Copyright (c) 1994 Houston Law Review
Houston Law Review
COMMENT: THE USE OF AFTER-ACQUIRED EVIDENCE AS A DEFENSE IN TITLE VII EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION CASES
30 Hous. L. Rev. 1945
James G. Babb
When an employee sues his employer for discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 1 it may seem obvious that the employer could use evidence of the employee's on-the-job misconduct or resume fraud as a defense. What may be less obvious is the relevance of this evidence if the employer was unaware of the misconduct at the time of the alleged discrimination. The issue in this instance is determining the validity of a defense to Title VII claims based on evidence which comes to light only after the occurrence of the alleged discrimination. The validity of this defense has increasingly been analyzed by the courts as employers attempt to escape Title VII liability by relying on such "after-acquired evidence." 2 The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) estimates that 500,000 people nationwide claim college degrees they never earned, and a congressional study estimates that one-third of all job applicants commit resume fraud. 3 These numbers imply that the issue of after-acquired evidence, especially that involving resume fraud, is likely to receive increasing attention by the courts.
This Comment outlines the current state of the law in the area of after-acquired evidence in Title VII cases and analyzes some of the issues left unclear by the courts. Part II reviews the general framework of Title VII cases. Part III discusses Mt. Healthy City School District Board of Education v. Doyle, 4 the Supreme Court case that serves as the foundation for using after-acquired evidence in ...
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