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2 PJI 1.2 | First Circuit (US)
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2 PJI 1.2 | GENERAL DISCRIMINATION: MIXED MOTIVE1

[Plaintiff] accuses [defendant] of [protected characteristic]2 discrimination in violation of federal law. Specifically, [he/she] claims that [defendant] took adverse employment action against [him/her] because of [protected characteristic] discrimination.3 To succeed on this claim, [plaintiff] must prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that [her/his] [protected characteristic] was a motivating factor4 in [defendant]’s decision5 to [specify adverse action].

An employer6 is free to [specify adverse action] an employee for any nondiscriminatory reason even if its business judgment seems objectively unwise.7 But you may consider the believability of an explanation in determining whether it is a cover-up or pretext for discrimination. To prove that [protected characteristic] was a “motivating factor,” [plaintiff] must show that [defendant] used that consideration8 in deciding to [specify adverse action].

[Plaintiff] need not show that [protected characteristic] discrimination was the only9 reason [defendant] [specify adverse action]. But [she/he] must show that [defendant] relied upon [protected characteristic] discrimination in making its decision.10

11{[Plaintiff] is not required to produce direct evidence of unlawful motive. You may infer knowledge and/or motive as a matter of reason and common sense from the existence of other evidence ― for example, explanations that you find were really pretextual. “Pretextual” means false or, though true, not the real reason for the action taken.}

An adverse employment action by a supervisor is an action of the employer.12

13{An “adverse employment action” is one that, standing alone, actually causes damage, tangible or intangible, to an employee. The fact that an employee is unhappy with something his or her employer did or failed to do is not enough to make that act or omission an adverse employment action.14 An employer takes adverse action against an employee only if it: (1) takes something of consequence away from the employee, for example by discharging or demoting the employee, reducing his or her salary, or taking away significant responsibilities; or (2) fails to give the employee something that is a customary benefit of the employment relationship, for example, by failing to follow a customary practice of considering the employee for promotion after a particular period of service.15}

If you find that [plaintiff] has not proven by a preponderance of the evidence that [defendant] used [plaintiff]’s [protected characteristic] in deciding to [specify adverse action], your verdict must be for the defendant.

But if you find that [plaintiff] has proven by a preponderance of the evidence that [his/her] [protected characteristic] was a motivating factor in [defendant]’s decision to [specify adverse action], then the burden of proof shifts to [defendant] to prove by a preponderance of the evidence16 that it would nevertheless have taken the same action even if it had not considered [plaintiff]’s [protected characteristic].17

If you find that [defendant] has not met its burden of proof, your verdict will be for the [plaintiff] and you will proceed to consider damages as I will describe them. But if you find that [defendant] has proven that it would have taken the same action regardless of [plaintiff]’s [protected characteristic], you will not consider damages.

I have prepared a special verdict form to assist you in addressing these issues.18

Footnotes

1 A mixed motive instruction is appropriate in Title VII cases, but not in ADEA cases. Gross v. FBL Fin. Servs., Inc., ___ U.S. ___, 129 S. Ct. 2343, 2346 (2009); Diaz v. Jiten Hotel Mgt., Inc., ___ F.3d ___, 2012 Westlaw 372678, at *3 (1st Cir. Feb. 7, 2012) . Also, the Seventh Circuit held that the mixed motive analysis does not apply to discrimination suits brought under the ADA. Serwatka v. Rockwell Automation, Inc., 591 F.3d 957, 962 (7th Cir. 2010).

The Supreme Court has determined that a mixed motive case can proceed on circumstantial evidence alone, Desert Palace, Inc. v. Costa, 539 U.S. 90, 93-95 (2003), thereby overruling previous appellate pronouncements (including the First Circuit). This instruction does not distinguish between direct and indirect evidence, or give alternative Price Waterhouse / McDonnell Douglas instructions. see Dominguez-Cruz v. Suttle Caribe, Inc., 202 F.3d 424, 429-30 (1st Cir. 2000) (“In fact, one might question whether these bright lines [between direct and indirect evidence] are so helpful in the end.... In appeals after trial, this and other courts have recognized the need for flexibility and have sometimes bypassed these approaches and instead looked at whether the totality of the evidence permits a finding of discrimination.” (citations omitted)).

If this instruction is used simultaneously with a pretextual instruction, it will need re-working to avoid confusing the jury over the differing standards. It is clear that in the early stages of litigation a plaintiff may proceed simultaneously on both a McDonnell Douglas pretext case and a Price Waterhouse mixed motive case. See, e.g., Fernandes v. Costa Bros. Masonry, Inc., 199 F.3d 572, 581 (1st Cir. 1999) (Title VII). What happens at the jury instruction stage, however, is problematic. see id. (“the trial court, at an appropriate stage of the litigation, will channel the case into one format or the other”). Arguably, Desert Palace, 539 U.S. 90 (2003), calls for instructing on both when requested.

2 This instruction is designed for race, color, national origin, religion, sex or pregnancy discrimination cases. The Introductory Notes at the beginning of these instructions outline the statutory basis for each of these claims.

For sexual harassment cases, See Instructions 2.1-2.3. For disability discrimination cases, See Instruction 3.1. For Equal Pay Act cases, See Instruction 4.1. For retaliation cases, See Instruction 5.1.

3 The following sentence may be used in a pregnancy discrimination case:
Under federal law, employers must treat women affected by pregnancy the same, for all employment-related purposes, as other persons not affected by pregnancy but similar in their ability or inability to work. Concern for their safety or that of their unborn children is no justification for different treatment. Safety is a justification only when pregnancy actually interferes with an employee’s ability to perform her job. See Int’l Union, United Auto., Aerospace and Agric. Implement Workers v. Johnson Controls, Inc., 499 U.S. 187, 204 (1991) (Title VII) (“Our case law, therefore, makes clear that the safety exception is limited to instances in which sex or pregnancy actually interferes with the employee’s ability to perform the job.”).

In Chevron U.S.A. Inc. v. Echazabal, 536 U.S. 73, 76 (2002), the Supreme Court held that, under the ADA, concern for an employee’s own health is a permissible criterion in employee screening. In light of Johnson Controls, any policy seeking the benefit of Chevron would have to be facially neutral, and not single out pregnant women. see also Smith v. F.W. Morse & Co., 76 F.3d 413, 424-25 (1st Cir. 1996) (“At bottom, Title VII requires a causal nexus between the employer’s state of mind and the protected trait (here, pregnancy). The mere coincidence between that trait and the employment decision may give rise to an inference of discriminatory animus, but it is not enough to establish a per se violation of the statute....” (internal citation omitted)).

4 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(m) (2001) (“an unlawful employment practice is established when the complaining party demonstrates that race, color, religion, sex, or national origin was a motivating factor for any employment practice, even though other factors also motivated the practice”); DeCaire v. Mukasey, 530 F.3d 1, 18 (1st Cir. 2008) (“DeCaire is correct that to the extent the district court's finding in a mixed motive discrimination case was that there was gender discrimination, such a finding required it to find liability on the part of the government on any timely claim; in such a case, it is plaintiff's remedies, not the employer's liability, that are limited.”); Fernandes v. Costa Bros. Masonry, Inc., 199 F.3d 572, 580 (1st Cir. 1999) (Title VII) (quoting Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228, 247 (1989) (Title VII)) (Price Waterhouse standard applies where the challenged employment decision was “the product of a mixture of legitimate and illegitimate motives”).
5 In Staub v. Proctor Hosp., ___ U.S. ___, 131 S. Ct. 1186 (2011), the Supreme Court dealt with so-called cat’s paw liability under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act ― according to the Court, “very similar to Title VII” in its use of the phrase “a motivating factor in the employer’s action.” The Court held that “if a supervisor performs an act motivated by antimilitary animus that is intended by the supervisor to cause an adverse employment action, and if that act is a proximate cause of the ultimate employment action, then the employer is liable” even if the supervisor who ultimately took the adverse action did not share the discriminatory animus. Id. at 1194 (emphasis in original). The principle seems applicable generally to employment discrimination cases. The Court expressed no view about liability “if a co-worker, rather than a supervisor, committed a discriminatory act that influenced the ultimate employment decision.” Id. at n.4.
6 In Title VII cases, “the terms ‘employer’ and ‘employee’ are to be defined with reference to common law agency principles.” Delia v. Verizon Communications, Inc., __ F.3d __, 2011 WL 3688995, at *3 (1st Cir. Aug. 24, 2011) (internal quotes omitted). “[T]he principal guidepost” is “‘the common-law element of control [by the putative employer over the putative employee].’” Id. An instruction on this issue may be given when there is a dispute about whether the plaintiff is the defendant’s employee. see id. at *2-4; Lopez v. Massachusetts, 588 F.3d 69, 83 (1st Cir. 2009).
7 Webber v. Int’l Paper Co., 417 F.3d 229, 238 (1st Cir. 2005); Thomas v. Eastman Kodak Co., 183 F.3d 38, 64 (1st Cir. 1999) (Title VII) (citing Smith v. Stratus Computer, Inc., 40 F.3d 11, 16 (1st Cir. 1996)) (Title VII) (“Title VII does not grant relief to a plaintiff who has been discharged unfairly, even by the most irrational of managers, unless facts and circumstances indicate that discriminatory animus was the reason for the decision.”); see also Feliciano de la Cruz v. El Conquistador Resort and Country Club, 218 F.3d 1, 8 (1st Cir. 2000) (Title VII) (proof that decision is unfair “is not sufficient to state a claim under Title VII”); Rodriguez-Cuervos v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 181 F.3d 15, 22 (1st Cir. 1999) (Title VII) (“Title VII does not stop a company from demoting an employee for any reason — fair or unfair — so long as the decision to demote does not stem from a protected characteristic.” (citations omitted)). Other circuits have said that subjectivity in an evaluation is not itself grounds for challenging the evaluation as discriminatory. E.g., Vaughan v. The Metrahealth Companies, Inc., 145 F.3d 197, 204 (4th Cir. 1998) abrogated in part by Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing Products Inc., 530 U.S. 133 (2000); Hutson v. McDonnell Douglas Corp., 63 F.3d 771, 780 (8th Cir. 1995); Haskell v. Kaman Corp., 743 F.2d 113, 119 (2d Cir. 1984).
8 This is the language of Desert Palace, Inc. v. Costa, 539 U.S. 90 (2003). Previously there was debate over whether a plaintiff must show that the protected characteristic played a “substantial” role in the decision. Fernandes v. Costa Bros. Masonry, Inc., 199 F.3d 572, 580 (1st Cir. 1999) (Title VII) (a plaintiff must show that the illegitimate factor played a “substantial role” or “placed substantial negative reliance on an illegitimate criterion”).
9 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(m) (2001) (“even though other factors also motivated the practice”).
10 Fields v. Clark Univ., 966 F.2d 49, 52 (1st Cir. 1992) (Title VII) (citing Price Waterhouse v. Hopkins, 490 U.S. 228, 242 (1989) (Title VII)) (“We conclude, instead, that Congress meant to obligate her to prove that the employer relied upon sex-based considerations in coming to its decision.”).

Similar to a pretext case, if a defendant requests it and the circumstances justify it, an instruction may be included on the availability of the “same-actor inference.” see supra Instr. 1.1 n.13. Such an instruction permits a jury to infer a lack of discrimination if the same individual both hired and fired the plaintiff, particularly within a short period of time. see Banks v. Travelers Cos., 180 F.3d 358, 366-67 (2d Cir. 1999) (ADEA); Proud v. Stone, 945 F.2d 796, 797-98 (4th Cir. 1991) (ADEA). The First Circuit stated without discussion that a district court may use the same-actor instruction in appropriate circumstances, citing Buhrmaster v. Overnite Transp. Co., 61 F.3d 461, 463 (6th Cir. 1995) (Title VII: sex), but also held that the absence of the instruction did not “confuse[ ] or misle[a]d the jury as to the controlling law.” Kelley v. Airborne Freight Corp., 140 F.3d 335, 351 (1st Cir. 1998) (ADEA); accord Banks, 180 F.3d at 367 (declining to adopt a rule requiring a same-actor instruction and affirming the district court’s refusal to include the instruction where the court allowed the defendant to urge the jurors to draw the inference); Kim v. Dial Serv. Int’l, Inc., 159 F.3d 1347, 1998 WL 514297, at *4 (2d Cir. June 11, 1998) (unreported table decision) (no prejudice from the district court’s refusal to give the instruction) (ADEA, Title VII: race and national origin); Menchaca v. Am. Med. Response of Ill., Inc., No. 98 C 547, 2002 WL 48073, at *2 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 14, 2002) (Title VII: sex) (same).

Courts disagree on the strength of the inference. Compare Tyndall v. Nat’l Educ. Ctrs., Inc. of Cal., 31 F.3d 209, 215 (4th Cir. 1994) (ADA) (calling it “a strong presumption of nondiscrimination”) with Waldron v. SL Indus., Inc., 56 F.3d 491, 496 n.6 (3d Cir. 1995) (ADEA) (the fact that the same person hired and fired the plaintiff within a short period of time “is simply evidence like any other and should not be accorded any presumptive value”) (internal quotation marks omitted); see also Buhrmaster, 61 F.3d at 464 (noting that “the length of time between the hiring and firing of an employee affects the strength of the inference”). The First Circuit has cited approvingly a statement by the Fourth Circuit calling it a “strong inference.” see LeBlanc v. Great Am. Ins. Co., 6 F.3d 836, 847 (1st Cir. 1993) (ADEA) (citing and quoting Proud, 945 F.2d at 797).

The First Circuit in Kelley seems to approve only limited use of the same-actor instruction (“in appropriate circumstances,” without explaining what that means, 140 F.3d at 351). Other courts and commentators warn that the inference is not always appropriate. See, e.g., Waldron, 56 F.3d at 496 n.6 (in ADEA case, the inference was inappropriate because it was plausible that the plaintiff was hired to work for a few years while the hirer “groomed” a younger person to replace the plaintiff); Susie v. Apple Tree Preschool and Child Care Ctr., Inc., 866 F. Supp. 390, 396-97 (N.D. Iowa 1994) (cautioning that the same-actor inference has little or no force in disability cases because the employer at the time of hiring may not be aware of the extent of the plaintiff’s disability and the disability may worsen over time); Anna Laurie Bryant & Richard A. Bales, Using the Same Actor “Inference” in Employment Discrimination Cases, 1999 Utah L. Rev. 255, 272 (inference is not appropriate where the decisionmaker did not know of the plaintiff’s protected status at the time of hiring). For a sample same-actor instruction, see Buhrmaster, 61 F.3d at 463.

11 see DeCaire v. Mukasey, 530 F.3d 1, 20 (1st Cir. 2008) (“To the extent the district court said it required DeCaire to present evidence beyond disproving the government’s arguments as pretext, that was error.” (emphasis in original)). The pretext language used in this bracketed paragraph is permissible and may help the jury understand the issue, but is not required in the First Circuit. Fite v. Digital Equip. Corp., 232 F.3d 3, 7 (1st Cir. 2000) (ADEA and ADA) (“While permitted, we doubt that such an explanation is compulsory, even if properly requested.”); White v. N.H. Dept. of Corrections,221 F.3d 254 (1st Cir. 2000) (Title VII) (finding no error in refusal to give explicit instruction on pretext).
12 In Foley v. Commonwealth Electric Co., 312 F.3d 517, 521 (1st Cir. 2002), the court stated that “this instruction optimally should have been included in the charge.”
13 This bracketed paragraph may be used in cases where there is a dispute about whether the action that the defendant allegedly took against the plaintiff constituted an adverse employment action. Although this question, if it arises, is one for the jury, see Melendez-Arroyo v. Cutler-Hammer de P.R. Co., Inc., 273 F.3d 30, 36 (1st Cir. 2001) (ADEA) (jury could find that plaintiff who was given a raise but assigned less challenging, largely menial responsibilities suffered an adverse employment action), in most cases the dispute will be about whether the defendant’s challenged conduct was motivated by discriminatory animus, not whether it amounted to an adverse employment action. If there is no dispute about whether the alleged conduct, if proven, would constitute an adverse employment action, the bracketed paragraph may be deleted and the words “took adverse employment action against” in the second sentence of the first paragraph may be replaced by a brief description of the adverse employment action defendant allegedly took.
14 Blackie v. Maine, 75 F.3d 716, 725 (1st Cir. 1996) (FLSA) (“[T]he inquiry must be cast in objective terms. Work places are rarely idyllic retreats, and the mere fact that an employee is displeased by an employer’s act or omission does not elevate that act or omission to the level of a materially adverse employment action.”). Blackie uses the term “materially adverse employment action,” but does not define the term (or, more precisely, the significance of the word “materially”) beyond what is included in the text of this instruction. Two other cases also use the modifier “materially” when discussing adverse employment actions (both cases take the language from Blackie), but neither of these cases indicates that a materially adverse employment action is different from an adverse employment action. Simas v. First Citizens’ Federal Credit Union, 170 F.3d 37, 49-50 (1st Cir. 1999) (Federal Credit Union Act; whistleblower retaliation) (applying Title VII definition of adverse employment action); Larou v. Ridlon, 98 F.3d 659, 663 n.6 (1st Cir. 1996) (First Amendment political discrimination) (applying, with reservation, Blackie definition of adverse employment action). Furthermore, none of these three cases uses the term “materially adverse employment action” exclusively; all three cases describe employment actions as “materially adverse” and “adverse” interchangeably. Other employment discrimination cases decided after Blackie have referred to adverse employment action without the modifier “materially.” See, e.g., Straughn v. Delta Air Lines, Inc., 250 F.3d 23, 33 (1st Cir. 2001) (Title VII and § 1981); Suarez v. Pueblo Int’l, Inc., 229 F.3d 49, 53-54 (1st Cir. 2000) (ADEA); White v. N.H. Dep’t of Corrections, 221 F.3d 254, 262 (1st Cir. 2000) (Title VII).
15 Blackie v. Maine, 75 F.3d 716, 725 (1st Cir. 1996) (FLSA). As the Blackie court noted, this definition is generalized because “[d]etermining whether an action is materially adverse necessarily requires a case-by-case inquiry.” Id. There is little explicit guidance in the case law about what constitutes an adverse employment action. In Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co. v. White, 548 U.S. 53, 62 (2006), a case interpreting Title VII’s antiretaliation provision, the Supreme Court distinguished the antiretaliation provision from Title VII’s “substantive” antidiscrimination language in part by noting that the words of the substantive provision “explicitly limit the scope of that provision to actions that affect employment or alter the conditions of the workplace.” The Court held that Title VII’s antiretaliation provision was not so narrow. see infra Section 5.1 Restitution note 8.

There are a number of cases that, by their factual holdings, help define the term “adverse employment action.” For example, in the majority of cases, the court does not explicitly analyze whether the challenged conduct constitutes an adverse employment action, presumably because certain actions, such as layoffs, salary reductions, and demotions, are generally recognized as adverse employment actions. See, e.g., Straughn v. Delta Air Lines, Inc., 250 F.3d 23 (1st Cir. 2001) (Title VII and § 1981) (termination); Rodriguez-Cuervos v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 181 F.3d 15 (1st Cir. 1999) (Title VII) (demotion); Mullin v. Raytheon Co., 164 F.3d 696 (1st Cir. 1999) (salary reduction) abrogated in part on other grounds by Smith v. City of Jackson, 544 U.S. 228 (2005); see also Welsh v. Derwinski, 14 F.3d 85, 86 (1st Cir. 1994) (ADEA) (“Most cases involving a retaliation claim are based on an employment action which has an adverse impact on the employee, i.e., discharge, demotion, or failure to promote.”). More helpful, though, are the cases where the court decided whether a jury could reasonably find that the challenged actions constitute adverse employment actions. In some cases, the court has defined what actions are insufficient to constitute an adverse employment action by upholding a trial court’s conclusion that the defendant’s conduct was not, as a matter of law, actionable. See, e.g., Hernandez-Torres v. Intercontinental Trading, Inc., 158 F.3d 43, 47 (1st Cir. 1998) (Title VII) (plaintiff was subjected to increased email messages, disadvantageous assignments and “admonition that [he] complete his work within an eight hour [day]”); Blackie, 75 F.3d at 726 (plaintiffs claimed defendants refused to negotiate a “side agreement” to supplement their employment contract); Connell v. Bank of Boston, 924 F.2d 1169, 1179 (1st Cir. 1991) (ADEA) (plaintiff who had already been fired and whose severance package was already calculated was forced to leave office two weeks early). In another useful class of cases, the court held that the challenged employment action could constitute an adverse employment action by either upholding a jury verdict for the plaintiff, See, e.g., White v. N.H. Dep’t of Corrections, 221 F.3d 254, 262 (1st Cir. 2000) (Title VII) (“ample evidence” of adverse employment action where plaintiff was harassed, transferred without her consent, not reassigned to another position, “and ultimately constructively discharged”), or holding that the defendant was not entitled to summary judgment on this issue. See, e.g., Melendez-Arroyo v. Cutler-Hammer de P.R. Co., Inc., 273 F.3d 30, 36 (1st Cir. 2001) (ADEA) (plaintiff given standard salary increase but assigned less challenging, largely menial responsibilities); DeNovellis v. Shalala, 124 F.3d 298, 306 (1st Cir. 1997) (Title VII) (plaintiff given five month assignment to job for which he had no experience and deprived of meaningful duties); Randlett v. Shalala, 118 F.3d 857, 862 (1st Cir. 1997) (Title VII) (defendant refused to grant plaintiff a hardship transfer); see also Simas v. First Citizens’ Federal Credit Union, 170 F.3d 37, 48, 50 (1st Cir. 1999) (Federal Credit Union Act; whistleblower retaliation) (plaintiff given negative performance evaluations and deprived of responsibility for major account) (applying Title VII definition of adverse employment action).

16 Febres v. Challenger Caribbean Corp., 214 F.3d 57, 60 (1st Cir. 2000) (ADEA) (evidence of discrimination “shifts the burden of persuasion to the employer, who then must establish that he would have reached the same decision regarding the plaintiff even if he had not taken the proscribed factor into account”).
17 Another possible defense in cases of age, disability, sex, pregnancy, national origin or religious discrimination would be for the defendant to argue that the challenged characteristic was a “"Bona Fide Occupational Qualification” (“BFOQ”). see 29 U.S.C. § 623(f)(1) (2001) (allowing BFOQ defense for employment decisions based on age); 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-2(m)(e) (2001) (same for religion, sex, and national origin); 42 U.S.C. § 12113 (2001) (same for disability); see also Int’l Union, United Auto., Aerospace and Agric. Implement Workers v. Johnson Controls, Inc., 499 U.S. 187, 200-201 (1991) (Title VII) (Title VII); Western Air Lines, Inc. v. Criswell, 472 U.S. 400, 402-403 (1985) (ADEA); Gately v. Massachusetts, 2 F.3d 1221, 1225-26 (1st Cir. 1993) (ADEA). In order to use the BFOQ defense, the defendant must: (1) “show that the qualification at issue is reasonably necessary to the essence of [its] business[;]” and (2) “justify [the] use of [the protected characteristic] as a proxy for that qualification.” Gately, 2 F.3d at 1225 (internal citations and quotations omitted). The defendant may justify the use of the protected characteristic as a proxy by either: (1) showing that it had “a factual basis for believing[ ] that all or substantially all persons [with the protected characteristic] would be unable to perform [] the duties of the job involved[;]” or (2) establishing “that it is impossible or highly impractical to deal with the [employees with the protected characteristic] on an individualized basis.” Id. at 1225-26 (internal citations and quotations omitted).

Because of these elements of a BFOQ defense, this instruction is not appropriate for BFOQ cases. More specifically, this instruction is inappropriate for a BFOQ case because it asks the jury to decide what factor or factors motivated the defendant to take the challenged action, whereas the defendant’s reliance on the protected characteristic is generally undisputed in a BFOQ case (instead the focus of the dispute is whether the protected characteristic qualifies as a BFOQ).

18 In Title VII cases, the judge, not the jury, determines the availability of certain remedies when the plaintiff establishes prohibited discrimination and the defendant establishes that it would have taken the same action regardless. see 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-5(g)(2)(B) (2001) (“On a claim in which an individual proves a violation under section 2000e-2(m) of this title and a respondent demonstrates that the respondent would have taken the same action in the absence of the impermissible motivating factor, the court” may grant declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and attorneys fees, but may not “award damages or issue an order requiring any admission, reinstatement, hiring, [or] promotion.”). As discussed in Introductory Note 4, in cases other than Title VII mixed motive cases such a showing by the defendant avoids liability altogether.

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