|Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer|
Monday, April 17, 2006
Most Important Argument for Employers in Supreme Court's Term Held Today
Justice ScaliaHe is concerned jurors could find in favor of workers and award damages for "every little thing." What, he asked, would stop a jury from awarding damages if an angry supervisor stopped saying "Good Morning" or taking to lunch an employee who alleged discrimination. When White's counsel suggested that the Court should not be too precise because "retaliation is as varied as the human imagination," Justice Scalia replied, "I worry about that. Jurors can have wonderful imaginations."Justice Souter on the differences in the two jobs
"Isn't there a difference between sitting on a forklift and picking up steel rails with your bare hands?''Justice Ginsburg shared some of the concerns of Justice Scalia:
"She understandably experienced much strain in that time. She worried about how she would be able to feed her children.''
Chief Justice Roberts on how the jobs were the same classification
Some of the early reports can be found here, the AP story, Bloomberg.com and BusinessWeek.Justice Alito
One possibility that would allow Ms. White to maintain her $43,000 jury award but still allow courts to maintain a close reign would be to find that the lengthy unpaid suspension, even if reversed is actionable, but a job transfer without a loss of pay would not be.
Although the Roberts' court seems to be returning decisions faster than we have become accustomed to, given the potential ramifications of this decision and the many different ways this could be sliced, plus the rush of other term end decisions, I would not be surprised if this is one to one of the last decisions of this term.
UPDATE: Nina Totenberg, NPR's Supreme Court Reporter has even more quotes here.