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Study Suggests Employers Fare Better In Federal Court

Published by on September 22, 2008

The Ohio Employer’s Law Blog has a post on a study performed on employment lawsuit outcomes in federal court from 1979 to 2006.  The conclusion?  No surprise — it is better for defendants in employment lawsuits to be in federal court.  Apparently the plaintiff’s bar has discovered this as well, as the study shows a steep […]

The Ohio Employer’s Law Blog has a post on a study performed on employment lawsuit outcomes in federal court from 1979 to 2006.  The conclusion?  No surprise — it is better for defendants in employment lawsuits to be in federal court.  Apparently the plaintiff’s bar has discovered this as well, as the study shows a steep drop in federal court employment law filings — 37% from 1997 to 2006.

The Blog reports that “plaintiffs who brought employment discrimination suits in federal district courts prevailed only 15 percent of the time, compared to 51 percent for non-employment related cases. Some other key numbers from the study:

  • The filing of employment cases in federal court has dropped by 37% from 1999 to 2007.
  • The courts of appeals reverse 41% of plaintiffs’ victories in employment cases.
  • The same courts of appeals only reverse 8.7% of defendants’ victories in employment cases.

The underlying study — entitled Employment Discrimination Plaintiffs in Federal Court: From Bad to Worse? — can be found here.

The trend of declining numbers of federal employment lawsuits is likely to reverse, however, given the passage of the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 — which opens up the definition of what constitutes a “disability” under the Americans with Disabilities Act (prior post on the Act here) — and what it portends for the future in other areas of federal employment law.  Amendments are under consideration to other employment laws that would overturn what are perceived as narrow federal court interpretations of the law.  We previously discussed the “federal employment law wish-list” here.

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