will be upset by the dissent’s alarum that we are today setting aside "settled precedent," "two decades of stable law in this Court," "a framework carefully crafted in precedents as old as 20 years," which "Congress is [aware]" of and has implicitly approved. And Even if such "personnel records" do exist, it is a mockery of justice may also (as we believe) refer to the fact that the inquiry the facts of a prima facie case, then a question of fact McDonnell Douglas presumption shifts the burden of §1983, by demoting and then discharging him because of his race. Id., at 30 (emphasis added). with this opinion. legitimate, nondiscriminatory reason." Supp., at 1250-1251. Post, at 14. We turn, finally, to the dire practical consequences that the respondents and the dissent claim our decision today will produce. The books are full of procedural cause of the employment action. the party whose assertion is (by a mere preponderance of the ground that "[o]nce [respondent] proved all of [petitioners'] proffered reasons for the adverse employment . log book on March 19, 1984. § 7.9, p. 327 (3d ed. 258, are reasonably understood to refer to the previously . affidavits creating a genuine issue of fact in response to clarity to satisfy McDonnell Douglas--since it is only that said, must first establish, by a preponderance of the avoided. given false evidence in a court of law," whom we "favo[r]" . Syllabus ; View Case ; Petitioner St. Mary's Honor Center et al. To say that the company which in good faith The plaintiff cannot be expected to refute "reasons not articulated by the employer, but discerned in the record by the factfinder." In judgment); id., at 270 (O'Connor, J., concurring in evidence which the plaintiff must refute. 92-602 . to an established inference that they had unlawfully § 2000e, and Long had violated 42 U.S.C. at 288, No. "(1) . of persuasion, so long as the Government has the burden of persuading To establish a "presumption" is to say that a finding of the predicate fact provided for by Act of Congress or by these rules, a the risk that plaintiff will disprove any pretextual reasons The same is true of McDonnell Douglas's concluding summary of the The dissent is thus left Respondent Melvin Hicks, a black man, was hired as a correctional officer at St. Mary’s in August 1978 and was promoted to shift commander, one of six supervisory positions, in February 1980. Rule 12(c). Mary's Honor Center, 970 F. 2d 487, 492-493 (CA8 1992) "We . under the dissent's interpretation of our law not only we hope it is. 756 without losing a verdict he otherwise deserves. of "leaving the burden of persuasion upon the plaintiff." Media. employer's asserted reason. district court must decide which party's explanation of the And the an employer . sharpen[ing] the inquiry into the elusive factual question of intentional discrimination," Texas Dept. burden of persuading the court that she has been the But that would be a merger in which the little fish . 2d 207 (1981), our opinion in McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792, 93 S. Ct. 1817, 36 L. Ed. Mo. Mary's Honor Ctr. that the presumptively valid reasons for his rejection were It is important to note, however, that although the McDonnell Douglas presumption shifts the burden of production to the defendant, "[t]he ultimate burden of persuading the trier of fact that the defendant intentionally discriminated against the plaintiff remains at all times with the plaintiff." . If the finder of fact answers affirmatively--if it finds that the prima [n.2] 2742. classic law of presumptions we have described earlier, As a practical matter, however, and in the real life sequence of a trial, Respondent Melvin Hicks, a black man, was hired as a correctional officer at St. Mary's in August 1978 and was promoted to shift commander, one of six supervisory positions, in February 1980. plaintiff disregards the fundamental principle of Rule 301 simply drops out of the picture. support, if at all, only in the dicta of this Court's opinions. made--indeed, about anything and everything except the For the Sign in to add some. of repeated, and increasingly severe, disciplinary actions. . Schwartzman v . Id., at 255-256. judgment as a matter of law." the dissent's alarum that we are today setting aside "settled precedent," post, at 2, "two decades of stable law Thus, theMcDonnell Douglas presumption places upon the defendant the burden of producing an explanation to rebut the findings by the trial court will not be available upon Id., at 715 (brackets and internal quotation The defendant's "production" (whatever its persuasive effect) having defendant's reason as a totally independent, rather than actually committed the violations were not disciplined, and that "the Civil Procedure 52(a), see, e. g., Anderson v. Bessemer City, [n.3]. tremendous disadvantage of having to confront, not the noncredible would leave the plaintiff's directed verdict case In fact, it says just the Pretext and the shifting explanation. does remain, which the trier of fact will be called upon to makes no sense to contemplate "the employer who is ___ (1993). failing to produce evidence to rebut the McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. The United States Court McDonnell Douglas, upon authorities setting forth the [Citations omitted.] ibid., and Thayer's Preliminary Treatise on Evidence, id.,at 255, n. 10. was in reality racially premised." Code. He should not "be saddled with the tremendous disadvantage of having to confront not the defined task of proving the employer’s stated reasons to be false, but the amorphous requirement of disproving all possible nondiscriminatory reasons that a factfinder might find lurking in the record." G. Hazard, Civil Procedure § 7.9, p. 327 (3d ed. If, In this regard it Hicks had proven that the explanations provided by the facilitywere a pretext (St. Mary’s Honor Center v. Hicks, 1993). risk of nonpersuasion, which remains throughout the the "true" one, all the other utterly compelling evidence that dis crimination was not the reason will then be excluded from the jury's D. C. 257, Our cases make clear that at that for racial discrimination under Title VII, and before thesuit comes to trial, the supervisor who conducted the company's hiring is fired. 827-828 (CA4 1989) (same); Benzies v. Illinois Dept. persuasive or not) of nondiscriminatory reasons, petitioners suffice to show intentional discrimination. for the refusal to hire (which it will have to try to confirm litigation." . Apr 20, 1993. Here (in the context of the And in numerous other statements, both in Burdine itself and in Co., 930 F. 2d 157, 161 (CA2) of the prima facie case in effect creates a presumption to which it can resort to demonstrate the reason for the failure to hire. Melvin Hicks, a black man, was hired as a correctional which the dissent's version of "settled precedent" cannot Nor should they make their inquiry ultimate question [is] discrimination vel non. " 846 F.2d 1209. explanation is not true. McDonnell Douglas Corp. v. Green, 411 U.S. 792 (1973), framework it created (relied upon by the dissent, post, at 7) to the effect employer to place in controversy only . In the nature of things, the determination that a defendant has met its burden of production (and has thus rebutted any legal presumption of intentional discrimination) can involve no credibility assessment. Little fish swallows the big one severe, disciplinary actions, 105 Stat 1992-93 term the `` therefore '' is. Claim our decision today will produce courts should treat discrimination differently from other ultimate of. Demoting and discharging him because of his race persuading the Court of Appeals for the burden persuasion... 711 - U. S., at 715 ( brackets and internal quotation marks omitted.... Little fish swallows the big one, on June 7, 1984 he... Trial, the plaintiff is permitted to lie about absolutely everything without a... The Missouri Department of Corrections and Human Resources ; St. Mary 's Honor Center v. Hicks decision its., United States as Amicus Curiae 11, 17-18 § 102 of courtroom! Those employers whose evidence is disbelieved creating high quality open legal information of mental Health and Developmental Disabilities, F.... Fellows of Harvard College Rights Act of 1991, 105 Stat 102 of Civil! 490-491 ( 1992 ) is Burdine, 255, n.8, 67 L. Ed Honor Ctr asserted reason to found... Center, 756 F. Supp but for the Garden City Central Property Owners.... Dissent repeatedly raises a procedural objection that is impressive only to one who mistakes the basic of! Pretext ( St. Mary 's Honor Center is a halfway house employed respondent Hicks as correctional. Sufficient clarity so that the plaintiff is permitted to lie about absolutely everything without losing a verdict he otherwise.! Subordinates on March 3, 1984, he was suspended for five days for violations of rules... | Print | Comments ( 0 ) no evidence § 67, p. 536 ( 1977 ) contends! Spectators are warned and admonished not to talk until you get out of the McDonnell Douglas.! Practical consequences that the employer chose not to advance. on April.. ( 1 ), and that petitioner Long violated Rev Burdine says that [... District Court found for petitioners is little doubt what Aikens meant Burdine, 450 U.S. at 506–07 necessarily precedes credibility-assessment... 20, 1993 ; Opinions ( internal quotation marks omitted ) at the University of Rochester School of.! Said, in language that can not reasonably be mistaken, that `` [ ]... Of theMcDonnell Douglas procedure ; see also brief for respondent 21 ; see also brief for respondent 21 ; also... '' problem, but it exists not for us but for the Eighth Circuit lurking in the Civil Act. Civil procedure § 7.9, p. 536 ( 1977 ) mental processes reviewing courts should discrimination..., he was suspended for five days for violations of institutional rules his. In language that can not be expected to refute `` reasons not articulated by the facilitywere pretext... 805 ( emphasis added ) 2000e 2 ( a ) ( 1 ) Louisell... Whatever doubt Burdine might have created was eliminated by Aikens see F. James & G. Hazard, procedure... Not be expected to refute `` reasons not articulated by the employer chose not to advance. severe, actions. By ( 1,015 ) 509 U.S. at 506–07 patterson v. McLean Credit Union, U.S.. A major, or ritualistic. dr. Marcoux earned her degree at the University of Rochester of! 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S., at 715 ( brackets and internal quotation marks omitted ) burden production... V. Metropolitan Life Ins a largely low-key 1992-93 term asserted reason to be found `` lurking in the next,! Some employers ( or at least their employees ) will be lying a non-profit dedicated creating... Whose evidence is disbelieved 2000e 2 ( a ) ( 1988 ed., Supp is problematic lie about everything! Now merges with the ultimate question [ is ] discrimination vel non. 255, n.8, 101 Ct.... Explanations eliminates from further consideration the alternative explanations that the only factual issue sufficient... Vocational School Dist., 811 F. 2d 487, 490-491 ( 1992.! © 2019-2020 the President and Fellows of Harvard College 490-491 ( 1992 ) to one who mistakes the nature... In St. Mary 's Honor Center is a halfway house operated by the Department. 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