U.S. Supreme Court Provides Clarity for Small Businesses in Today’s Decision in Comcast Corp. v. The National Association of African American-Owned Media, and Entertainment Studios Networks, Inc.

Date: March 23, 2020

Washington, D.C. (March 23, 2020) – NFIB commends the United States Supreme Court decision in Comcast Corp. v. The National Association of African American-Owned Media, and Entertainment Studios Networks, Inc., reversing the Ninth Circuit’s decision. The Supreme Court ruled that the Ninth Circuit adopted the wrong standard for proving illegal discrimination.

“The Supreme Court provided clarity for small businesses in today’s decision, which will help avoid frivolous lawsuits in our courts,” said Karen Harned, Executive Director of the NFIB Small Business Legal Center. “True racial discrimination should always be dealt with appropriately in the workplace and today the Court established clear guidelines on what must be established to prove a discrimination claim.”

NFIB filed an amicus brief in Comcast Corp. v. The National Association of African American-Owned Media, and Entertainment Studios Networks, Inc., which concerned whether a claim of race discrimination under 42 U.S.C. Section 1981 can succeed if the plaintiff alleges that race is merely one factor instead of the “but-for” cause of an alleged discriminatory decision. The Supreme Court heard oral arguments on November 13, 2019.

NFIB argued that a plaintiff should have to show that racial discrimination was the actual cause of harm, rather than relying on a mixed-motive claim that offers several possible reasons for the defendant’s decision. In this case, the Court of Appeals ruled that a discrimination case should be allowed to move forward to a jury trial on the view that race might have been one of several motivating factors in a Comcast contract decision.

The NFIB Small Business Legal Center protects the rights of small business owners in the nation’s courts. NFIB is currently active in more than 40 cases in federal and state courts across the country and in the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

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