Fifth Circuit Rules in Physician’s Employment Discrimination Case

/ 03/22/2012

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled in a physician’s employment discrimination case. Nassar v. Univ. of Tex. S.W. Medical Center, No. 11-10338 (5th Cir. March 8, 2012), available at The jury found that the doctor was constructively discharged and retaliated against. The employer appealed.


Constructive discharge claims are essentially extreme hostile work environment claims and require a plaintiff to prove the existence of an aggravating factor, such as: (1) demotion; (2) salary reduction; (3) job responsibility reduction; (4) reassignment to inferior work; (5) reassignment to work under a younger supervisor; (6) badgering, harassment, or humiliation calculated to encourage the employee’s resignation; and (7) offers of early retirement or continued employment on less favorable terms. The doctor could only prove harassment, and this harassment did not make the working conditions so intolerable that a reasonable employee would feel compelled to resign. Thus, the Court vacated the judgment regarding the constructive discharge claim.


The Court concluded that evidence supported the retaliation claim because it showed that the employer blocked the doctor’s attempts to become employed by an affiliated entity in order to punish him for complaining about discrimination. The Court affirmed the judgment regarding the retaliation claim. The Court then remanded the case for reconsideration of the doctor’s monetary recovery and attorneys’ fees.


The Dallas employment law attorneys at Clouse Dunn LLP represent physicians in employment-related lawsuits and contract negotiations. To speak to these employment lawyers, contact them via email at [email protected] or telephone at 214 220 3888. 

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