In a matter of first impression, the Second Circuit recently decided to apply a “but-for” causation standard to both workplace discrimination claims under the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
McCarter partner Hugh Murray discussed the implications of the ruling that eased the causation standard under the Rehabilitation Act and strengthened the standard under the ADA. He said that applying the more stringent but-for causation to the ADA “technically” makes it a “little harder for a plaintiff in an ADA case than in a Title VII case.”
He added, “As a practical matter, it might be slightly easier [for a defendant] to get summary judgment. But once a case has survived summary judgment…the jury’s really just going to mostly be focused on [whether] they think there was discrimination or not. I think it would be the rare case where the jury, having heard all the evidence, would think the standard makes the difference.”